Learn the lingo of Nordic combined skiing

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Steamboat's Nordic combined tradition

The U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team has been on a historic run, but it wasn’t always like this. Thee Steamboat Pilot & Today takes a look at the past decade and the day a Steamboat boy drastically changed the course for the team and the sport.

Airfoil position: An aerodynamic position that a ski jumper gets into after leaving the ski jump. The skis are kept as motionless as possible and are pointed slightly upward. The skier has his arms down to his side and is leaning forward so his torso is almost touching his skis. This position is meant to lower the wind resistance to the skier.

Classic technique: Cross-country skiing technique characterized by opposite-leg and opposite-arm motion in a straight-ahead direction. Also called kick and glide, this is the technique primarily associated with cross-country skiing. It is what skiing exercise machines simulate.

See also: diagonal stride.

Cross-country: Commonly used term for Nordic skiing. The term is inclusive of general touring, metal-edge touring and skate skiing. It often is abbreviated as XC.

Diagonal stride: The forward movement associated with cross-country skiing. The skier’s body weight is thrust onto the front leg/ski as it glides forward and the rear leg/ski is extended naturally behind with the ski tail lifted slightly off the snow. The arms move in opposition to the legs, similar to running.

See also: classic technique.

Flight: When a skier jumps, he leans forward and makes his skis form a V shape with the back of the skis together. This helps to reduce drag and provide lift to the skier for a longer jump distance. Once a skier has taken off from the jump, he is in the air for 2 to 3 seconds before landing.

Gundersen event: Method of race competition that was started in the 1980s by Gunder Gundersen, a Nordic combined athlete from Norway. This technique turned the cross-country skiing part of Nordic combined from a point-based system — where all athletes ski in an interval start and whoever earns the most points combined with ski jumping wins the event — to a pursuit race where whoever crosses the finish line first wins the competition.

K Point: This is the maximum point where a skier safely can land. The farther past this point a skier lands, the less safe it is. The K Point also determines the amount of distance points a skier will be awarded for a jump. If a ski jumper jumps to the K Point, he will be awarded 60 points. An additional 2 points will be added for each meter a skier jumps over the K Point and 2 will be subtracted for each meter under the K Point.

Large hill: An Olympic ski jump hill with a size of 110 to 184 meters.

Nordic combined: Olympic and World Cup event involving combined competition in jumping and a subsequent cross-country ski race. Racers start the ski race based on how well they jumped, and the first athlete across the finish line wins.

Nordic skiing: Typically refers to any form of cross-country skiing, including classic, backcountry touring, skating and Telemark.

Normal hill: An Olympic ski jump hill with a size of 85 to 109 meters.

Roller skis: An off-snow training method for cross-country skiers. Skis are short (2 to 3 feet) metal shafts with rubber or polyethylene wheels attached to both ends. Used primarily on pavement, though some models work off-road.

Skate skiing: Cross-country skiing technique where the skier keeps the tips apart and the tails together. The skier pushes off the inside edge of alternating skis, similar to ice skating. Also called skating or freestyle skiing, this form of skiing is highly aerobic.

World Cup: Series of international ski races held almost exclusively in Europe each season. It is the highest level of cross-country competition outside the World Championships and Olympics.

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