Although I have good classical technique, for some years I've had problems being able to stay in the tracks all the way up steeper climbs, or as far up as I think I ought to make it - and see some others from young to older make it - before having to jump out and herringbone. That's led me to wonder if if it's just a matter of genes, conditioning, ski flex and hitting the kick wax, or if there are any technique tips that top level skiers learn that don't get filtered down to the rest us. This season I worked on quicker, even turnover while driving my knees and lowering my hands, and saw some improvement, but wonder if there's more to it. Thanks, Frustrated Classic Climber
There are certainly many factors to steep hill climbing on classic skis including wax, technique, conditions, fitness, etc. Some of these we can control and some of them (conditions, gradient) we cannot, so let's focus on what's controllable.
The main issue with technique on steep hill classic technique is momentum, you've got to keep it moving. The second you stop or slow on a steep hill, you're done. Shorten your stride to avoid "bogging" with longer strides. As you said, lower your hands and plant your poles farther behind your heels. Both of these tips will help to keep your hips forward. This is important because you want as much of your body weight coming down on the kick zone as possible. If your hips go back, you lose momentum and you'll start to slip. Additionally, sometimes I actually jam my boots against the sidewall of the tracks after the glide phase is completed. I figure this should add some friction to help hold my boot in place and avoid slipping on steeper slopes.
My last tip would be simply, to ski faster. Often it is the best skiers who are able to stay in the tracks the longest not because they have the best wax or the best technique but, because they have skied into the bottom of the hill the fastest. He best skiers are always looking to gain time and a transition into a steep pitch is as crucial to learn as any other. Practice makes perfect!
Gus Kaeding-CXC Coach
Skiing without poles is the number one key to learning to ski and improving your technique. Kids learning to ski do not need their poles at all and will take to skiing in the most natural way possible with little or no instruction. Be like a kid, play with out poles and you will find the fastest, easiest way to move on skis.
Best places to Ski?
Hi, I am a woman skier from Quebec and would like to know what would be the nicest place to ski in Europe or in America ? I am planning a ski trip at around Christmas 2012. I do not really know where to go. I was thinking may be Lillehammer in Norway but not certain.