Information text to Ski course - arranged by Oslo Students Cross-Country Group
By Frode Lund, member of OSI Langrenn.
The members of OSI Langrenn (Oslo Students Cross-country Group) are happy to welcome
the international students to our ski-course in Oslo in February! The program for 2009 is
theory 4. February, and practise 7.-8.,14.-15. of February.
Our goal is to give instruction to every student based on his or her experience and
skills. Our goal is to make you able to plan and make a trip on skis based on your level and
ambition. We are looking for the smile in your face. Learning skiing technique is fun! Some
of you will need time to manage start and stop on flat terrain. Others will be able to practise
both the classical technique and skating!
The ski course is for everyone who wants to join! But being outdoors in winter you
need to understand of how clothes keep you warm, how skiing equipment works, plus a little
bit about weather and snow conditions. You use every muscle in your body when you ski, and
it is important to find the right terrain for your trip – it should not be too demanding. This
course give you the basics you need, and this text is preparing you for the course. (Parts of it
is taken from Wikipedia.)
The skiing terrain surrounding Oslo is tough, and skiers even from neighbouring
countries like Sweden find Norwegians quite rough in their skiing – Norwegians ski very fast
down the slopes not using the plowing technique to reduce speed! You might take it more
easy and walk down with your skis in your hands. We use Sognsvann and The Winter park
close to Sognsvann and Kringsjå on the first day of the course. But we like to have a free
schedule, and depending on the snow and weather-conditions we might introduce you to one
other place for practising skiing.
We want you to know of total three places for skiing close to t-bane in Oslo. Use
www.google.no/maps, and check out “Sognsvann” (north end of line 3 next to Kringsjå.
Elevation 180 m. Artificial snow is made for The Winter Park.), “Frognerseteren”(north end
of line 1. Elevation 450 m) and “Skullerudstua” (south end of line 3, walk 10 min from
“Skullerud station”. Elevation 100 m. Artificial snow is made here and the terrain is good for
beginners! The t-bane to Skullerudstua goes through the city and you might find Oslo
beautiful!). We will inform you very well the day before we eventually go to an other place
Two of the participants of the skiing-
course in 2008.
Photo is from The Winter Park by
Sognsvann (and Kringsjå). Watch the
Skiing is also sideways movement!
Cross-country skiing-technique is different from running. It is more based on moving the
body weight from one side to the other – one ski to the other ski. In the classical technique
you move the weight to one ski at the time to take advantage of the kick zone or grip zone of
the ski. In skating technique you move the weight to push harder to the side. To manage this,
it is important that you feel your body-weight and how you balance your weight on your feet.
The classic style is often used on prepared trails (pistes) that have pairs of parallel grooves cut
into the snow. Skis have camber and should leave the centre section of the ski clear of the
snow when the skiers weight is evenly distributed between the pair. The centre section of a
classic ski will either have "fish scales", grip tape or ski wax that will stick to the snow (called
the "kick zone" or "grip zone" of the ski). When full weight is transferred to a single ski the
kick zone comes into contact with the snow.
Long, narrow and light skis are usually used. When skiing away from prepared trails, a much
wider ski is sometimes used.
There are four core techniques in Classical skiing (plus plowing)
An exaggerated running action with parallel skis and a glide on each stride. The
poles are planted alternately on the opposite side to the kick. For experienced
skiers this technique is used uphill. Less experienced skiers also employ the
diagonal stride on the flat.
Both poles are planted simultaneously to give a powerful thrust. As the poles
Double pole swing forwards again a single leg kick is made. This technique is used when the
with kick skier is still moving too quickly to diagonal stride, but is having difficulty double
Double pole As above but without the kick
This technique is used for climbing steep hills. A walking or running action with
Fishbone splayed skis and without any glide. The poles are planted alternately behind the
skis. A distinctive fishbone pattern is left in the snow.
Plowing Downhill you can use the skis as a plow to reduce speed*.
