by Dave Asp, Head Coach Red Wing Nordic
I mentioned in an earlier blog that I would discuss the various skate ski methods. In this discussion I will cover Free or V Skating with no poles. The basic V skate starts with a skier standing in a slight V position without poles. Just like ice skating, edge one ski to the inside edge and simultaneously push off that ski while driving out onto the other ski. Repeat the other direction. Keep going until you can build rhythm enough to ski a football field length.
The V skate motion with legs and no poles is the root of all the various V techniques used in skating. It is important to shift your weight from ski to ski as complete weight shift is a key to a flatter and faster ski. It takes time to learn balance on a gliding ski. Try to glide on a ski for longer and longer distances. Keeping the ski as flat as you can for as long as you can is good to practice. Lastly, as the ski glides, mentally think about a slight edge to the outside of the ski. (Of course, on the uphills the glide is much shorter depending on the steepness of the hill) Also, after the push off the driving foot/leg steps forward and slightly under the body in ready position for the glide off.
In the V skating method it is important to use “directional focus.” This means that when you’re pushing off to the gliding ski, the nose, knee and tip of the gliding ski are lined up for the glide off. This helps with weight shift and balance.
Skating with no poles is good anytime for the novice to the expert. It provides time to practice weight shift from ski to ski, proper balance and strengthening the push off or power leg to aide in an explosive push off.
Editors note: For a visual of this technique watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brGZlZkCwyk