Volume 14 Issue 48: March 28, 2013
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Classic Technique


Hi guys. I'm a beginner who is starting to "get it". One thing I see the pros do is move their foot/leg forward on the glide ski. Instead of bringing the ski after the push-off phase under the body, they seem to move it forward, much like a track runner. Is the "soccer kick" that some instructional videos emphasize? If so, is there a drill or exercise to practice this. I like this sport and want to improve!

Thanks for your time!





Thanks for your question. It is a great question and what you are seeing refers to a discreet phase of the diagonal stride and is the result of a series correctly executed integrated movements.  I am going to summarize your question using a series of video captures that I used in a technique presentation that can be found on my web site.


Obviously effective technique is not static and images only capture a moment in time ( each of these occurring in fractions of a second) in which the movements are executed.


classic technique  

The image series reads 

from the far right Frame #1, to the far left Frame 7


Frame #1-Zero Position

   classic 7

  • Hip high and forward of the ankle.
  • Upper Body angled forward, projecting forward between 50-60 degrees.
  • Body-Falling forward.
  • Knees comfortably flexed.
  • This body position is optimal for an effective kick, forward drive, and good weight shift.

Frame #2-Finish of kick and initiation of weight transfer

  classic 6

  • Kick is finishing. Notice there is no dropping of the hips, down or back as the kick is completed.
  • Body weight begins to shift into the new gliding ski.
  • During the kick the recover leg, is actively driving (swinging) forward.

This phase includes a dynamic leg drive forward. I prefer to focus on driving the leg from a focal point on the mid thigh, not the knee or foot. This focus keeps the body moving forward and provides a stable body position for the weight transfer into the gliding ski.


Frame #3-Free Glide Phase

   classic 5












  • Complete weight transfer into the gliding ski.
  • Hips are moving forward
  • All movements are directed forward and down the track.
  • Knee angle is opening as a result of hip movement forward, not a lifting up.

This phase illustrates the complete weight shift, hips continuing to move forward and the leg drive continues forward.


Frame #4-Pole Plant

classic 4  














  • Leg drive forward
  • Hips continue to move forward

Note in this sequence the lower leg, ankle angle, is still in relatively the same position, as in the first three frames.


Frame #5-Poling while gliding.

classic 3  















  • Upper body stays in the same position through the sequence for effective poling. The body weight is over the poles.
  • Hips continue to move forward, causing an opening of the knee angle.
  • Ankle angle begins to open up.

This frame begins to provide the answer to your question. Through all of the sequences up to this point the angle of the ankle was relatively constant. Now with poling forces supporting the glide the foot begins to move forward opening the ankle angle. I teach this movement as an uncurling of the leg. Note that stride length is a function of our moving speed, trying to force a longer stride will increase kicking time and cause the hips to drop down and back. Drive the leg as far as the speed will support, then allow the foot to continue moving forward, adding a bit to the glide and setting up for the subsequent kick.


Frame #6-End of glide phase


  classic 2


  • End of glide phase
  • Active poling
  • Knee angle continues to open up.
  • Foot has continued to move to its maximum forward position.
  • Finish kicking leg is driving forward.
  • Initiation of setting the ski for the kick by a pulling with the hamstrings which supports the hip moving forward.

Finally, at the end of the glide phase we can see the complete range of movements and correct body positions for effective kicking, poling and gliding.


Frame #7 Kick Phase

classic 1  

  • Hip and body has returned to the Zero position.
  • Maximal power exerted in the kick, down into the ski.
  • Gliding leg is driving forward with no weight into it.

Key to this sequence is the forward body position, the maximal kick power, and the forward drive of the recovery leg. Of particular importance is when weight is applied to the forward driving leg. Depending on the speed this must occur forward of the kicking foot, and is more forward of the kick foot as the speed increases. I believe this timing is critical to achieving an effective weight transfer.



