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.

NordicTrack Ski Machine Tips and Tricks

NordicTrack Ski Machine Tips and Tricks

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. Nancy Twillman

    We have an Achiever from the 1990’s. Unfortunately the profile for our second user is no longer stored and we have not been successful adding it again. Any help is appreciated.

  2. Neil Cornell

    I used to have one of these machine in the late 90s and loved it. Recently I was diagnosed with some back issues and cannot run anymore so I bought a new skier. My problem is I remember working out at a 3 or 4 level and now cannot put it anywhere close to 1. Is there something off or have I just fallen off?

    1. Alyce (Post author)

      Hi Neil, the workout “levels” that are marked on the Pro do not represent a specific amount of resistance (e.g. 15 pounds). Your new machine might need to have the resistance adjusted down for a comfortable workout, but if something feels like it isn’t working correctly, then you should contact the manufacturer to see if it is something covered by the warranty.

  3. Kathy

    Hi. I am trying to get back to using my old ski machine for this winter when I can’t get outside. I used to love it but am now having trouble feeling comfortable as my toes aren’t staying in the toe cups. My feet keep shifting back or sideways. I don’t ever recall this being a problem in the past. Any tips?
    Thank you.

  4. David Watson

    I’ve recently pulled my early 90s NordicTrack out of storage and done the recommended lubrication, and it’s working perfectly. The problem is that my wife is petite and finds it an uncomfortable stretch to reach the handlebars. I was thinking about rigging something up to attach a bicycle handlebar a few inches closer to the hip pad. Anyone done anything like this or have any advice?

  5. K

    Hi I have a Nordic track that I bought in the 90’s it is made of black molded type of plastic a bit smaller than the wooden ski Nordic tracks was only sold for a short time . Anyone know what model this is? Trying to search for a part . Thanks

    1. Alyce (Post author)

      Hi K, It might either be a “Nordic Sport” model or “The All-Americans Premier Edition by ExerScience“. Do an online search for those models and see if either looks like the model that you are talking about. Good luck!

  6. Helen McCabe

    I am trying to use the heart rate clip that came with my Nordic track it plugs into the bottom. Of the read out but where do I put the clip?
    Fingertip or earlobe and if it doesn’t register what do u need to do
    When connected I get a P on digital display

    1. Alyce (Post author)

      Hi Helen, There were a lot of different electronic monitors that were released with the machines over the years, so it’s hard to know exactly how any specific one might work. I seem to remember that the models I used had a pulse clip that was supposed to attach to the earlobe. However, that said, I wouldn’t trust that readout to be correct. They are not going to be accurate and they are quite uncomfortable to wear.

      I recommend that you get a separate heart rate monitor — the ones that have a chest strap to go over your heart area will probably be the most accurate, comfortable, and give you a constant readout. The second best thing to this would probably be a smart watch or fitness monitor that can read your pulse.

      Hope that helps.

  7. Leah

    Hi Jefferey,
    I have a skier the Nordic Track Pro from the early 1990’s. I loved it and used it daily. I had several moves and careers and it has been stored. I recently set it up and after a “herky jerky” start it smoothed out. I can still hear the soft swish sound, however, the main sounds are squeak squawk squeak squawk like rubber groaning. I do weigh more but I doubt that’s causing it, lol . What can I do to get that sweet soft swish sound only without the other noise and also there is not quite a smooth glide. I was invited to send it across the country for refurbishment however I was not comfortable doing this… I really want to keep my machine and not trade it in. Thanks!

    1. Abe

      Hi Jeffrey,
      Your story and mine are almost identical. I have a Pro since 1991. Recently I replaced the 3 sets of rollers,
      waxed the sides of the skis, cleaned the axles, used 3 in 1 oil to lubricate, and the skier is almost like new.
      I hope this helps. i ordered everything from Nordicparts.

  8. Mark Agee

    I just assembled my new skier pro. Should there be any movement in the upright arm? I have tightened the two bolts as much as a I can, and there is still movement.

    Also, first time I put batteries in the computer unit and the tab on the battery compartment broke off in my hand…not a good first sign.

    1. Alyce (Post author)

      Hi Mark, a little bit of movement in the arms as you pull on the cords is probably normal, but you may want to contact NordicTrack customer service directly at (877) 993-7999 if it is causing concern. They may also be able to send you a replacement for your battery compartment.

  9. Liz

    Can you help me figure out how to fold down the vertical bar on the Pro version? I can share pictures.

    1. Alyce (Post author)

      Hi Liz, There is a locking mechanism at the pivot point on the arm. Some of the models have “push button latches” to unlock the arm, while others have a “pull / pin release” to unlock the arm. You most likely have one of these, but you can also share a link to a photo which may help to figure out the specifics for your machine.

  10. Liz

    Hello, I’m having trouble figuring out how to fold down the upright support bar. I have the Pro version. I can send pictures to help. Thanks!

  11. Mark P

    Hey Guys. I had owned and used a pro skier that bought back in the 90’s. It served me well for many, many years, without one issue.

    Last week, I purchased a new pro skier, and already, I’ve had a couple of QC issues: One of the skis was not shaped/contoured properly (causing — I’m having a new one shipped, so that should be taken care of.

    The latest issue (3 sessions in), is that the left drive roller had gradually migrated to the left, and is now firmly wedged against the guide board track (that the skis fit within). Has anyone dealt with moving/adjusting a driver roller? Is this something I can do?

    1. Alyce (Post author)

      Hi Mark, If you purchased a new machine and it’s having issues, it sounds like there is a problem with your unit. I recommend contacting the NordicTrack customer service group at 1 (877) 993-7999 and submitting a warranty claim to have it fixed.

  12. 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!

  13. 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


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