XC Ski Your Best DVD (Updated) Posted on Apr 20th, 2007


Classic X-Country skier The end result of a lot of hard work headed by Michael Lalonde from CANSI Ontario, our new DVD Ski Your Best, has been released and is now being shipped to those who ordered a copy already.

This 70 minute DVD was produced in partnership with XCZone, and is intended for cross-country (XC) ski instructors, coaches and beginning to intermediate students. It is a comprehensive XC ski audio-visual technical guide.

In case you did not get a chance to get this DVD when registering for a course this past winter, note that you can now purchase it online via this web page. The costs are $25.00 for CANSI members and $30 for non-members, plus shipping costs.

The DVD also includes the 2006/2007 Instructors Manual (as a PDF).

If you have a high speed internet connection you can watch a pre-release version of this video in a small format here (just click on the play button icon bellow).

To learn more about this video, please read Michael's detailed XC Ski Your Best DVD Production report.



Alain Diechtl November 4th, 2006

I find your DVD overall very interesting, however I do not agree with some of the demonstrations especially in the classic style where I find your demonstrator (female) too upright. In the scooter technique, I ask my students to push off (the leg without ski) with the toes, which resembles more the actual pus-off with a ski, rather than by putting down the foot heel first, which makes the skier lean back. Would you agree?

Michael Lalonde November 5th, 2006

Thanks for your comments Alain. Yes, skiers should maintain a forward lean throughout the diagonal stride as demonstrated in the ‘Ski Your Best’ DVD global manoeuvre.

Drills serve a very specific purpose, which is to isolate one or more components of technique. Therefore, they don't always depict the correct global image of a manoeuvre. To put this into perspective for the student, CANSI instructors demo a full manoeuvre first to show the student the visual image of the D.S. etc. Next, the student will go through progressive skill-developing activities to improve their technique.

The scooter drill can be used in different ways - to help the student develop weight transfer and balance or to assist in developing a more effective leg push. In the video we selected weight transfer as the main purpose. To do this skier needs to have the hip directly over the ski in order to glide on a flat ski, which leads to a more effective leg push. Later in the DVD we introduced preloading and forward lean as progressions.

Initiating the leg push from the full foot in D.S. on the flats and moderate uphills is not incorrect, in fact it is an advanced skill that racers use to maximize glide and to have a more complete leg push. It does not necessarily lead to the skier sitting back and one can maintain a forward lean. This is done in skating. Why not maximize the leg push by using the full foot as opposed to just the forefoot? Some beginners do this naturally and I would not change what they are doing.

Thank you.

Michael Lalonde
CANSI Ontario

Drew Hutcheson December 12th, 2006

This video has it all and is a GOLD MINE of help for a student!! Thank you.

I'm an intermediate to advanced skier, but skied in the woods for years, developing bad habits. Then discovered a CANSI instructor and have taken quite a bit of instruction, but still forget and fall back into old habits, especially over the summer. I have limited ability to comprehend verbal and prose descriptions of ski skills, so I have been looking everywhere for video models, even recording TV racing coverage and scouring the Net. But it takes immense time and yields little.

This is all of it. I am overjoyed!

Jo Hughes December 21st, 2006

I was excited to see this video. It's WAY more helpful than the manual to really see and understand what is meant. Kudos for everyone who worked on such a valuable resource!

I was very disappointed though that it doesn't include any tele. Even to get xc levels you will have to know how to do tele turns, let alone to get your tele levels. Was this left out because a tele video is in the works? That would be fantastic if it was!

Michael Lalonde December 22nd, 2006

Hi Jo, thank you for your comments.

Telemark was not included in the DVD simply because there were no Tele instructors available to write the script and to provide post-production support. I considered doing this but I did not have the technical expertise required.

Nothing is planned at this point for a Telemark DVD or otherwise, but if there are some dedicated people who are willing to devote their time and expertise such a project is very possible.

We have also had inquires about a French version, but again we need translators and volunteers to make this happen.

Happy Skiing!

Michael Lalonde
CANSI Ontario

Gene Goldenfeld (PSIA - Minneapolis/St. Paul) January 27th, 2007

Looking at the pre-release version, I'm finding this is a useful video and am grateful that a North American instructors' group has finally put the key points to video.

I have two poling questions from the video. The first strider early on and in the Classical section is rotating his shoulders, as opposed to swinging his arms forward and back pendulum like under the shoulders, such as the other demonstrators are doing. I'm wondering if there's some particular reason for this, since it's something we normally work to overcome at early levels.

Second, the hand-pole connection at plant is not directly spoken to in the video, but one could infer from what is said (classical poling mechanics) that skiers should actually be holding the pole from plant to passing the hip, where it starts to release and ends up between thumb and forefinger. I was taught from Day 1, and have long taught myself, that in poling we pull on the strap without holding the pole, meaning there's no finger contact in the back. Only on the return are a couple of fingers used to control and guide the pole to the plant position, with individual preference as to which ones. I think that's what the skiers on the video are doing. However, I recently came across a fellow PSIA instructor "with his own ideas" who tells students to hold (grab!) the pole firmly at plant for maximum power and then gradually release through the travel back. He also thinks that pulling on the straps is hard on wrists (to which I can sometimes attest). I haven't tried it for an extended period, but the reasons we commonly tell students for why not to do this include tension, muscle fatigue and cold hands over time. I'd be interested if you'd clarify this point from CANSI's view. Thanks.

Michael Lalonde February 4th, 2007

Hi Gene, thank you for your comments. One of the skiers in the 'Ski Your Best' film does use a pendulum arm recovery. In the arm recovery phase we prefer to see the movement initiated from the shoulder with the elbow starting to flex as the hand passes the hip. The elbow continues to flex until the pole is planted. Next, the torso compresses slightly to load the pole followed by the back, the shoulder, the arm and the wrist exerting force on the pole. CANSI does not teach a forward pendulum motion with the arms for various reasons. First, this motion takes a longer time to recover the arms, delaying the pole assisted glide and timing with the legs. The second is that with some skiers the pendulum motion can cause the hips to collapse. Third, we may see a straight-arm pole plant which is a lot weaker than planting the pole with a bent arm.
We use the same approach as you when adjusting the pole straps. A snug pole strap permits the handle to stay wedged between the thumb and index finger when the arm is extended behind the body. The fingers help to guide the pole and to control the angle of the pole shaft at each pole plant. At pole plant the hand is cocked slightly at which time the fingers have maximum contact with the pole handle. There is no extra benefit in gripping the handle too tightly. Also, if the pole strap is adjusted too short this may contribute to some wrist problems, whereas a too loose a grip can cause control problems with the pole and premature hand and forearm muscle fatigue.


Michael Lalonde
CANSI Ontario

marcel boyer March 7th, 2007

i am in the gatineau region ,could you please tell me how to get a copy of the new video. also a manuel , is it ready in french, if not i will buy the video and wait for the manuel if it's not to long , thanks

Michael Lalonde March 12th, 2007

Hi Marcel, thank you for your interest in the ‘Ski Your Best’ film. If you are a CANSI member please contact the National Office, office@cansi.ca to obtain a copy of the CANSI Ski Your Best DVD. It is in English and is $25.00. The DVD also has the Instructors manual as a PDF file in English. The French manual is being updated and will be available this summer. If you are not a CANSI member please contact XCZone, www.xczone.tv and ask for the ‘Learn to Ski’ DVD which includes the ‘Ski Your Best’ film.


Michael Lalonde