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Skating drills

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
My wife has been skiing for 15 yrs approx. 10 times per season and still struggles to skate. Surprisingly, she can parallel turn, not really carved but solid enough. She just can't seem to find her edges. I can get her to turn the ski on edge by standing below and in front of her, holding each of her poles and tugging while telling her to resist. She immediately turns them on edge, but then doesn't translate that feeling to skating. Any drills or thoughts would help. She really wants to do this. It would likely get her to truly carve also.
post #2 of 22

I think the trick with skating isn't the push but the glide. That is, gliding on one single ski.


At least that's what I found with my own problem. Once someone told me to focus on gliding on the other ski, it felt perfectly natural


Also, tell her to push off to the side, not to the back (despite what it LOOKS LIKE). Then take a step OFF THE SIDE on the other skis. That should naturally set the push ski on edge...

post #3 of 22
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post

I think the trick with skating isn't the push but the glide. That is, gliding on one single ski.

I second that. I also had a hard time skating until someone told me to focus on lifting one ski and gliding on the other ski, one after the other, rather than focusing on pushing off to the side. Almost like an exaggerated march at first.
post #4 of 22

Go to a flat area, and just put on 1 ski, then get her to push off the boot (ie no ski foot) and glide on the ski for as long as she can.  Do this until comfortable.  Change ski to other foot.  Repeat.  Then try with two skis....usually works.

post #5 of 22

Adding to what SkiDude just suggested:


1.  Walk uphill with tails together, tips apart, in an open V.  Let's call this a duck-walk.  Quack if you like.

2.  Step HIGH as you do this, athletically.  Make it a game - how high can you lift your foot each time you step?  Quack loudly.  

3.  Feel the edges of your skis grip the snow.  Make them grip the snow even harder with those high steps.  This is almost exactly what skating is like.  

4.  Look back at your tracks.  Herringbone.  That's good!  Skating tracks are a herringbone too.


5.  Walk along a flat area, the exact same way, duck-walking.   Step high.  Feel the edges of your skis grip.  Time to lose the quack.

6.  Look back at your tracks.  Should be a herringbone.  You are almost skating. 

7.  Keep doing this on the flat area, feeling your skis grip the snow.  Make them grip the snow even harder!

8.  As you land on each ski, see if you can glide diagonally along on that ski in the direction it is pointed. You may say "ZOOM!" as you glide. Sound effects make you glide longer.  No, really.

9.  Skating is gliding off diagonally to the right, then gliding off diagonally to the left, leaving a herringbone pattern in the snow. 

10.  How far can you glide each time?  Glide farther! You are skating.Herringbone%2Btracks.jpg

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
That makes a ton of sense. Thank you
post #7 of 22

Taking skating to carving:


1.  Continue skating along the flats as often as possible, seeing how long the glide can be sustained with each propelling skate move.  Feel the skis grip the snow firmly.  No skidding; just gripping.

2.  Do this without the use of poles; carry them along for the ride in one hand while skating.  Excellent aerobic exercise - justifies a big apres-ski snack.  Good warm-up at the start of the day while waiting for others to join the group in front of the lodge.


3.  Once that skating movement pattern is learned, find the most minimal down-slope available.  It's important that the downhill pitch be barely-there.  Skate downhill.  If confidence fails, take it to an even more minimal pitch.  Every time these barely-there pitches present themselves, skate downhill assertively.  Build up confidence this way.  

4.  Continue skating downhill on these easy pitches, feeling the grip, elongating the glide.  Build confidence.  

5.  Go over to the bunny slope, ride that lift for a while and practice skating downhill there.  Elongate the glide, feel the grip; no skidding, just gliding on the edge.  Build confidence.  

6.  When confidence is strong skating downhill on the bunny slope, gently lower the lifted ski parallel to the propelling ski and continue as before.  Elongate the glide, feel the grip, propel forward assertively, and repeat on the other side.  Nothing has changed except the lifted ski is now lightly riding along on the snow beside the propelling ski.  

7.  You are carving on the bunny slope!  No fair scaring the beginners - look way ahead and keep your distance.  You are the fastest one there.  Speed requires responsibility.

post #8 of 22
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post


That is some very efficient hill climbing. Impressive.

post #9 of 22

It's the closest Google could find to what I wanted.  
Anybody got a really good shot of skating tracks?

post #10 of 22

Is she bow legged?

post #11 of 22

I am pretty bow-legged, and even though I've had a lot of alignment work done on my boots and feel pretty comfortably generally skiing and edging I have trouble skating, especially on 100mm waist Line Prophets. Much better on 70mm waist skis, but still even on those not as good as I think I should be able to.

post #12 of 22

Actually, I found it easier to "feel" the skating sensation on a slight downhill. I'd suggest do it without poles and hold the glide for as long as possible.

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
No she's not bow legged, just two left feet.
post #14 of 22

Started playing with a modified form of skating on the long run-outs at The Canyons last winter and still working out the language but it may help.  Passed a lot of very surprised people in their new school tucks with this.  It should translate well to a normal skating move.


On the cat track roll left knee in and push down with force on inside edge, while significantly unwieghting right ski.  Repeat on right foot.  

Fun and a good carving drill.  Try it, you might like it.

post #15 of 22

So I'm a fairly newbie skier but ice skated most of my childhood and about the only thing I could readily do my first time on skis was skate.  So not sure it truly applies but perhaps take her to an ice rink?

post #16 of 22

This XC skating drills vid has some great suggestions (right in line with some given above, plus others). Plus you get the visual of well executed skating...



It's helped me to suck less at skating. Hope you get something out of it!  ;-)

post #17 of 22

skating is an area where crossover sports make life easy. One of my friends commented on how easy it was to skate on his downhill skis after we took a cross-country skate ski lesson. Think of it as breaking down the learning process into baby steps.

post #18 of 22

The key to learning is so have a good glide on the ski.  A poor wax job will stymie even the best skaters.  This weekend was old, cold, man made, static-y snow.  Skating was a chore.


For new skiers, little kids especially, I tell them to "walk like a gorilla".  Big steps side to side and swing your arms in unison from side to side.  Seriously...imagine walking down the street like a gorilla.  Rock your weight from one side to the other. Even practice wiht no skis for a bit. Let the ski GLIDE a bit then rock back.  Start VERY slow and speed up as momentum builds.  Start off on a very very slight downward pitch and then work up to flatter and finally slightly uphill.  The gorilla arms are a vital part of this.  Definitely helps to make gorilla noises as well.

post #19 of 22

Skating is great cross-training.  And, skating ability does seem to correlate fairly strongly with overall alpine skiing ability, for people who alpine ski a reasonable amount.


But...mechanically, skating is also fairly disruptive to actually carving.  So, it's better to view it as great cross-training for both physical conditioning and balance, but to also recognize the need for using different movements in actually getting the ski to work for you in a carve. 


On asphalt, roller skis are great forms of all-year x-training along with inlines.  For the o.p., I think the conditioning/balance benefits from inline or roller skis could well make those great activties for his other half, regardless of crossover to carving.  Obvously, on inlines skate to ski drills, already covered in other threads here and elsewhere, would also be possible that could benefit carving-related movements patterns more directly as well.  (Carving crossover of roller skis is much less...)


On snow, I'd just view skating as a way to use otherwise dead terrain or dead time.  One helpful thing for many is to not have poles in hand.  If you have XC closer to you than lift-served, then a day or to spent at a xc area is definitely a great idea.

post #20 of 22

this video below SO makes me want to take up skate skiing again next season....how graceful!icon14.gif

i did xcountry before I took up down hill and loved it

...only took up skate skiing briefly;  but i think next yr I'm definitely going to try to mix it up more

(love the postcard perfect and peaceful scenery of xcountry, too) and i'm sure it just adds

 that much more to one's downhill (and vice versa)...anything that helps with gliding, balance, edging/pressure and weight transfer

Originally Posted by jc-ski View Post

This XC skating drills vid has some great suggestions (right in line with some given above, plus others). Plus you get the visual of well executed skating...



It's helped me to suck less at skating. Hope you get something out of it!  ;-)

Edited by canali - 3/19/13 at 9:14am
post #21 of 22

This Keith Nicol video is probably the very best instructional skate video I've ever seen.  I ALWAYS recommend it when someone new wants to get into the sport.

post #22 of 22

Some interesting contrasts for what instructors consider "skating" in skiing. On one hand we have John Gillies, CSIA manager of educational development and level 4, recommending "putting skating in your skiing": 



I'll leave it to the rest of the forum to decide whether or not John's creating outcomes using skating. In contrast, check out this fellow's demo of the thousand steps exercise and the development he's attempting to promote:  



From my perspective, thousand steps is a fantastic exercise to develop edge control. As you can see from the demo, thousand steps can be adapted to skiers of all abilities in a variety of snow conditions. 


An inability to engage edges can stem from stance&balance or equipment issues as well, so make sure the skier's boots are dialed in, and that the skier's starting from a centered, athletic position. 

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