Just like every other nordic ski technique, diagonal stride is built upon the athletic stance. We discuss this in greater detail in the Nordic Ski Technique Fundamentals course. You can see this most easily when the athlete is in the feet together position, but if you look closely, you’ll see that the athletic position underlies every stage of diagonal stride technique.
In the video Chris speaks extensively about how the ideal posture of diagonal stride has changed so dramatically from when he grew up ski racing. Skiers used to ski with hunched over, rounded shoulders and back. Now Chris’s athletes are trained to maintain a neutral posture at all times. This was a huge adjustment for Chris and the other Alberta World Cup Academy coaches and athletes and marks a radical departure from a long standing idea in nordic skiing.
The benefits of this modern posture are:
- Improved core strength and stability. The core is a braced platform that technique is built upon.
- Fewer injuries, especially in the shoulders.
- Generally better health and movement.
Head and neck position is also neutral. Avoid letting your head drop, neck arch or chin jut forwards. Because of the strong forward lean in diagonal stride, you won’t look further than about 10 feet down the trail. Chris’s tip if you want to look further ahead is to look out of the tops of your eyes.
In the videos you can see that Olivia and Ivan are both extremely forward in their positioning. This is one of the biggest challenges to new skiers. And, and Chris mentioned, even advanced athletes have to work hard at the start of the season to get more forward as everyone has a tendency to be more upright, especially at the start of the year.
One landmark you can check is to see if the skier’s shin angle and upper body/back angles are similar. If both are well forward that’s a good sign you are keeping your weight forwards.
Even tiny adjustments in how far forward you lean will feel like enormous adjustments, so you really have to work hard to get more forward lean.
When you are tired from a difficult ski you will have a tendency to collapse forward. Draw your attention to your posture and lift your chest ever so slightly, engaging your core and staying strong. That little adjustment can make a huge difference to how positive you feel. It helps you get more air in your lungs and chases away the feeling of defeat that can weight you down.