Keeping Classic Classic (UPDATE Jan. 2, 2011)

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 7:28am -- kirknichols

This article and video have done their job of starting Utah skiers conversing on what are the standards of classic racing. Wasatch skiers are thinking and evaluating their techniques while we have received input from several international FIS technical delegates. We will be working on the next iteration of advice and video, hopefully before the next Wasatch classic race. Keep the conversations going! Classic style Nordic ski races have technique restrictions that differentiate them from free-style races. (video below - see if you agree, not everyone does) In classic skiing, the kick onto the gliding ski is to come from the wax-pocket, not from pushing sideways on an edged ski. The ski can be stemmed to the side for the herringbone climb technique; however the step off the stemmed herringbone ski must be a static step and not a push and glide.

Corners are best negotiated by allowing the grooves in the track to turn the skis for you, rotating your upper body and knees into the turn can help you stay in the track. On faster downhill turns, tracks are not set, or you may be passing someone and choose to step outside the classic track. Outside-the-track turns may be stepped, inside ski first (or heaven forbid, snowplowed or skidded). The step turn is just a direction change of the ski, if the “step” includes a push that speeds up the ski then it is a skate move (illegal). If the turn is so steep and fast that there are no classic tracks set, then pushing onto a ski to negotiate the turn may be required and allowed in that rare circumstance.

The common mistake in both climbing and cornering downhill is to lapse into skating technique for a stride or two. Watch yourself, don’t forget and accidentally skate the hills and turns.

The FIS, USSA rule states:

Classical technique includes the diagonal techniques, the double poling techniques, herringbone techniques without a gliding phase, downhill techniques and turning techniques. Single or double-skating is not allowed. Turning techniques comprise steps and pushes in order to change directions. Where there is a set track, turning techniques with pushing are NOT allowed. This will also apply to competitors skiing outside the set track.

This updated four minute video may help: