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Cross-Country Skiing Tips & Tricks for Beginners

Our resident skiing Tipster & Trickster, Mackenzie, shows us some great tips to help you get started cross-country skiing. Kristen, expert instructor from our Outdoor Discovery Program, provides the on-the-snow instruction.

6 Min. Watch | Winter

Step 1: Getting into Your Skis

This is the simplest part. With automatic bindings, all you have to do is point your toe down and press firmly. For manual bindings, you’ll have to manually close the binding to secure your boot.

Step 2: Getting Comfortable on Your Skis

There are a few simple drills you can do to help with your balance on skis. Do these a few times a week and you’ll really notice the difference on your skis.

Step 3: Let’s Get Going! Time to Move Forward.

After working on your balance, it’s time to work on skiing forward. The classic cross-country diagonal stride is only a little more complicated than walking. Start with small strides and go from there.

Step 4: Going Up Hills

Your normal skiing stride should work on hills that aren’t too steep. But when things get steeper, there are a couple techniques you can use: the herringbone and sidestep.

Step 5: Getting Down Hills Safely

Going down a hill can make you a little nervous. But here are a couple easy ways to make sure you always stay safely in control. The first is making a wedge, or slice of pizza, shape with your skis and driving the ski edges into the snow. The second is simply sidestepping slowly down the hill, reversing the sidestep technique you used to go up the hill.

Step 6: Getting Up After Falling

Getting up after a fall can be a little tricky. If you go down, roll over and drop to one knee and get in the “marriage proposal” position. This gets your weight entirely over your feet so you can pop right up. If your skis get tangled, roll over onto your back and straighten out your skis and get them parallel to each other. Then you can get into the marriage proposal position and get back up. If all else fails, you can simply take your skis off.

Step 7: Time to Ski!

Just remember that you don’t have to be a good skier to have fun, and that the more time you spend on the snow, the more fun you will have! Just get out there and have some snowy adventures!

Get ready for your next snowshoeing trip with cross-country skis, insulated boots and outerwear designed to make it even easier for you to get outside.

Need some inspiration or advice? Explore our Get Outside Guide to learn cross country skiing tips and tricks or find the perfect base layer, outerwear or winter boots and so much more.

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