Classic skiing without tracks -- seems like a handy skill

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JeffOYB
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Classic skiing without tracks -- seems like a handy skill

Postby JeffOYB » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:28 am

Do you folks enjoy classic skiing outside of the tracks? Or are tracks a key part of the experience for you, maybe even necessary.

When I was younger I really wanted good classic tracks and didn't like skiing classic where they weren't.

Then I got classic roller skis. I learned to relax and enjoy classicking without a track, thanks to the rollerskis. One doesn't always set a roller ski down so that it tracks perfectly straight, either, but I learned to just go with it and not fuss or flounder -- as long as I wasn't too skewed everything would work out fine.

In general it seems like rollerskis -- and maybe even ski-skating -- can teach one to ski with "drift" and not worry.

Now I can ski without tracks without a bother. Skiing on hiking trails makes this skill a real plus, as tracks get walked on or aren't there in the first place.

Also, I can almost always stride up a steeper hill than others -- it's my favorite thing -- so it really helps me to be able to get good glide and relax while skiing over herringbone marks. That used to peeve me, too, but no longer. Maybe I just like a lot of kick wax -- I know that I sure hate slip.

I do like tracks just fine, tho.

One of my last decent results in racing was when it was nasty icy on the course, with big weird icebergs all over the place. You had to be able to ski anywhere if you wanted to keep your speed up or not break equipment. I was certainly at my skill limit but was able to focus and make it work, skiing out of the track most of the time. I finished maybe 15 places higher than fitness would suggest, breaking top 10 for the last time. Frustration was the theme of the day for many. Several decided to skate without DQing themselves and a minor ruckus / policy clarification ensued.

I note in talking the other day with Dale Niggemann of CAT Ski and the Cat moves that he says the Cat moves seem to be faster when used outside of the tracks, and that he likes to put the skis down *narrower* than usual when doing those moves, even with a bit of splay. Maybe that slightly relates to the idea that some of us don't naturally stride with parallel feet. If one is a bit pigeon-toed naturally (and maybe many are?) you can still get a nice classic stride going that leaves slightly splaying marks behind. When I ski ungroomed snow (light over a base) I notice that I sometimes have a splayed set-down on one side or another. This can be peeving to me the next time I ski around -- I like making good tracks. Also, if you DO ski in tracks then it seems to be lowest friction to not have the ski bang the side of the track.
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Re: Classic skiing without tracks -- seems like a handy skil

Postby Cloxxki » Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:21 pm

Before I worked on my running gait, I was VERY V-styled in my walking and running alike. That was part of my appeal to skating. When I fixed my running, effective becoming a more than average track runner, classic became much easier.
If you don't want to V as much, just tuen the hip a bit further before set-down.

In the Tour de Ski, many skied outside the tracks on uphills. Lack of grip in the tracks, and sometimes to simply find a way to the front, or bonus sprint points.

I suppose your skis may decide whether you like life outside the tracks? With my particul classic setup last winter, I was find in the tracks, but in the looser snow they were like anchors. I honestly barely made it to another track when switching, so much drag. On fat flat wide slow nowax skis, the switches were amazingly smooth. I think I like them more for skate-trail classicing also.

It would be interesting if organisors would keep a certain hill free of tracks. Especially a gradually steepening one. Should be a nice oppurtunity to make a break in a mass start race.
Last edited by Cloxxki on Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Classic skiing without tracks -- seems like a handy skil

Postby rmattson » Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:49 pm

Cloxxki wrote:Before I wonder on my running gait, I was VERY V-styled in my walking and running alike. That was part of my appeal to skating. When I fixed my running, effective becoming a more than average track runner, classic became much easier.
If you don't want to V as much, just tuen the hip a bit further before set-down.


Were you v-styled because your legs naturally sit that way? My girlfriend is just starting to run a little and she has a fair v-style because that is natural. She would like to try skiing but I've wondered if it will put undue stress on her knees or ankles to force the unnatural position?
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Re: Classic skiing without tracks -- seems like a handy skil

Postby Askel » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:52 am

Tracks are only for those untrained in the fine art of breaking trail.

Image

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Re: Classic skiing without tracks -- seems like a handy skil

Postby JeffOYB » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:44 am

You got a bit o' unitrail going there! : ) When I break trail I like to keep my feet apart a bit. They tend to get close together so it takes a bit o' effort to keep 'em nice. If you ever want to ski that track again it's then a big pain if tracks are too narrowset.
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Re: Classic skiing without tracks -- seems like a handy skil

Postby orind » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:23 am

If we are talking groomed trails, then I ski in track. The biggest issue I have out of track is I just get in the way of the skate skiers--The lane is theirs.

