How to XC Ski
I'll get some pics/vids of this but in the meantime, here are a few tips to help you go from a non-skier or ski-walker to actually skiing as skiing is meant to be skied.
This info perhaps mostly applies to skiers who don't know they need it. I don't know what to do about that or how to get the word to them. I often see casual sight-seeing skiers---who are loving their skiing---out skiing along like Frankensteins. Of course it's fine as long as it's fun. But skiing wants to do so much more for you. You might be a Frankenstein skier if you ski with your poles mostly out in front of you and your hands up high and pretty wide and your feet mostly doing a shuffling motion. This seems stable and good for bird watching, but, ya know, maybe it isn't. This kind of skiing just might tire you out quicker and have you falling more often and backslipping on the uphills. Actually, it SURELY has you slipping on the uphills. If you're this type and like it---keep it up!---but if you want to add to your repertoire (and get up hills lots easier...with glide even!), read on.
OK...skis want to glide.
To let them glide you have to kick your weight entirely from foot to foot.
Skis (and boots and bindings) are stable. Especially if you just stand up on them and totally kick yourself from one foot to the other.
Skis are unstable if you just waddle, if you don't commit.
Skiing is lovely when it's rhythmic. It's also very efficient, very easy, very low energy expended. No strain.
So here's how:
Do a few practice lessons like this:
Stand anywhere with your feet side by side, a foot apart. Then swing your arms front to back, one arm going to the front, up to eye-level, the other arm going to the back as high as it can. No strain. Slight bend in the arms. Just swing, swing, swing. Now add a little bounce. Bend your knees as you swing. Drop a bit as your arms pass each other. Swing swing swing, bounce bounce bounce. It's nice.
That's a great poling drill. Most beginners to intermediate skiers, even gungho tourers, don't swing when they pole. They cut off their poling before their pushing hand reaches their leg. They keep their hands in front of them, feeling along. Nope. --Swing that arm forward, plant the ski pole (basket near the foot). Then swing that arm down and all the way back until the pole comes off the ground. Follow-thru is everything! Swing swing!
No, no, I forgot something! When you go out skiing again, find a level place and ski without poles, back and forth, for a few minutes. Swing swing swing! You'll do fine. You don't need poles on the flats if you swing. Bounce bounce bounce, too.
The bounce bounce bounce part gives you your kick, your grip, and your chance to go from foot to foot with total commitment.
But practice this kicking a bit more. Here's how:
Stand somewhere, feet a foot apart. Bend your knees a bit. Then fall forward. Tip forward. Slowly. When you start to fall on your face step out as far as you can. At the same time push with your rear leg and let it pop out. Try to get so that you can just tip out onto a foot and hang there a moment. No stress, strain or wobbling. Let the leg that kicked just hang, relaxed a moment.
Now, just for fun, pretend to ski while standing in place. Do the classic style, the diagonal. Stand on one leg and swing your arms and one leg in the right timing (opposite leg and arm going together). Do it for, what, 20-30 seconds each leg. Then also just stand and imitate kick/doublepole. Throw both arms forward and kick back, then kick back into place and swing your arms back. Do that a little, too.
Now, I think your snow skiing will be better. That wasn't too hard, was it!
(Even advanced skiers can benefit from this. Olympians do all kinds of no-pole skiing, with lots of swing swing swing and bounce bounce bounce.)