The diagonal stride is a common skiing technique used in cross-country skiing, involving sliding one foot forward and pushing off with the opposite ski pole. It is energy-efficient and works on a variety of terrains. Skiers should transfer their weight onto their leading foot and lengthen their strides for efficiency. It is less demanding on the upper body than skate skiing but still physically demanding, especially on the knees. Proper warm-up and cool-down are important.
The diagonal stride is among a variety of skiing techniques used to move across snow. The diagonal step is also called the classic step, because it is a technique most skiers are familiar with and is usually taught to people learning to ski. The diagonal stride is sometimes compared to walking, although diagonal strides require a gliding motion. The diagonal stride is used by a large number of skiers, especially in cross-country skiing, where the diagonal stride is an energy-efficient method of getting around.
The diagonal stride involves sliding one foot forward and pushing off with the opposite ski pole. To practice the diagonal step correctly, skiers must transfer their weight onto their leading foot. Moving the entire side of the body, including the leg, helps with this. The skis aren’t actually lifted off the snow in diagonal sliding so that they slide along the top layer.
Many ski trails are specially groomed for the diagonal stride and have a set of two ruts cut into the snow for this purpose. The snow around the slopes is well compacted to give the poles good traction. Many ski trails are able to accommodate a range of skiing techniques including the diagonal stride, while ski trails with limited clearance are sometimes limited to the diagonal stride only.
The diagonal stride works on a variety of different terrains, especially the rolling terrain experienced in cross-country skiing. An experienced skier can reach a reasonable speed when using the diagonal stride and will not tire as quickly. This is especially important in cross-country skiing, where skiers can cover miles of terrain a day by skiing between lodges.
There are skiing techniques that are faster than the diagonal stride, such as skate skiing. However, skating tends to be more demanding on the skier’s upper body. Skiers recovering from injuries or experiencing the onset of an early injury can switch to the diagonal stride because it’s less harsh on the upper body. The diagonal stride is still very physically demanding, especially on the knees, and skiers should be sure to stretch before and after skiing to properly warm up and cool down the body.
The speed of the diagonal stride depends not so much on the number of strides as on the length of the strides. While it’s tempting to pick up the pace, skiers will find it more efficient in the long run to learn to lengthen their strides. Longer strides place more physical effort to shift the skier’s center of mass, making fast skiing physically demanding for some skiers. However, longer strides are ultimately less tiring than short, brisk ones.