Should you classic ski, skate ski, or do both?

Many professionals recommend starting with classic skiing, because it requires less balance and is easier to get around when you lack good technique.

The learning curve is steeper in skate skiing, but it’s possible to begin with skate skiing. Many people begin with skate and skate ski exclusively.

Getting started with skate skiing usually appeals to younger professionals and athletes from other endurance sports who are looking for a challenging winter training experience.

If you have the time, money and interest, doing both skate and classic skiing is the most fun. Skills transfer between the two styles which means doing both will make you a better skier overall.

Owning both skate and classic equipment gives you the greatest flexibility to choose the best style for various weather and grooming conditions.

  • Skate is fun at mid-range temperatures on hard packed snow.
  • Skate skiing is more enjoyable on fresh snow around zero degrees Celsius because classic skis tend to ice up in those conditions.
  • Classic skiing is more fun at colder temperatures because the skis don’t glide well and skate skiing needs good glide.

Assuming you have access to trails groomed for both styles of skiing, do whichever appeals most to you.