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Cross-country skiing: Alex Harvey's tips

The pleasure of getting better!

With our collaborator Alex Harvey, Olympic cross-country skier.

In this vignette, I’ll show that in addition to constantly improving your physical fitness, cross-country skiing remains one of the most exciting sports, especially when you can constantly improve your technique as well.

Dustin Satloff | © Sépaq

Pay special attention during long outings

Whether in free (no skate) or classic style, you can always tweak your technique. Knowing that you can progress from month to month and year to year is a great source of motivation!

I love to pay attention to technical details when I do long training sessions in a low-intensity zone. The sessions seem shorter this way. In addition, good technique allows you to save energy and finish strong during long recreational outings, or at a competitive level during the 2 hours or more that a 50 km race lasts.

Steve Deschênes | © Sépaq
Steve Deschênes | © Sépaq

Slip sliding away!

What I love about cross-country skiing is the feeling of sliding. To enjoy it, you obviously need to have the right skis and waxing, but you also need to think about letting yourself slide at the end of a thrust. Not so much that you slow down, though.

By practicing and exaggerating the movement a little bit, you’ll find the right balance and the right feel.

Establishing the proper amplitude remains the basic technique in classic style. A good way to practice sliding is to exaggerate when pushing your foot forward, as if you were kicking a soccer ball. For my part, what I'm still trying to improve in the area of classic style is my double thrust by using my legs more, which of course doesn’t come naturally to any of us.

In freestyle, how you slide is the crux of the matter. And through training to improve your balance, you’re sliding proficiency will improve as well. The rapid change from one ski to another is also a point to monitor. For my part, what I work on in skate skiing is increasing the frequency of my movements on steep climbs. I need hardly remind you that such moves are also great for your cardiovascular health!

No end of pleasure 

It's all about having goals, the main one being to have fun! I continue to ski at an international level, first and foremost, because I simply love hitting the trails.

Whether it's for a recreational outing or for a competition, try to improve, but most importantly, go play outside. There are so many beautiful places to enjoy nature!

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