Tips & Tricks

Back in the 90’s when I worked for NordicTrack, I loved being able to personally coach someone to teach them easy and safe ways to learn to use the Ski Machines. I’m no longer working for the company, but I still enjoy sharing this skill with new people. I’ve collected some of the most frequently requested issues that people wanted help with.

Folding for Transportation and Storage:

The NordicTrack Pro model both folds down compactly, and has rear wheels for easy transport to storage! Follow these steps to easily store your ski machine out of the way:

  • Remove the loose skis and set aside (these should be added back to store with the machine when it is put away)
  • Ensure Handles are secure, pinch the Arm-Exerciser Snap Buttons and fold the top arm of the machine down
  • Lift underneath the Hip Pad and pivot the Hip Pad into an upright position
  • Remove Detent Pin that secures Steel Upright Frame into Wood Base, and fold the Steel Arms down into a compact position
  • Lift the machine from the Front End, roll into storage position using Rear Wheels
  • Position loose skis on top of the machine for storage

Learning the Cross-Country Skiing Motion

The NordicTrack Cross-Country ski machine mimics the motions used when Cross-Country skiing. Your arms pull on tension-mounted strings, while your legs alternately push against an adjustable level of tension. For a further challenge or to work different lower body muscle groups (an emphasis on quadriceps rather than hamstrings), the incline can be increased.

STEP 1: Stand / Balance with Feet on Skis and Hands on Handlebars

The first time you approach the machine, have a partner that can secure the skis in a locked “start position” with their feet

  • Stand on the skis with your toes in the foot cups and adjust the height of the hip pad to fall at the hip or just below the belly button
  • As the one-way clutch mechanism means that there is only resistance in ONE direction on the skis, there will only be tension on the ski when you push back (note this means when your foot is moving forward it will move quickly as it will NOT have any tension to overcome!)
  • A common misconception is that the skiing motion is like shuffling – instead the motion is more like walking (you apply force and push your feet backwards, but merely pick your foot up and glide it to move it forward)

STEP 2: Learn Lower Body Motion (with Hands on Handlebars)

Start by getting comfortable with the LOWER-BODY motion first (this is also a great way to warm up / cool down)

  • Grab the handlebars with both hands
  • Lean into the hip pad (keep your center of gravity sort of pointing forward)
  • Push back with legs one at a time (sometimes a higher level of tension can be helpful while learning how to balance on the machine)

STEP 3: Add Movement to One (1) Arm, Then to Both Arms

  • One at a time, start adding in your arms by swinging them naturally like you do when you walk (as you leg goes up, your arms goes back and vice versa)
  • When you feel comfortable swinging both arms, then you are ready to move to the next step of using the upper-body arm resistance

STEP 4: Add Arm Resistance Ropes for Full Body Exercise

  • Start with the lower body motion and pick up the skier Hand Grips
  • Alternate pulling the Hand Grips with the opposite cadence as your legs / feet (similar to swinging your arms for balance when walking)

STEP 5: Customize Your Workouts to Your Individual Goals and Preferences

  • Program your goals and personal information into the electronics monitor
  • Customize your machine with Accessories
  • Maintan your machine with regular Maintenance

Tricks to Impress Your Friends

Just in case you’ve started to think that the NordicTrack Skiers are all business, I’ll leave you with a fun trick that will give you the chance to earn some points for style! Here are instructions for an eye-catching flip / spin movement for the hand grips:

STEP 1: Exercise as Normal

  • Use the NordicTrack Pro Skier as normal, engaging the upper and lower body workouts
  • Ensure that there is no one standing in front of the skier

STEP 2: Show-Off a Bit

  • As you first begin start to swing your RIGHT HAND forward, LET GO of the handle
  • Continue to PULL ON the arm resistance with your LEFT HAND and watch the Right loose hand grip do a 360 in the air as it spins out in front of the machine then back towards you
  • CATCH the RIGHT HANDLE as it swings by and continue your workout
  • BONUS points for getting more than 1 spin of the rope before you catch it!

NOTE: Please use extreme caution when trying new fitness equipment. Statements on this site are intended as a guide towards the safest procedures, but safety is not guaranteed. is not resposible for the result of any action taken due to any of the editorial content on this website.


  1. jeffrey16201

    Does Nordic Track still product the ski machines, I have not heard anything about them for many years now?

    Are the ski machines too strenuous for people with autoimmune diseases, many people need low-impact are these products low-impact and easy on the joints?

    You sure wrote a very informative article on this products, would you recommend this product to anyone with joint health problems?

    1. Alyce (Post author)

      Hi Jeffrey,

      The Nordictrack Pro skier is still made, and it’s still one of the best workouts around. The machine is very gentle on the joints (your feet glide on the skis, so it feels like a lesser impact than walking). Obviously anyone with serious health issues should check with a doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.

      I definitely love the machine and recommend it for everyone who wants a quality piece of at home exercise equipment.

      Regards, Alyce

  2. Sharon

    I still love my Nordictrack skier and use it regularly. Our 22 year relationship is stronger than ever!

    1. Alyce (Post author)

      That is awesome Sharon! I bought my first one in 1993 and still absolutely love it!! I bought a 2nd skier for my parents about a year later (company policy at the time was to get one discounted machine per year). It’s not very often you can get so many years of use from one machine!


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