What are the different cross country ski techniques?
Classical or "traditional" and Skating are the two basic x-c techniques. Classic is the most well known and oldest style of x-c. You can classic on either groomed or un-groomed backcountry trails. In classic, your skis remain parallel and point in the direction of travel. You move yourself forward when the midsection of the ski contacts the snow during the "kick" phase. The sticky hard wax, klister, or waxless pattern on your ski resists your rearward kick, thus propelling you forward. Skate skiing is similar to in-line and ice skating; the skis are placed in a diagonal "V" across the trail to move forward. The entire base of a skate ski is smooth (like an alpine ski), meaning it requires neither kick wax nor a milled waxless pattern. Because you are mostly always gliding, the skate skiing is faster than classical, but it requires more energy! You are best advised to skate only on well-groomed trails or firmly packed snow.