Going downhill will be easier--and less stressful--if you also learn how to turn. This is particularly important on steep hills, or hills with turns in the middle or at the end. And if there are trees beside the trail, this can make beginning skiers very uneasy--as well it should. Collisions with trees are not fun and are best avoided. Here are some turning tips to make your next sojourn on cross-country skis more enjoyable.
Point your skis where you want to go: This bit of advice seems so obvious, I almost hesitate to make it. If you're on the flat in untracked snow, and want to go left, simply move your left ski left, then do the same with your right ski. Pitter-patter, pitter-patter: You're around the turn. There's no secret to turning on the flat. Most beginners figure out how to do it without being told.
Push off the way you want to go: This sounds the same as the advice given above, but is not. Rather than merely pointing your skis the way you want to go and pitter-pattering around the turn, make an aggressive move to get around that turn. If going left, place your weight first on your right ski, lift your left ski slightly and point it directly to where you want to go, then shift forward onto that ski. Pushing with both poles will give you extra momentum. This is how skaters move, and it is a particularly effective way for getting around a turn. Just because you're a classic skier, that doesn't mean you can't adapt a few skating moves.
Trust the tracks: I offered the same words of advice on the previous screen, Going downhill. Particularly at Nordic centers where the trails have been groomed, the tracks will get you around most turns if you simply relax and let them do the job. Keep your weight forward, your hands out in front, and your weight more or less balanced across both skis, and you can ride out the turn safely, assuming the hill is not too steep or the turn too sharp.
Steer like on a bicycle: So now what do you when you encounter steep hills and sharp turns? Answer: steer like on a bicycle. If you position yourself correctly, you should have your hands well out in front of you, almost over the tips of the skis. The poles that those hands hold should be close to your body, pointing straight back. Pretend that you are on a bicycle and that your hands are gripping the handlebars. Turn your bike the way you want to go, rotating your hands on the handlebars. If turning left (for example), your left hand will come down, your right hand will come up, and your entire body will rotate slightly, leaning left, just as it would making a left turn on a bicycle. When this happens, your skis also will tilt slightly in the tracks, left edges down, right edges up. This subtle movement will help you ride the tracks through the turn.
Snowplow around the turn: The snowplow is described in the previous screen: Going downhill. This basic technique used by downhill skiers works on cross-country trails too, particularly when there are no set tracks. While in the snowplow, you simply weight the downhill ski (i.e., the one that will be downhill after you complete the turn) and let the skis do their job taking you left or right. Turning while you are snowplowing also will help slow you down.
Take lessons: The best way to learn different cross-country ski techniques is to take lessons. That seems obvious, but less obvious is the fact that you can become an even better Nordic skier if you also take lessons on downhill skis. Perfect your downhill ski technique, and you can apply what you learned while cross-country skiing. Similarly, downhill skiers would be well advised to take some cross-country skiing lessons. What they will learn is how to shift their weight from ski to ski, treating each ski as an independent steering unit. Combining downhill and cross-country skiing will make you a complete skier and insure that you have more fun on the snow.
|Getting Started||Ski Technique||In Full Stride|
|Where to Ski||Turning||Snowshoes|
|Two Techniques||Stopping||Downhill Skiing|