Cross-country skiing has been an integral part of the Winter Olympics, having featured at every edition since the inaugural Winter Games in 1924. The sport tests the endurance of athletes as they race over long distances on skis, using different techniques to move forward. Although India made their Winter Olympics debut in 1964, it wasn’t until 2006 that an Indian cross-country skier qualified for the big-ticket event. Army man Bahadur Gupta became the first Indian to compete in a cross-country event at the Winter Games, taking part in the men’s 15km freestyle at Turin 2006. Since then, India have sent at least one cross-country skier to the Winter Games. Tashi Lundup qualified for the men’s 15km freestyle event at Vancouver 스포츠토토 2010, followed by Nadeem Iqbal in the men’s 15km classical at Sochi 2014. Then Jagdish Singh represented India at Pyeongchang 2018 in the men’s 15km freestyle. Cross-country skiing has undergone plenty of changes since debuting at the 1924 Winter Olympics. From just two events – men’s 18km and 50km – at the 1924 Chamonix Winter Games, the list grew to 12 events at Beijing 2022, six each for men and women. The women’s events were added to the Olympic programme in 1952.
The basic diagonal stride is almost similar to our natural arm and leg movements when we walk. For this reason, it is considered the best way to start with when learning your cross-country ski basics. It is the oldest and the most popular skii technique that involves fluid leg and arm movements that take you across flat surfaces as well as uphill. There are three main components of the basic diagonal stride: Your weight transfer, your kick, as well as your body position.
Your Weight Transfer
When you balance your body over your front ski while your other foot glides over, that is how you stabilize and transfer your body weight. Go for short steps at the beginning. Slide with knees slightly flexed and keep your body weight over your feet as you toggle the weight with each step. Once you start getting the idea of it, put your entire weight on your front foot. You will notice that when you lean forward and put the entire weight on your front foot, this weight helps you glide forward. Continue doing this and you will feel a constant glide and a rhythmic sense of weight transfer from one foot to the other.
Now that you know how to transfer your body weight onto your front foot, it is time to learn how you pressure your ski to get a grip in the snow, something known as the kick. As you may know, there are two main types of skis – waxless skis and waxable skis. The waxable skis have a layer of wax applied onto the middle section of the ski and the waxless skis have a fish-scale pattern at the midsection of the ski that aids in preventing the skis from slipping backward. But this does not ensure grip and if we gently step off our ski, we will notice that the ski will slip backward. To get the grip, you need to push the ski downwards as if you are squishing a bug from your boots. Note that you will be pushing downwards and not backward. When you start you press the ground down from your entire foot and then finish off with pressing the ball of your foot. As you alternate legs and try to move forward, lock your one foot downwards for grip and then do the same with the other. After a while, put your entire weight to get the grip.
While your legs learn how to naturally work on the kick and glide movements, you need to keep your arms relaxed and naturally swinging parallel to the ski tracks. You can easily do so by relaxing the arms and let them move in their natural pattern. You should be able to have the same arm movement with poles as you do when you try to walk without poles.
The opposite arm and leg movements will be in sync like you do when you walk or run. Your arms need to follow a rhythm. To start with this, keep your arms at a lower level and allow them to move like a pendulum the same distance forward as they move backward.
Your Body Position
It is especially important to have the right position of your body when you ski. The body position you get to make now and practice will stick to you and once you go for an improper body position, it will become harder to correct it. Lift one of your skis while you are on the snow. Move the lifted foot back behind the other foot. You will notice that when you move your foot behind you, your upper body tries to keep the equilibrium by leaning forward. This forward position is what your body should be in while you are skiing.