What’s the most important thing we try to do when skate skiing? Weight transfer, push off, balance, glide, foot return, leg drive?
The answer is more nuanced than just one or two of the things listed above. At the very core of everything that we try to do on skate skis, at the very core of every tip, trick, or tactic, is on thing…
“Move your center of mass toward the base of the support to direct pressure along the length of the ski.”
It’s a mouth full. But it’s true. I should say, it’s the most comprehensive “true” statement that I have come across. After pondering this statement, skiing this statement, and teaching this statement for a few seasons, I can’t think of a time when racing, training, or skiing for fun that this fundamental statement isn’t accurate.
Even at the end of a double cycle when my center of mass moves behind my feet and more pressure moves toward the tails of my skis, I believe this statement still is helpful. I’m moving and adjusting my center of mass over my base of support to direct pressure along the length of my skis.
At that moment in double pole, I’m moving my center of gravity toward the rear of my base of support to apply more pressure on the tails of my skis so that I get more acceleration from my skis.
The statement as become my litmus test. When I watch skiers ski, especially when I’m coaching a skier or group of skiers, I look to see what their center of mass is doing in relationship to their base of support and how it effects the power generated through their skis.
Then the next most important question, why? Why are they successful or not successful manipulating their center of mass toward their skis to create, maximize, or maintain glide efficiently?
Is it because they are not transferring their weight toward the new ski? Are they not getting a solid push off in order to move themselves toward the new skate ski? Are their feet not returning underneath them? How about their poling? Do the poles contribute to moving their center of mass toward their skis? Or do the poles only accelerate the ski and do nothing synergistically with weight transfer?
In this video, I’ll demonstrate what this looks like and two drills that I hope will get you feeling directing pressure along the length of the ski and moving your center of mass over your base of support.