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How To Cross Country Ski: A Beginners Guide

It’s fun and easy to learn how to cross country ski. In this video series, professional ski instructor Greg Rhodes explains the basics of cross country skiing so you’re ready for your first day. The series starts with the things you need to know about your gear and ends with how to move around on snow.

There are several things beginner cross country skiers need to know before they even set foot on snow. In the first section of our beginner’s guide to cross country skiing, we will cover:

  • The gear you will use and how to fit your skis, boots, and poles.
  • Getting into your skis.
  • Getting out of your skis.

Cross country skiing has two categories, skating and classic. This video covers classic cross country skiing – the gear you need and how to get in and out of skis.

Cross country skis are long, narrow, and lightweight. They have a turned-up tip and a flat tail. The binding is where your boot connects to your ski. The area under the classic ski binding is called the kick zone. Many classic cross country skis are wax-less, which means they have either fishtails or skins, which grip the snow to help you move forward.

Cross country ski boots look a lot like hiking boots and should fit like a supportive and comfortable athletic shoe. Make sure your toes have enough room to wiggle, and your heels do not lift up when you flex your foot forward. Boots have a bar under the toe, this bar connects your boot to your binding. Poles help you use your upper body to move along.

Poles are long and have a grip and strap on one end, and a basket and tip on the other. Make sure your poles are the right length. While standing in your ski boots on a flat surface, the top of the grip should be between your armpit and the middle of your shoulder.

To get into your skis, place your skis parallel to each other on the snow. Make sure the bottom of your boot is clear, then line up your toe behind the rubber bumper on the binding and firmly step down. Once you hear a click, you know you’re attached. Pole straps are important to wear, they allow you to relax your hand and not grip the pole to hard. To put on the straps, move your hand up from the bottom and then grab the pole. To get out of your skis, release your bindings and then lift up your toes.

Watch the above video to find out how to fit your skis, boots, and poles, and get in and out of your skis.

About The Author

Reese Brown

Reese Brown is Executive Director of U.S./Canadian trade group Cross Country Ski Areas Association, and a snow sports photographer. He has worked in the snow sports industry since 1981 as a coach, event manager, promotional marketer and in project-based strategic development. Considered an industry expert and insider, Brown operates internationally to support and promote the sport of cross country skiing, growing public awareness and participation.


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