The calendar has flipped from November to December. In less than a week, the first of Great Glen’s Nordic Warm-up sessions will be held.
It’s prep time for me.
I’ve offered Nordic Warm-up for a bunch of years now. The idea is to provide a class with activities that help get cross country skiers back on their skis. After many months of being off snow, there is always somewhat of a transition to being back on skinny little skis, sliding on snow. Even if one has done the most ski-specific dryland exercise of rollerskiing in the off season, being on snow is still different. I try to design sessions that will expedite the transition to snow, with balance, positioning and agility-type movements, accompanying technical demonstrations and instruction.
This will be my 35th season of cross country skiing. I started coaching others thirty years ago. But I don’t assume all the experience and knowledge of skiing I’ve acquired over the years is ever present in the front of my brain. Every December I do a review of technique and look for new drills, new technical thinking and new ideas for helping skiers acquire or regain efficient and if desired, speed producing technique for both classic and skate techniques. I also go back to basics; there are plenty of technique drills we did in the early years of skating that are still worthwhile and informative.
I look forward to this preparation every year. I search out videos on-line, review notes from clinics I’ve gone to, try to view films of the latest World Cup races, which are also found by digging around the internet. There’s so much more info available to us Americans now, than there was twenty years ago.
Technique for skiing has two purposes: to enable one to move more efficiently on their skis, and/or to help one generate faster speeds on their skis. The two objectives are not always achieved with the same adjustments. When I teach private lessons, one of my first questions to the student revolves around their objectives in making improvements—are you looking to make skiing easier (efficiency), or are you trying to reach higher rates of movement (speed)? The answer may cause me to vary my approach and directions.
The first Nordic Warm-up session is planned to be skate technique, the second week classic. Both techniques fascinate me in different ways. There’s been so much dissection of skating technique over the past thirty years, yet questions still remain regarding body orientation, timing, body positions. In classic, the diagonal stride is so subtle to do it really well in ever changing grades and snow conditions. That’s the amazing and really cool thing about cross country ski technique—the best skiers constantly modify their tempo with corresponding body motions to adapt to the speed of the snow and the terrain.
There are still openings in this year’s Nordic Warm-up, class runs for three Tuesdays from 10:00am – 11:30am with an optional wax clinic 9-10 am. If you’re interested in joining, please give Great Glen a call at 466-2333 to sign up. I do limit the number of participants so I can give quality feedback. The class goes on with or without snow. (There’s lots of technical instruction and patterning that can happen off skis.) I hope to see you soon on skis at Great Glen!
Ski School Director