*Icy conditions and steep downhill makes it sometimes necessary to take off your skis and walk down instead of
Skate skiing involves the skier pushing one ski outward with the ski angled, so that the inner
edge of the ski is driven against the snow, much like an ice skater. As in classic skiing,
transferring weight completely from one ski to the next is essential to learning to skate. Those
who have learned to ice skate or rollerblade may find ski skating technique easier to learn
than classic skiing. Neither fish scale skis nor grip wax tape or grip wax are used. Skating
technique is only suitable for use on prepared trails. Different limb-movement patterns are
used for different terrain and speeds:
Double dance Double-pole on every leg. Used on the flats and moderate uphill.
Single dance Double-pole on every other leg. Used on the flats and moderate downhill
Slightly off-set double-pole on every other leg (Arm on hangside a little
higher than the one on the opposite side). Put your weight on the ski and pole
at your hangside, the force form the arm and leg is used to push over to the
gliding side(opposite of hangside). Used mostly for hill climbing.
Gliding- Similar to the classic fishbone but with a short glide on each ski. Used for
fishbone very steep uphill
Track-set for classic
skiing at the sides and
groomed for skate skiing
in the centre.
Skate-skier at professional
level. Watch how the
body-weight is already
moved on the ski that will
be pushed aside soon.
Skis and ski-poles.
The skis are long and thin, to distribute the weight of the skier and allow the skier to move
quickly. Typical ski dimensions are 2 metres in length, about 5 centimetres in width and one
to four centimetres in thickness at different stations along the length of the ski. Depending on
the ski design and purpose, they are fit to the skier based on height and weight.
Like alpine skiing, cross-country skiers carry two poles, usually made of aluminium or
fiberglass. Poles have a spike at the end to provide a fixed pivot when the pole penetrates
through to a hard surface, and a plastic web or disc (called the basket), to provide extra
purchase in snow and to ensure the pole doesn't sink too deeply. The toe of the skier's
footwear is attached to the ski with a binding, while the heel remains free.
Picture above: SNS Profile boot (Salomon) and SNS ski binding.
Bindings and boots.
There are two primary groups of binding systems: NNN (New Nordic Norm) and SNS
(Salomon Nordic System). Older styled three-pin bindings, with or without cables, are still
used by backcountry enthusiasts. Modern cross-country skiers must match the skis' binding
system to the boot type. There is much debate over which is the superior binding system: SNS
or NNN. Overall, the differences between the systems are minuscule to the average skier; the
choice should come down to which binding fits with the boot that happens to fit a given skier.
The boot should be big enough to give space to an inner sole and a pair of traditional socks of
wool so your feet are warm!
The purpose of kick wax is to provide grip on snow when weight is transferred on a ski; they
are used on classic skis only. Kick waxes are applied in the kick zone of classic skis if the ski
is not a fish-scale, waxless ski. Kick waxes are classified according to their hardness: harder
waxes are for colder and newer snow. Using a wax that is too hard will not give sufficient
grip, while wax that is too soft will cause the formation of an ice sole that slows the skier
down. It is not uncommon to apply a new layer of wax if the weather changes, or when
moving in altitude.
Kick waxes generate grip by penetrating into the snowflakes when the skier puts his or
her weight on the ski. Colder snowflakes are harder, and so is newly fallen snow. The most
appropriate wax is the one that is soft enough to generate grip, but also hard enough not to
accumulate snow and create a sole. Waxes are usually colour-coded by usage temperature: the
most common are red for above 0˚C, and blue for below. The snow-temperature range given
by the producer must be taken with a grain of salt, since new snow will require a harder wax.
Guessing the right hardness can be quite difficult, and the varying condition of the snow can
make the right choice wrong after a few hundred metres. Furthermore, the snow in the beaten
track is usually much different from the one immediately surrounding it, and works best with
a softer wax.
