what is it  

The idea is that you are taking long gliding strides on skis. 

When you step onto the new ski, first you glide on it.  When you are ready, you push back on that ski with your leg (this leg-push is often called the "kick").  As you finish that leg-push, you step onto the other ski, and glide on that one, etc.  For each single leg-stride there is a single pole-push with one arm. 

The "diagonal" name is not obvious.  It seems to refer to how it looks at one point in the glide phase:  Where the arm on the same side as the gliding ski is down and back, and the arm on the opposite side is up and forward -- so you get a sort of diagonal line through the two arms.  At the same time the upper body is leaning forward and the opposite leg is angled out behind -- so you get a diagonal line through those two body parts. 

what for 

Gliding feels good -- it's what skiing is all about. 

This is the main motion technique for most skiers who want to do more than shuffle

But for Classic-style racers it is a minority technique, usually crowded out by double pole, kick-double-pole, hill bound, herringbone. 

When done well, its advantages are: 

(a) it can be used effectively for a wide variety of terrain and snow conditions, including moderate uphills; 

(b) it is the best for smooth continuity of force, which is nice for efficiency on the flats, and maintains momentum going up moderate hills.   


(a) does not effectively use the abdominal muscles to help push the poles. 

(b) higher speeds:  the ski must match speed with the snow surface before the leg can push off it -- which forces the leg-push to be very short and quick at higher speeds (that's when it feels like a "kick").  If you try to compensate by raising the force intensity, you often exceed your ski's grip friction, so it slips.

(c) less efficient gliding, because all the weight is on one ski, and more of the grip wax has more pressure against the snow.  

usage zone 

  • When you're easily getting lots of glide, switch to kick-double-pole, so you can glide more efficiently on two skis. 
  • When the hill is getting so steep that you're not getting solid predictable grip for your leg-pushes, switch to herringbone or hill bound



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