Skating on cross country skis
Ken Roberts

what's here

 - - skating is fun . . . and magical
 - - a special expression of what makes us human 

 - - get comfortable on skis 
 - - fun moves 
 - - effective motion patterns 
 - - games with other people 
 - - burn calories - stay healthy 

 - - sequence of learning stages 

see also


[ under construction ] 


Why Learn? 

  • it's fun to move with control in a new environment
  • it's fun to feel the glide, and fun to go faster
  • there's "magic" in skating:  you move forward by pushing sideways.
  • allows you to ski with a wider range of other people
  • allows you to burn more calories faster, in a wider variety of trails and conditions

a special expression of what's makes us human

There are several good payoffs from learning cross country skiing techniques -- getting good winter exercise, making fun moves, skiing with other people. 

For me the most interesting is that learning cross country skiing techniques is a special expression of what makes us uniquely human.  Special because it brings together the key things that identify us as human: 

  1. the mystery of sensitizing our perceptions to new triggers 
  2. the unconscious learning by our muscle controllers 
  3. our feelings of the joy of gliding and the power of pushing -- and the transition between them. 
  4. our conceptual models of correct technique 
  5. our easy copying from our eye's view of a fellow-skier's motions to our muscles' timing coordination. 
  6. our ability to receive new conceptual models and advice from other humans through vibrations in the air and black and white drawings on a sheet of paper. 

Animals have 1 and 2 and 5 -- and I think also 3 -- but not 4 and 6.  

Computers can have some form of 4 and 6, but not 2 and 5, and definitely not 3. 

Robots can have some of 1 and 2, but usually the core of those is straightforward programming from the conceptual model, and the "non-conceptual" adaptation is only for fine-tuning.  Robots definitely can have some version 4 and 6.  But they do not have 3 -- and 5 is very difficult for them.  

It is only us humans that bring together all six of these characteristics.  And the learning of cross country skiing techniques is one of the strongest expressions of their combination. 

back to Top

What to Learn? 

 - - is skating a good bet for you to try?  or a bad bet?

 - - unexpected factors in learning ski skating
 - - finding the fun + magic early . . . then more later
 - - the key method to ease the work-load
 - - five skill areas

 - - pre-requisites
 - - equipment : basics + special tips for beginners
 - - place for your first day of ski skating
 - - instructor for skating

 - - Get comfortable out on skating skis 
 - - (A) Balanced glide on and push off one ski
 - - (B) High skate-push: secret force
 - - (C) Low skate-push: getting more
 - - (D) Pole-push: lots more than just arms
 - - (E) Coordinating + timing the three pushes
 - - Hill climbing -- advanced techniques 

  • games with ski skating -- show off - race 
  • fitness by ski skating -- burn calories, aerobic exercise

Where to start? 

How to learn depends on your goals -- and on who you are now.  

Here's some possibilities . . .  

  • You just want to feel comfortable out there on skis and getting some healthy exercise at a cross country ski center. [ to be added
  • You're a little athletic (or used to be), and interested to try learning some ski techniques that can add fun and a little speed. [ to be added
  • You're pretty athletic in another sport, and you want use your advantages to help you learn ski skating quicker [ to be added ] -- especially coming from bicycling or rowing, from running, from inline or ice skating or "rollerblading", from kayaking or canoeing, from downhill skiing. [ to be added ]
  • You want to burn calories [ to be added ]  
  • You've got the basics and you feel confident skating in gentle terrain, but you want to take on some new moves and challenges. [ to be added
  • You want to get aerobic exercise for your heart and cardio-vascular system for life-long health [ to be added
  • You want to achieve correct technique in your ski skating. [ to be added ]
  • You want to see a sequential program of learning stages, and then decide where you fit in. [ see more on this
  • You want to race. [ to be added


[ under construction ] 


concept words: ski skiing cross country cross-country xc snow skier skiers skis nordic roberts

skating: skate skates skater skaters push glide