7 Step Cross-Country Skiing Beginner’s Guide


Compared to snowboarding and downhill skiing, cross-country skiing is much more approachable. Instead of moving at high speeds on steep hills, you travel over rolling hills or flat ground at a more even pace. The techniques employed in cross-country skiing come with less risk and are much easier to learn. This makes it a mellow pastime for everyone.

If you do not know how to cross country ski, getting started with the snow sport can be tough. By showing you how to cross country ski, we hope to help you proceed from being a cross country skiing beginner to an expert.

How to Cross Country Ski – The Steps You Need to Follow

1. Improve Your Fitness

Cross-country skiing is an ideal way of training your body’s cardiovascular system. It generally trains your major body parts while minimizing the impact and pressure on your joints. As with any other sport that needs endurance, you will find cross-country skiing much more enjoyable and easier if you already possess a basic fitness level.

As a cross country skiing beginner, engaging in cycling, jogging, and other endurance sports can be an ideal way of preparing for a cross-country skiing trip. If you are learning how to cross country ski so that you can be on the tracks next winter, start training in the autumn or summer.

Stretching and balance exercises are extremely useful. Power walking with poles (Nordic walking) is also an ideal way of preparing your body – it helps train your diagonal arm-leg co-ordination, needed when cross-country skiing.

2. Find a Good Skiing Track

As a cross country skiing beginner, you should aim for low-altitude trails after wearing your ski jacket. The trails should be mainly flat and not too long.

Most cross-country ski trails will feature Pistes, with blue indicating easy, red indicating intermediate, and black indicating difficult. As a beginner, you should explore the blue trails.

Despite its elegant look, cross-country skiing can be hard work. If you choose the right track, you should be able to deal with the hard work, while improving your skills.

3. Choose an Ideal Style


In cross-country skiing, 2 main techniques/styles exist. These are Skating and Classic. Before you even start, choose the style you wish to learn. According to experts, focusing on a single style can help you achieve much better results.

The Classic Style

Compared to the Skating style, the Classic style is much easier to learn. For this reason, most cross country skiing beginners prefer to try this style after packing the necessary cross-country skiing equipment.

This technique is heavily dependent on what expert cross-country skiers call the diagonal step. This means that when your pole and left arm are held out in front of the body, your ski and the right foot is supposed to be behind your body.

This position generally switches from right to left, with the legs and arms always opposed diagonally, as you progress along your chosen trail. While it is easy to glide along in varying ways, you should focus on learning the right technique from the very start. Correcting poor technique, after your body has already learned it, is much harder.

Classic cross-country skiing is much less intensive. It places significantly less strain on your cardiovascular system.

Skating Style

For people who already have a level of fitness, and are ideally familiar with inline skating, the Skating style might be ideal. The technique used for this style is similar to that used by ice skaters – the skiers push on one of their skis and glide on the other.

The poles are used in tandem to give the skier extra impetus. Skating is usually much harder than the Classic style. It is not uncommon for skaters to reach higher speeds. If you intend to visit steep inclines and trails after leaving your winter camping tent, the Skating style may be more ideal for you.

4. Get the Right Equipment

When learning how to cross country ski, you will need to have all the right equipment. If you are using the wrong equipment, you won’t achieve the desired results. If you are on a budget and investing in all-mountain skis and other skiing equipment is impossible for now, consider renting the equipment.


For cross country skiing beginners, no-wax skis are the best equipment to start with. The base of the no-wax skis is designed to allow the skiers to climb hills without slipping backward. Since they do not require any wax, they are generally an easy and quick solution for inexperienced skiers.

When sizing your skis, you will need to consider both your height and body weight. Most manufacturers will provide sizing information. To make the right decision, you will simply need to check the specifications tab when shopping.

Keep in mind that shorter skis are easier to maneuver and more agile. The longer skis are capable of moving quickly on the tracks. They also float more easily on powder.

The ski width can affect the performance, especially in powder. Wider skis featuring a larger surface area have more float. However, if you intend to ski on packed down cross-country trails, keep the width approximately 65 mm or less – anything wider may not fit in the tracks.

Boots and Binding System

The choice of the boots you put in your ski boot bag is crucial. The boots should cover the ankles, to provide both protection and warmth.

You should invest in a flexible ski binding system. This is essential if you intend to change your shoes more often than you change the skis.

In most instances, boots and binding systems are made in a way that makes them ideal for a specific ski. If you get confused when choosing boots and the binding system, you should talk to a sales representative before you pay for the equipment.

Ski Pole

Ski pole sizing is extremely important when it comes to cross-country skiing. Classic style skiers should invest in poles capable of reaching the middle of their chest when placed on the ground.

For Skating skiers, poles capable of reaching your chin are more ideal. The Skating technique requires lightweight poles featuring specialty straps and grips. Some additional things you may need to consider when purchasing poles include adjustable length and durability.

5. Wear the Right Clothes

When choosing what to wear skiing, you should focus on the “not too warm, not too cold” philosophy. Focus on combining breathable sportswear, fleece jumpers, and Windstopper jackets with long ski underwear.

You should try to avoid cotton. This is simply because cotton generally absorbs the moisture, rather than transporting it away from the skier’s skin. Clothing, including your skiing gloves, should be both tight and comfortable. Bring an extra pull over to put on when you and your group are taking a break.

6. Learn the Basics from an Expert

As an absolute cross country skiing beginner, learning how to cross country ski theoretically may not be the most ideal way. If you watch what an expert cross-country skier is doing and focus on replicating his or her actions, you will have the ability to improve your skills more quickly.

While you may not have to worry about avalanche safety and other risks that are common when downhill skiing, there is always the risk of falling. Cruciate injuries are among the common injuries suffered by people involved in cross-country skiing.

The best way to be safer and also have fun is to learn the cross-country skiing basics from an instructor. The instructor should show you the ideal technique for pushing off, braking, gliding, and even how you should perform a safe emergency fall. The majority of cross country skiing beginners need a couple of lessons to understand the techniques.

7. Maintain A Proper Stance

By now, we are assuming that you have already acquired the necessary equipment and taken some lessons from an expert. Regardless of the cross-country skiing technique, you decide to use, you will want to start off standing tall and then end up in an upright slouching position.

To get to the slouching position, you will need to flex the ankles deeply. From here, you will need to bend your ankles and not the hips. This will allow the hands to swing freely backward and forward. The legs should stay relaxed but active, loading up and exploding forward during the glide and kick phases of the movement.

Globo Surf Overview

Getting started with cross-country skiing is not that hard. The learning curve is generally light and any cross country skiing beginner can start on totally flat tracks. If you have never skied in the past, the sport can be both thrilling and challenging. However, the sport remains much less intimidating compared to downhill skiing.

When learning how to cross country ski, renting the necessary equipment is a much better idea, compared to buying the equipment. This will allow you to figure out whether the sport is ideal for you, at a much affordable cost. Additionally, you will get an idea of the type of equipment you should invest in.

More Snow Reviews:


  1. Cross-Country Skiing for the Absolute Beginner, Xcskiing.ca
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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!