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Does "stepping forward" help on flat terrain?

One idea for going faster is to land the next ski with the boot well out in front of the currently pushing ski -- like at least a full boot-length.  

Lots of elite racers seem to do this, and I was told to do it in a good lesson I took.

I guess the justification is that if you gain a foot or 25 cm on every stroke, that will add up to something sizable over a long distance.

But when I think about the physics more deeply, this justification doesn't work for me. 

Because pushing only one part of the your body further ahead has an undesirable side-effect:  It results in other parts getting slowed down and thus left further behind than they otherwise would be.  The only way to really gain is to apply a force against the outside environment to help push your whole body forward.

Then the argument might be that landing the ski further forward allows a longer range of motion for applying force to the whole body.  That could make sense if in Classic striding technique, because its direction of push-force is forward to backward, in the line of motion.  And applying Classic push-force requires that the ski be temporarily stopped on the snow, so where you stop it makes a difference.

But in skating on flat terrain the direction of push-force is mostly to the side.  The way to increase range of motion is to land the ski more inside underneath the skier.  And since the ski is alway sliding while the push-force is applied, the exact position on the snow doesn't make any difference.  What matters is where the ski lands relative to the skier's body biomechanics. 

Seems to me that I get better biomechanically leverage for my skate-push when I land the new ski more with its boot more or less right beside the other boot. 

I notice that racers on inline and ice skates do not do much of this forward step, just a few inches.  Barry Publow's book says that this is only to have the weight on the rear of the skate when it lands (perhaps for steering stability?) -- nothing it about helping forward motion.

This leads me to a suspicion that stepping forward is one of the few remnants of the old Classic paradigm, waiting to be swept aside by the next generation of skiers and coaches.

But stepping up on steep hills is a different story -- see on the More on V1 Skate page.

Video observations

For an example of stepping forward in V2 on flat terrain, see the Per Elofsson 10 video on JanneG's website.

Looks to me like Fulvio Valbusa is one who uses little forward step when doing V2 on the flats, but shows a distinct upward-and-forward step when he switches to V1 to go up a hill -- see Valbusa 1 video on JanneG's website


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