Off­set Skate

Im­prov­ing your Off­set (V1) Skate

SkiTrax - - Technique - By Keith Ni­col

The off­set or V1 skate is a tech­nique for all skiers to learn, as it is the “go to” tech­nique for climb­ing hills for the av­er­age skier. Al­though World Cup rac­ers often climb hills with the 1 skate (V2 for our American read­ers), it demands quite a bit of strength and stamina that recreational skiers usu­ally don't pos­sess. The off­set skate gets its name be­cause the poles are off­set – with a lead pole held high with el­bows at 90° and the lag pole held in a lower po­si­tion, as shown in photo 1. This off­set po­si­tion al­lows a three-point land­ing of both ski poles that hit at the same time as the lead ski (in photo 1, this is the left ski). This tim­ing dif­fer­ence makes the off­set-skat­ing tech­nique dif­fer­ent from the “dou­ble-pol­ing” style of the 1 and 2 skate (V2 and V2 al­ter­nate).

For skiers just learn­ing this tech­nique, I usu­ally have them sim­ply walk through the tim­ing on the flats and then up a grad­ual hill. I often have skiers say “crunch” and “skate,” – where “crunch” means a three-point land­ing of two poles and the lead ski, and “skate” means free-skat­ing with the other leg. Once skiers have the tim­ing, I then have them per­form the same ac­tions, but this time adding some power to the poles and glide to the skis. At this point, it is im­por­tant to think about keep­ing the arms bent at 90° and to en­sure that your leg action is a strong free-skate. Try to keep your torso fac­ing up the hill and avoid any un­nec­es­sary sway­ing of the body. It is im­por­tant to look up the hill – many skiers keep their head down, look­ing at the tips of their skis.

One of the prob­lems that I see with many skiers who per­form this tech­nique is that they off­set on one side only. In photo 1, I am off­set­ting on my left side, since the two poles and left ski hit the snow at the same time. Know­ing how to off­set skate on both sides al­lows you to switch as arm and shoul­der mus­cles on one side be­come tired. I change sides fre­quently so that my arm and shoul­der mus­cles don't be­come fa­tigued. In photo 2, I am get­ting ready to off­set on my right side, and you can see me push­ing off the left ski and both poles are ready to be planted as my right ski hits the snow. No­tice that I am look­ing for­ward in photo 2 and that my right ski is be­ing placed down flat to max­i­mize glide. Often skiers don't bring their feet un­der them and end up try­ing to glide on an edged skis. Since edged skis are very hard to bal­ance on, the end re­sult is a short choppy off­set skate, com­mon among be­gin­ners.

An­other com­mon er­ror oc­curs when skiers hold their hands very wide, as shown in photo 3. This is a very weak po­si­tion for pol­ing. Since you use the off­set skate for as­cend­ing hills, you want all of your mus­cles work­ing as ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble so you don't tire pre­ma­turely. So think about keep­ing your arms at 90° and closer to your body (see photo 1 or 2). An­other in­di­ca­tor of a wide pole plant is that these skiers often end up bring­ing their arms too close to­gether as they fol­low through (see photo 4). Other skiers keep their head cocked to one side or the other when they climb hills with the off­set skate, as seen in photo 5. When I see skiers do­ing this, I usu­ally have them sim­ply look up the hill, and this seems to quickly fix this er­ror.

A great test of your abil­ity to off­set skate is to try the tech­nique with­out poles, as seen in photo 6. This re­quires a strong freeskate to be able to skate up the hills with legs only. If you can freeskate up hills with­out poles, imag­ine how fast you will be when you add them. For help with any as­pect of your Nordic ski­ing, seek out the as­sis­tance of a cer­ti­fied CANSI or PSIA in­struc­tor. Con­trib­u­tor Keith Ni­col has been on four Cana­dian INTERSKI demon­stra­tion teams for Nordic ski­ing. He holds CANSI'S high­est in­struc­tor rank­ing in both track and tele­mark ski­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.