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Re: Classic skiing without tracks -- seems like a handy skil

Postby Askel » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:47 am

JeffOYB wrote:You got a bit o' unitrail going there! : ) When I break trail I like to keep my feet apart a bit. They tend to get close together so it takes a bit o' effort to keep 'em nice. If you ever want to ski that track again it's then a big pain if tracks are too narrowset.


Keep in mind, that track is about a foot wide.

For scale:

Image

:D

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Re: Classic skiing without tracks -- seems like a handy skil

Postby JeffOYB » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:19 am

Looks like fun!

Yeah, you could probably fit two skinny skiers on one of those lanes. : )
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Re: Classic skiing without tracks -- seems like a handy skil

Postby Cloxxki » Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:41 pm

rmattson wrote:
Cloxxki wrote:Before I wonder on my running gait, I was VERY V-styled in my walking and running alike. That was part of my appeal to skating. When I fixed my running, effective becoming a more than average track runner, classic became much easier.
If you don't want to V as much, just tuen the hip a bit further before set-down.


Were you v-styled because your legs naturally sit that way? My girlfriend is just starting to run a little and she has a fair v-style because that is natural. She would like to try skiing but I've wondered if it will put undue stress on her knees or ankles to force the unnatural position?

Not sure how I would know whether I was born that way, or grew that way from being generally tall and clumsy.
Being flexible above the foot, and moving dynamically, I think should go a long way in preventing strain and injury.
I would not be surprised if that would result in what is considered as sub-perfect classic technique.

I've found that a directionally placed foot is much more stable, and stronger. It will fatique slower. It's however not an on-off switch. All change tends to take conditioning.

V-style running is promoted on steep uphills, and what is now considered as traditional running footwear. Thick heels, lots of inside arch support. Blessed are those who naturally don't use their heels while running, especially not upon foot placement. It's not an easy transition to go through, but always worth it, IMHO.

But the topic here is out of tracks classic. There a V stance may not hurt, or even help. Who am I to say.
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Re: Classic skiing without tracks -- seems like a handy skil

Postby Biffbradford » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:33 pm

Once I went out after dark and tried to stride on pure boiler plate.

Fell.

Broke my elbow.

End of season (in December).

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A simple but important distinction

Postby LewLasher » Thu Jan 12, 2012 6:10 pm

Biffbradford wrote:Once I went out after dark and tried to stride on pure boiler plate.

The idea is classic skiing without tracks, not classic skiing without snow.

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Re: Classic skiing without tracks -- seems like a handy skil

Postby cberube » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:40 pm

The femur actually sits with very slight external rotation in the hip joint. So, if you were to take a skeleton and hang it up by its shoulders, it's feet would have a slight 'V'. Go and hang from a chin up bar and let your legs totally relax. most people will have that slight rotation EVEN IF they seem to be more parallel or 'toed in' while standing. Often times positioning of the feet is structural and a result of years of work/exercise/life in a certain way. And, sometimes, it is just how it is. :) Even with a slight 'V', most of us walk, run, bike etc with our feet in a straight ahead, parallel way. correcting movement from the foot is like the cart before the horse. The foot is at the END of the leg, so movement should be corrected from the centre and then on to the end. The core, the hip, the thigh, etc etc.

Interesting topics. I'm enjoying this. :)


Cloxxki wrote:
rmattson wrote:
Cloxxki wrote:Before I wonder on my running gait, I was VERY V-styled in my walking and running alike. That was part of my appeal to skating. When I fixed my running, effective becoming a more than average track runner, classic became much easier.
If you don't want to V as much, just tuen the hip a bit further before set-down.


Were you v-styled because your legs naturally sit that way? My girlfriend is just starting to run a little and she has a fair v-style because that is natural. She would like to try skiing but I've wondered if it will put undue stress on her knees or ankles to force the unnatural position?

Not sure how I would know whether I was born that way, or grew that way from being generally tall and clumsy.
Being flexible above the foot, and moving dynamically, I think should go a long way in preventing strain and injury.
I would not be surprised if that would result in what is considered as sub-perfect classic technique.

I've found that a directionally placed foot is much more stable, and stronger. It will fatique slower. It's however not an on-off switch. All change tends to take conditioning.

V-style running is promoted on steep uphills, and what is now considered as traditional running footwear. Thick heels, lots of inside arch support. Blessed are those who naturally don't use their heels while running, especially not upon foot placement. It's not an easy transition to go through, but always worth it, IMHO.

But the topic here is out of tracks classic. There a V stance may not hurt, or even help. Who am I to say.
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Re: Classic skiing without tracks -- seems like a handy skil

Postby kuan » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:52 pm

cberube wrote:The foot is at the END of the leg, so movement should be corrected from the centre and then on to the end. The core, the hip, the thigh, etc etc.


That just makes too much sense.
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