When cross-country skiing, there are three basic techniques to remember: classic, skating and telemark.
The classic technique is the most common technique. This is a diagonal or zig-zag stride that works well on trails or in loose snow.
Skating is when the skis are positioned in a V-shape to allow the skier to glide forward. The skier moves by shifting his or her weight from one foot to another. This technique allows the skier to go faster, and is most often used on packed snow.
Telemark technique is used when going down a hill or a slope. In this technique, the heel is free from the ski, similar to Alpine skiing.