Subject: Straight ski
So often I hear this recommend in one skate technique, that one should try to point your ski straight down the track as possible. However, I never hear how to do this... thinking last night in bed, that if your body is not in a significant forward position with good hip flexion then this is impossible. Can you recommend other ways to achieve this ideal ski placement.
-S from Boise.
Dear S from Boise,
There are two major reasons why this style of skate skiing is gaining traction. First, pointing your skis more in the direction of travel while skate skiing will help you cover more ground with more forward momentum from each push. Second, having your foot, knee, and femur stacked and driving down the trail will help you generate a more powerful push that better recruits the glute muscles. (Check out some Klaebo skating video).
If we think about V1, V2, and V2 alternate the V our skis make underneath our feet will get more narrow through each one of these techniques... V2 alternate having the highest speed and most narrow V. Furthermore, as a skier moves down the track with more velocity their V should narrow within ALL these techniques as well. (Think of someone doing a skate sprint start from a standstill. They will start with a wide V and narrow as they build speed).
Instead of thinking about pointing your ski tips in a specific spot, I like to think about rotating my femur and foot more inward as I build speed. This takes a certain amount of stability and strength in the hips and glutes to glide on a ski in this manner, but you will feel the gains both in forward gliding speed and in the amount of power you can generate in your push.
Just remember, even though we are narrowing our V and have a less dramatic lateral weight shift at higher speeds, we still need to have a full weight shift and commit to each ski without getting stuck in the middle.