Nordic Ski Instructor

nice pic!


Equipment: [ viewpoint | waxes | skis | bindings | footwear | poles | clothing | extras | novelties ]

The extras you might need/want

A good instructor will probably not want anything else to complement her/his already large collection of skis, boots, and poles. In fact, s/he may well be trying to find ways to teach with only one pair of skis, boots, and poles (if it is good enough for the student, then it is good enough for the teacher...). However, there are some extra things that are unavoidable.

Waxes are necessary even if the instructor insists on skiing with non-wax skis: more and more students are using them, and need guidance in how to choose the right wax for the day. Likewise, because so many students are being sold so-called 'never-wax' skis with chemical compound bases designed to work best in countries where snow conditions are very different from here, waxes are often required for these skis also. Then there are those days when the snow is very icy (refrozen) and fish-scale or step bases will only work with the application of klister. Mercifully, there are few Mica bases left on skis today - they almost always needed a coat of wax to allow them to slide at all! Mohair inserts are also rarely encountered due to their rapid icing up when skiing in wet snow, but still some pairs refuse to depart to that big ski slope (graveyard?) in the sky...

A whole chapter could be devoted to waxing (for both non-wax, and waxable skis), but rather than re-inventing the wheel, a summary of tips and tricks is included in Appendix VI, and you are strongly advised to read as much as you can from the many books and leaflets available mentioned in the reference section.

Whilst on the subject of the underside of skis, climbing skins are becoming more prevalent for long climbs, especially steep ones. Most skiers opt for stick-on skins (strap-on skins are less common these days), cut to the length of the ski, and preferably black in colour to aid drying of wet skins in sunlight. Depending upon their intended use, skins are anything between half the width of the ski base to almost the full width. Full-width skins offer the most grip, but suffer from the inability to allow gliding, even when the skis are placed on their edges. Some skiers cut skins into short segments and glue them onto the mid-section of the ski when required, but these cannot be trusted to stay on on steep slopes. Even full-length skins are prone to rolling off on extreme climbs - to avoid this it is possible to attach a hook onto the end of the skin to hook over the tail of the ski.

Skins are divisive articles for skiers - those without them (who invariably have not tried them) claim that they are too expensive and unnecessary, whilst those who have them, or have tried them once, swear by them and would not dream of climbing anywhere without them. When teaching, it is best to avoid using them unless the whole party has access to them, unless you want to witness a mutiny (or lynching) first-hand!

Roller skis or roller blades are often used by racers in the non-snow months - these can be used with some degree of success as a teaching aid, but only with a good measure of caution. An ideal place to begin is a large, deserted, and very flat car-park with a smooth bitumen or concrete surface. Some cities and towns have bicycle paths that will substitute for ski trails. Roller skis are able to be used for both classical and freestyle training, whilst roller blades can only usefully be used for freestyle practice (skating). Either way, it is best to have purpose-built ski poles for the job, unless you are prepared to accept an abnormal rate of wear of your ordinary ski-pole tips. Modern pole tips tend to be housed in plastic, and fall out easily when smashed against a roadway repeatedly.

The speed of roller skis or blades is not overly important unless you are planning to win races with them - a slow pair will enhance your on-snow performance, and give a greater feel of the real thing. A word of caution though - roller skiing is a dangerous activity, and cuts, bruises and abrasions are commonplace. The lack of downhill braking is a big deficiency unless you live on the Nullabor, and the lack of recognition by car-drivers, or even cyclists, is a far more serious threat than you think: 5 members of the Canadian Nordic team were killed in one hit by a car driver not long ago.

Equipment: [ viewpoint | waxes | skis | bindings | footwear | poles | clothing | extras | novelties ]

valid code
[ Contents | Preface | Organisation | Teaching | Techniques | Equipment | Resources | Appendices | Glossary | Index ]