For regular wax use on the course you need blue and
red wax and universal klister like you see on the
picture. It can be bought in every sports store and
you can be together two- three – four people on one
packet like this. The wax can be mixed on the skis by
putting one wax on top of the other or on top of the
klister. Waxing of skis is done right before we start
skiing when we know exactly what kind of snow and
temperature there are in the tracks.
As the snow becomes older and snow flakes lose their sharpness, in case of re-freezing or of
water, kick wax cannot provide any more grip, and it becomes useless. One must therefore
resort to klister, which is basically a glue-like paste ("klister" actually means "glue" or "paste"
across all the three Scandinavian countries). Klister is discouraging for amateurs, as it is very
sticky, it is easy to apply but very difficult to remove.
Professionals often maintain that klister is best applied with the palm of the hand, the
hand can be cleaned by placing it in a glove and waiting while the klister is removed by a
combination of sweat and friction between your hand and the fabric of the glove; amateurs
often resort to some object of the appropriate size. Sport-stores sell purpose-made solvent to
clean skis - Base Cleaner(see below).
Grip wax tape
It is possible to use a wax grip tape instead of grip wax and klister. It is applied to the kick
zone of the ski in tape form,. The tape can last for 100-200 km, has a very wide temp range
(-20C to +5C), and can be left on the ski at the end of the day and stored by covering in
waxed paper. It is applied to the ski bottom. You have to ask in the sports-shop about the grip
wax tape. Not many people in OSI Langrenn have experience on using grip wax tape, but
there are more and more skiers that stick to the tape! If the person in the sports-shop is nice,
he or she might show you how to put it on your skis if you bring your skis and they are totally
cleaned from wax or klister.
Sport-stores sell purpose-made solvent to clean skis,
Base Cleaner. These should be used with care, as
they are both flammable and toxic if inhaled or
absorbed through the skin. You can buy paper for
kitchen-cleaning in the super-market and use it with
base-cleaner to clean your skis. If there is fresh cold
new fallen snow, you should not have any klister
under your skis, and it is convenient to remove it by
Waxless skis have a fish scale, cross-hatched or ridged pattern in the kick zone to provide
grip. A waxless ski is inferior to a finely tuned waxed ski, especially on hard icy conditions,
but does not require the application of kick wax or klister and will work between
temperatures. Waxless skis are suited to recreational skiers who simply want to get out on the
trail with minimal time spent on maintenance. You can use waxless skis on the course.
A basic online course on waxing skis.
1 Go to www.swixschool.com
2 Push “Swixschool”
3 Select band-widt for your computer
4 Select: “Nordic – Recreation”
5 Press “Start Swixschool” down right
6 Press “Kick waxing”, and watch “Kick zone”, “Universal klister”, “Hard wax”
7 Watch “Base cleaning”.
Clothing – some principles
You feel warm when there is right temperature around your body. In winter we try to get a
thin layer of hot air around our body to feel warm. This layer of hot air is kept in the fabric of
the clothes! And the heat comes from your muscles producing heat while burning calories.
Your body produces humidity. This means that the fabric of the inner clothes must be
of wool or synthetic material. If you use a cotton t-shirt, the cotton fibre will crush when it
gets humid. Instead of allowing there to be hot air inside the fabric, the wet cotton leads the
cold from outside in to your body!
In the mountains it is important to have jacket that break the wind. Otherwise the wind
will blow away the warm air around your body.
Your body is also a system that gives priority to the most vital organs – head, hart and
inner organs. It means that you feel cold on your finger and toes when the total amount of heat
in the system is not big enough. To get warm again, you have to produce more heat and/ or
keep it better! Protecting your forehead is vital when you feel cold, because if it is unprotected
gives away a lot of heat. In the theory lesson we will show you clothing for skiing both in the
mountains and the forest.
We wish you all welcome to the course and hope that you'll enjoy the skiing adventure!
OSI Langrenn 2009