Here's a collection of mis-leading ideas and half-truths about how to skate fast and efficiently on cross country skis -- from my analysis of the basic physics and biomechanics.  For a more positive view of the physics, see Tricky Secrets of Ski Skating.

Many of these concepts are true for some skating situations, but not for all -- yet they have sometimes been presented as basic fundamental principles which are right for all skating.

Some of these concepts might be helpful to some people as mental images, even in situations where they're not true as objective physics.  That's part of the fun of learning to ski as a full human being. 

physics fallacies

  • Skating is a zig-zag motion.  The key to effective skating is to power the zig-zag.
  • I get more forward-motion power if I push the ski more toward the back, less out to the side.  The optimal skate-push is made at a 45-degree angle from my average line of forward motion. 

[ another perspective ] 

  • Gliding longer makes me go faster.

[ another perspective ] 

  • Skating is like Classic -- the basic technique principles for effective Skating are the same as for effective Classic striding.
  • Going up hills is like skating on the flats -- but with different poling.
  • Skating technique is simple -- it just takes a lot of strength to execute.  Unlike the complicated and tricky business of effective Classic striding. 

[ another perspective ] 

non-physics fallacies

  • The fastest way to ski is the best and right way to ski.
  • The most efficient way to ski is the best and right way to ski.
  • The way that looks most powerful or impressive is the fastest.
  • The way that feels strongest is the fastest.
  • The way that looks prettiest it the most efficient.

see also

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