Cross country skiing guide – Styles: classic, skating, backcountry

Cross-country skiing or nordic skiing is becoming more and more popular within winter sports. You don´t need a lot of snow or time, even a lunch break is enough to get out on the ski trails. There are three different cross-country skiing styles and they differ mostly in their specific technique and the type of equipment you need for having the maximum of fun. We invite you to read our style guide to get an impression, what this sport is about.

Here you can find our general equipment guide, which helps you to choose the matching equipment for your preferred cross-country skiing style.




Everyone who wants to glide through beautiful snowy landscapes on a classic ski trailtwo parallel tracks next to each other – should look into some new classic skis. Classic cross-country skiing is the most natural movement on skis. The technique is very similar to walking, just with skis on your feet and poles in your hands. The key part of this technique is a short kick, pressing the “kick zone”  into the snow. The friction that is created through the kick and the kick zone, helps you to not slip back but instead move or better glide forward.  You can go easy or push it hard and reach high speeds. There’s a broad range of equipment for every type of classic skier, so take a look into our classic equipment guide for cross-country skiing. Be classic and don’t be boring!


Photo: ©Christoffer Sjostrom, Salomon



Skating guarantees you fun and speed! The skating trails don’t offer such guidance like in classic cross country skiing, and this is part of the reason why skating is also called “free technique”. The key of the skating technique is the v-style: you create speed by pressing the edge of your ski into the snow, pushing hard against it. Then you transfer your body weight onto the other ski for gliding, like you can see perfectly in the picture below. The glide part is, what makes skate skiing so fast and fun. On the wide skating trails it’s possible to reach up to 30km/h with good technique and light ski equipment. Even steep uphill sections or sharp turns on the trail won’t be a problem for you any more. The skating technique is a bit more complex, but once learned you want to spend every free minute out in the snow … and you’ll get a perfect training for your entire body during the winter season! Check out our skating equipment guide to get an overview what you need for having maximum fun in the skating track.

Photo: ©Fischer Sports GmbH, Berger Markus



If you’re looking for real freedom on skis you might be a candidate for backcountry cross country skiing. The backcountry ski is a perfect companion for skiing off the tracks, for longer daytrips with a small backpack or even cabin trips. The skis in the backcountry range are made for accessing a lot of different terrain, built light and with metal edges. Even when crossing lower mountain ranges or fjells you’ll feel agile and safe – in all kind of snow conditions. The character of the movement is almost identical to classic skiing, with a kick and glide phase, while keeping your skis parallel. The difference is,  backcountry skis feel most comfortable in deep and fresh snow conditions, rather than in parallel tracks. This is the most original form of nordic skiing and it’s especially popular in Scandinavia. The “real cross-country skiing”: simply stepping out your door, crossing fields, valleys and woods! Check out our backcountry equipment guide, to find out what fits you best.

cross-country-skiing-guide-styles-madshus-backcountryPhoto: ©Ian Coble, Madshus

Are you interested in other related articles about Cross Country Skiing? We have some more for you:

Cross country skiing guide: Equipment

Cross country skiing guide: Equipment – Classic

Cross country skiing guide: Equipment – Skating

Cross country skiing guide: Equipment – Backcountry