First Day Cross Country Ski Lesson – Skate or Classic

This lesson plan is designed for beginner cross-country skiers with little or no experience. All the drills and exercises can be done on classic or skate cross-country skis. The purpose is to help you get comfortable on the skis and learn basic skills to keep you safe on the flats and hills.


  1. Gear and Safety: The lesson begins with tips for staying safe and putting on your gear.
  2. First Steps: The first drills are done in place, on flat terrain.
  3. Moving Forward: After you feel comfortable, you can start sliding forward. The video teaches a simple technique called “Double Poling”, which can be done on skate or classic skis. You could also start striding (classic) or skating (skate) on your first day, but that’s not taught in this lesson.
  4. Braking Skills
  5. Climbing uphills
  6. Downhills

Use the jump links below the video to navigate through the drills.

If you like learning from videos like this, consider buying a Nordic Ski Lab membership. The cost of a subscription is very affordable and we have a wealth of excellent teaching videos, featuring top Canadian skiers, including World Cup and Olympic athletes.