I do not have any specific drill to address this one small element of the over-all diagonal stride. I prefer to think about the progress leading up to the specific movements and what needs to occur for optimal speed and power.   I hope that what you can gather from the images and description is the progression of movements required in good diagonal stride technique.  I believe this need to be learned through a progression of skiing skills that include;

  • Correct body position.
  • Timing and integration of the poling and kicking movements.
  • Achieving complete weight shift for optimal gliding.
  • And, good balance on the skis.


By Jim Galanes for SkiPost


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Masters Coaching Services 


Question...searching the web it has been particularly difficult to find a coaching service to help guide me from the back of the pack to the middle of the you maintain a list of coaching services for hire?

Here are some local Masters programs;


APU Nordic 


Bridger Ski Foundation 




SiSu ski club in MN 


Loppet Nordic Racing (LNR) Minneapolis Mt Hood Oregon with Stephen Schnier


XC Oregon



Two Masters Coaches 


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If you offer a Masters coaching service email us at 
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Team News

NNF Week in Review


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The World Cup concluded in Sweden last weekend. The US had an unprecedented 9 skiers racing. 7 who qualified by being in the top 50 of the World Cup rankings plus 2 Continental Cup qualifiers. An incredible sign of how far we have come as a ski nation. Coming into the weekend we knew Kikkan would win the Sprint World Cup title but she held on to her 3rd place in the World Cup Overall standings. The first time ever for an American woman! 

Internationally, this was our last week of racing for the season. A good time to look back on some of the things we were able to do this winter.


By The Numbers


68 - Individual athletes who were a part of NNF supported international race opportunities this season.


38 - International development races supported by the NNF.


10 International podium finishes on NNF Pillar Projects


3 - Unfunded B-Team Cross-Country athletes that qualified for World Cup Finals.


2 - Number of years in row an American has been on the podium at OPA Cup Finals.


1 - American Nordic community that helped make it happen


Thank you.


Dave Knoop NNF Director


More Athlete Updates at

SkiTrax Spring 2013  



Featuring complete coverage of the US and Canadian teams and US Star Kikkan Randall's amazing season defending her Sprint Cup title and the crystal globe; three individual WCup victories this season + a Team Sprint win with Jessie Diggins; Word Championship gold in the Team Sprint with Jessie Diggins - a US first; two Tour de Ski stage wins and wearing the Leader's Bib (another first); plus 3rd overall in the overall WCup Standings. Plus Biathlon, Nordic Combined, Ski Jumping, GEAR 2014 Sneak Preview... and lots more - visit


SkiPost SkiTrax special offer HERE.



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Summer Camps 

XC Oregon 

Summer 2013 Visiting College Skier Support Program


The Bend, Oregon-based XC Oregon elite development team announces the renewal of our Visiting College Skier Program for Summer 2013. 


Within this unique program, college skiers awarded grants or paid internships to help defray the costs associated with spending all or part of Summer 2013 in Bend, Oregon enjoying the many training and lifestyle benefits of the XC Oregon home base. 


Application for Summer Grants is available now   

Events and Destinations 

Birkie - Anchorage 

Housing  Hosting Swap


Our Anchorage AK house available for the Tour of Anchorage (early March 2014) Coincides with US Masters Championship and start of Iditarod or in summer months if preferred.


We are looking to exchange for housing or hosting close to the Birkebeiner in 2014. Details to be worked out. 

Please contact Dana at

Nordic Job Openings

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Jackson Ski Touring Foundation

We will be looking for ski instructors and ski patrol.  Jackson Ski Touring Foundation is the largest cross country ski area in the Eastern United States.  Friendly staff and busy work environment.


Send resume to for consideration


About SkiPost


Cross-Country skiing's community lodge. Where knowledge and stories are shared. The goal of SkiPost is to make the sport of Cross-Country skiing easier and more enjoyable for all who choose to participate. If you have questions on Cross-Country Skiing email us and visit


Enjoy Winter,

Andrew Gerlach
Director/Editor- SkiPost


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Classic Technique
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Summer Camps
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