Weight Transfer in Skate Skiing is a Paradox

In walking and running your centre of mass can stay between your feet, but in cross-country skiing you have to move our weight more over one foot and then the other to flatten the ski to make it grip the snow for the push.

The expressions “weight transfer” and “weight shift” ae interchangeable and both refer to this need to get our weight over each foot. The amount of weight transfer depends on various factors. There’s less weight transfer when you are skiing at a higher tempo and the body tends to stay between the feet more when you are climbing steep terrain.

For many skiers the term “weight transfer” implies a side to side movement and cueing them to “transfer their weight” can result in excessive side to side movement, so this cue should be used with caution.

The paradox I am referring to in this video is as follows: In One Skate (🇺🇸 V2), the centre of mass is positioned very directly over the base of support. You could say there’s very “complete” weight shift in this technique. But actually, you can also make the case that there’s very little weight shift in One Skate because there’s a minimum of side to side movement. In reality, you don’t shift your weight so much as you switch your base of support from one foot to the other.

In my opinion we talk too much about “weight transfer” in cross-country skiing, so it’s somewhat ironic and disingenuous of me to make a video on this topic. However, I also think there’s too much side to side movement in many people’s one skate precisely because they focus on the goal of weight shifting over to their glide ski. Maybe framing the movement as “switching the base of support” will help some people ski straighter down the trail.