Cold Weather Survival
The Walking Step
a. Use. This is the simplest movement in skiing
and is used as the basic step in forward motion. In military skiing, its application
is for situations where walking or climbing is necessary. On level ground, sliding
action of variable degrees can be obtained.
the position of attention on skis (para C-17) left unweighted ski is slid flat
over the surface of the snow and straight forward as in normal walking.
At the same time, both knees are bent and the body weight is gradually shifted
onto the advanced foot. The heel of the rear foot is raised.
(3) The right
ski pole is moved forward and the basket is placed close to the right ski, towards
the tip, with its shaft leaning to the front.
(4) A push to the rear with the
pole is made, assisting in the forward body motion.
(5) The above motion is
repeated with the right ski.
(6) On level ground the skis are kept flat and
(7) The skis are not lifted off the snow, and the weight of the skis
is carried by the snow.
a. General. The basic movement of the one step is the
walking step. Forward motion and glide are increased when the skier applies more
effort to his step. This added effort is obtained by a lunge coordinated with
an increased push from the poles.
b. Use. The one step is the most widely
used of all skiing steps. It is applied under all types of snow conditions on
level ground (fig. 4- 13).
(1) The one step is started
by a forward lean of the body, with well bent knees and ankles. The feet are kept
flat and the body weight is on the right ski,
from which the initial movement
(lunge) is made.
(2) The left, unweighted ski is slid flat and straight forward
by a springing motion from right ankle, knee, and hip, straightening the body
and transferring the weight to the left sliding ski.
(3) The springing motion
(lunge) above, is completed by straightening the right knee and pushing off from
the right foot, thus completing the weight transfer.
(4) The body weight is
kept on the sliding (left) ski and, as the glide nears completion, the left knee
and ankle are bent in preparation for the next lunge. Meanwhile, the right leg
is relaxed and moves the ski forward in preparation for the next step. As this
leg reaches a position approximately alongside the left leg, the next step is
made with the right ski by lunging from the left leg.
(5) When using the poles,
the lunge is executed as above except that as the left foot is slid forward the
right ski pole is swung straight to the front and placed towards the tip of the
right ski or, when the right ski is slid forward, the left ski pole is brought
(6) The slide is increased by a push with the ski pole. The ski pole
is leaned slightly to the front and the arms kept close to the body.
pushing action of the ski pole is increased progressively by the muscles of arms
and shoulders. The pushing of the arm for added power. When the push has been
completed the arm is relaxed and brought forward close to the body in preparation
for the next poling action.
(8) During the coordinated movement of poles and
lunge, correct timing and a long glide are emphasized. The main power glide is
obtained from the lunge executed by each leg, the poling action provides only
a secondary source of momentum. All motions are rhythmic and fluent. Poles are
used in a relaxed manner and the pressure of pushing is allowed to come on the
Two Step and Three Step
a. Use. This step is used to attain a longer
and faster glide on the level. It is also used as an aid through dips and over
b. Technique. The technique of the two step is a combination
of an accelerated walking step and a one step. In the two step the push is obtained
by the use of double poling (fig. 4-14).
(1) From a standing position with
the knees slightly bent, a walking step is made with the left ski to start the
body in motion initially.
(2) A lunge is then made from the left leg, in a
continuous rhythmic motion, to produce a long glide on the right ski.
gliding on the right ski, the left ski is brought slowly forward and even with
the other ski to complete the first two step and in preparation of the next two
step. This action should be started before the momentum of the glide has been
(4) As the first step is made, both ski poles are brought straight to
the front in a comfortable reach and set into the snow alongside the skis in coordination
the lunge of the second step.
(5) The pushing action with the poles is applied
in the same manner as described above in using one pole. As the poles leave the
snow, they are brought forward in a straight line in preparation for the execution
of the next step. It is most important to time this motion properly to coordinate
with the next lunge.
c. Three Step. In addition to the two step, the
three step may be used anytime when changing ski steps and when sliding is poor.
The initial steps are intended to produce more initial power. It has an advantage
over the two step since it allows double poling and lunging from alternate feet.
The step is made in the same manner as the two step except that two walking steps
are taken before each lunge.
Variations and Applications of Ski Steps
a. In long, cross-country
movement, particularly when skiing with pack and rifle, it is most important to
apply techniques properly according to the terrain to insure that energy is spent
wisely and conserved as much as possible. To this end, the individual must attempt
to obtain as much glide as possible from his skis during each step. Although lasting
only for a short moment, the glide will allow the skier to rest temporarily. In
addition, all movements must be made in a relaxed manner, which necessitates continuous
individual training. The constant use of the same step is monotonous and increases
fatigue. To avoid this, various steps are used temporarily. The same effect is
also necessary in poling. In order to relax arm and shoulder muscles, a series
of steps may be made without poling. In the one step, for instance, the first
two steps can be made without using the poles. Any additional combination of steps
and poling may be made at one’s discretion for the same reason, placing more emphasis
on leg rather than arm work, or vice versa.
b. In bumpy terrain, ski
steps and poling may be used individually or in various combinations to provide
a strong pushoff to provide the skier with sufficient glide for a continuous motion
through a dip and over a bump. When a series of bumps and dips is encountered,
the poling action is generally applied on the crest of the first bump in order
to obtain sufficient momentum to reach the top of the next bump in a continuous
glide. A step supported by
double poling may be applied when skiing through
the dip. There are other situations where double poling may be applied to gain
or increase forward motion of the ski without taking a step.
a. General. In military skiing there are two types of falls,
controlled and unintentional.
