Classic v/s Skating Skiing

Cross-Country (XC) Skiing is a great way to have fun and glide over snow, taking place in the flat areas. It is also called as Nordic skiing. Earlier, cross-country skiing was used for the purpose of transportation. Then in the 21st century, it is now used as a competitive sport, while others may use it just for fun and fitness in snowy winters. Whatever your purpose is, it’s better to understand in a better way to choose the technique and the equipment for that particular type of cross-country skiing.

Cross-country skiing is generally categorized in two different types:
– Classic Skiing
– Skating Skiing

Both of these use different techniques and use different kind of equipment/gears, which in turn has a huge impact on your performance. Let’s discuss both of these types in detail:

CLASSIC SKIING: Classic skiing is the original form of cross-country skiing. It is actually easy to learn i.e. its easier to glide on a cross-country track with this technique, that’s why it is recommended for the beginners. Let’s discuss the technique and the gears used in classic skiing, which are as follow:

> Technique
In this, the skis are parallel to each other in the groomed track and the technique used for gliding is much like walking. The skier actually puts his/her weight on one ski, try to push it off and glides on the other ski i.e. like glide walking motion. It is called as diagonal stride technique. This technique is easier to learn but difficult to master.

> Equipment
Equipment also play a very important role on your performance. Different types of skiing require different types of equipment, that’s why it’s always suggested having proper equipment for that particular type of skiing. Let’s look at the equipment used for classic skiing:

Skis: The skis are longer with a grip zone in it. The ski base is categorized in two different zones: ONE is grip zone, which is also called as the kick zone, which is the base under your foot. These are further of three types i.e. fish-scales, skins, and waxable. TWO is the glide zone which is the base at the tip and the tail of the ski. Classic skis should not be gliding in the backward position, so to prevent backward sliding most of the skiers use kick wax on smooth-based skis.

Boots: Classic boots are softer with lower cuffs i.e. they are loose from the ankles, which means they give less ankle support. They are basically designed to give you a greater range of movement which promotes forefoot flexion. The main purpose of classic boots is to give you an experience of sliding freely on groomed snow.

Poles: The ski poles also play a very important role in your performance to maintain balance and to give the push. Poles used for classic skiing are shorter i.e. length of poles should be till your armpit. In short, shoulder length poles are mostly used in the classic skiing.


SKATING SKIING: Skating skiing is the new technique of cross-country skiing. The main purpose of this technique is to add speed while gliding on a cross-country track. Initially, it is a little frustrating to learn, but once you improve, you’ll have a lot more fun. That’s why beginners are recommended to get started with classic skiing rather than skating skiing. Let’s have a look at the techniques and the equipment used in skating skiing, which are as follow:

> Technique
In this, the skis are placed in the V-Shape and mostly done on groomed and smooth surfaces. And the technique used is just like used in inline skating. The skier push himself/herself with the help of poles and uses the side-to-side motion to glide. This technique is difficult to learn, but once you are comfortable with this technique, then it get’s easier for you to master.

> Equipment
No doubt that they both (classic skiing and skating skiing) are done on groomed cross-country track, but they vary in many different ways. Not just their technique varies, but the equipment used for classic skiing is totally different than that of equipment used for skating skiing. Let’s look at the equipment of skating skiing:

Skis: The skis used for skating skiing are shorter than classic skis and they don’t have a glide zone. The base of the skate skis has only one zone, which goes from the tip to the tail of the ski. They are quite rigid, so most of the skiers use a thin coat of wax that helps them glide in a better way depending upon the snow conditions.

Boots: Skate boots have rigid and lighter outsole than classic boots. They have higher cuffs to give more ankle support. These boots basically help you lift your ski up by minimizing the chances of twisting movement. The main purpose of skating boots is to give you more control and grip for sliding faster on snow.

Poles: In skate skiing, as you are going for the speed, so longer poles are used. The length of the poles should reach till your ear. Longer poles help you increase your speed.


If you are a beginner, then classic skiing is more recommended because in this it gets easier for you to maintain the balance and the control. Once you learn to maintain decent balance on the classic skis, then it’s easier for you to learn the technique of skating skiing. If you want to glide freely, then classic skiing is for you, but if you want to have fun with fast sliding than skating skiing is of your type. Whichever type you’ll choose, just make sure you use proper technique with proper equipment to have more fun. You can also learn both of these techniques, but it’s better to start with classic skiing.


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