(1) Controlled falls. The controlled fall
has definite value. It can be used to avoid excessive speed or to avoid hitting
obstacles if other means are not
possible. The controlled fall can be done
safely only at slow to moderate speeds. It is used to take cover quickly, assume
a firing position or for a quick stop to avoid hitting an object. When properly
used, it can be accomplished without injury to the individual.
falls. Unintentional falls are undesirable and may cause serious injury. Other
undesirable results of an unintentional fall are increased
frostbite, and holes in the snow which may cause other skiers to fall. Factors
which may contribute to unintentional falls are poor skiing ability, lack of control,
snow conditions, fatigue, and excessive speeds.
b. Technique of Falling.
If a fall is imminent, an attempt is made to relax, lower the body, and to land
sideways and to the rear.
(2) While falling, an attempt should be made to stretch
the body, to extend the arms and to keep the ski poles to the rear (fig. 4-15).
Care should be taken to keep the knees from digging into the snow, as such action
is a major cause of injury.
(3) The impact of the fall should be absorbed by
the hips or buttocks.
(4) The unintentional fall is avoided as much as possible.
It is often prevented by the correction of a faulty ski or body position.
Landing directly on a knee or hand must be avoided since the resulting blow may
cause serious injury. This is especially serious in heavy wet snow or breakable
crust because the extended arm or knee may penetrate and be locked firmly in place
before the body has lost momentum.
(6) Although falling or “sitting down” with
the skis facing downhill is the preferred method, occasionally a fall “over the
tips” cannot be avoided. The
important thing to remember is RELAX.
(1) To recover from a fall, the skier must first figure out what
to do before attempting to rise. A little planning will save time and energy.
If necessary, the pack and other restrictive loads are removed.
(3) Skis are
untangled and brought parallel, feet together. Knees are pulled up to bring the
skis close to the body. The body is then moved forward and
with the pole if assistance is needed.
(4) To use the ski poles, both hands
are first removed from the straps. The poles are then placed together with baskets
in the snow slightly to the rear, grasped with one hand above the basket, palm
facing downward, and with the other hand close to the top, palm facing upward.
The procedure for recovery from a fall on a slope is the same except that the
skis are placed below the body and perpendicular (at right angles) to the fall
line. To obtain this position it may be necessary to roll onto the back, lifting
the skis in the air and then in the proper position. Poles are then used as described
on the uphill side (fig. 4-15).
Straight Uphill Climbing
a. Use. Straight uphill climbing is a
method of ascending gentle and moderate slopes.
Take the first step as in walking the body leaning forward with knees well bent.
On gentle slopes, slide the skis forward without lifting them from the snow. On
steeper slopes, more knee bend is required which causes a transfer of body weight.
It may become necessary to lift the ski as the step is made, and to place it with
a stamping action upon the snow. This will give the ski wax better holding qualities
because it will not break down the snow crystals by first sliding over them.
Use the ski poles to assist the body in its uphill movement and to minimize backslip.
The degree of slope which may be ascended using this method is limited by the
holding characteristics of the wax used. With repeated backslapping of the skis,
the slope should be traversed thereby decreasing the angle of climb, or a different
method of climbing should be used.
a. Use. The sidestep is an effective method of climbing
a short, steep slope, where space is confined; it may be the only practical means
of ascending slopes. It is also useful for stepping sideways over logs, stumps,
and other obstacles.
(1) The skis are placed together
and perpendicular (at right angles) to the slope (fall line). To prevent slipping
sideways, the uphill edges of both skis are forced into the snow by pushing both
knees forward and toward the slope. Avoid leaning into the slope. Initially, the
weight of the body is placed on the lower ski.
(2) The uphill is lifted in
a sideways step up the slope (fig. 4-16) and the body weight placed upon it. The
upper ski pole is moved at the same time and
placed above and alongside this
ski. The lower ski is then moved up as close as possible to the uphill ski, while
the skier is supported by a push on the lower pole. This pole is then brought
up and placed alongside the lower ski. This completes one cycle of the sidestep.
Merely repeat until the desired elevation is reached.
a. Use. This method of climbing is used when the
slope becomes too steep for going straight uphill. Although a traverse generally
involves a zigzag route, it will often be the least tiring method of ascending,
thereby conserving time and energy.
(1) An angle
of ascent is selected which will allow climbing without backslip.
(2) The skis
are edged into the slope on each step with the ski poles used as in straight uphill
(3) In changing the direction of ascent a kick turn or a herringbone
turn, (para 4-24d) can be utilized. Long traverses should be used whenever possible,
since elevation is gained more effectively and with less expenditure of energy
in this manner.
a. Use. This step is a combination of a sidestep
and the uphill traverse. It allows greater vertical climb in each traverse.
(1) The movement is the same as in the uphill traverse, except
the ski is raised slightly and placed uphill as it is brought forward with each
(2) The skis are kept parallel and edged, as in the sidestep.
The ski poles are moved in the same sequence as in the sidestep.