Is Skiing Like Ice Skating?

A few aspects of skiing are like ice skating, but the two activities are also different. You can use some ice skating techniques in skiing, but knowing how to ice skate doesn’t mean you’ll be able to ski. 

I’m Christine, the founder of this blog and a lifelong skier. I love the winter and have a lot of experience ice skating as well. I know through first-hand experience the differences and similarities between skiing and ice skating. 

This post will explore if skiing is like ice skating. I’ll show you how these two awesome winter activities are different and how they are similar to give you a better understanding of how they are related. 

Let’s get rolling. 

Key Takeaways

  • Some aspects of ice skating technique apply to skiing, like when you want to use your skis to skate across flat slopes and the hockey stop. But they are pretty different from one another. 
  • Just because you can ice skate well doesn’t mean you’ll be able to ski, and vice versa. These two sports require different skills and techniques, despite their similarities. 
  • It is possible to use some skills from ice skating on the ski slopes, but these really don’t come into play when you are headed downhill. 

Is Skiing Like Ice Skating? 

Skiing and ice skating are two of the most popular winter activities. Both are a lot of fun to do when the temperatures are colder, and the snow is falling. And even though they share some similarities, they are also pretty different. 

An initial glance at both activities shows you some of their similarities. Both skiing and ice skating involve attaching equipment to your feet that allow you to move easily across the snow or ice. 

Skiing requires skis, boots, and bindings, while ice skating just involves attaching skates to your feet. And one of the main differences you’ll notice at first is that skiing involves going downhill while ice skating is on flat ice

That leads us right to one of the main similarities in technique and skill between the two. When you want to move around on your skis while on flatter ground, you can skate just like you would on ice skates. 

So if you know how to ice skate when you start to ski, this can help you figure out how to skate on skis. There is also a hockey-stop technique in ice skating that translates into skiing and even uses the same name. 

But other than those main similarities, the two are pretty different from one another. Just because you know how to ski doesn’t mean you’ll be able to ice skate. And just because you can ice skate doesn’t mean you’ll be able to ski. 

The Transition from Skiing to Ice Skating

If you want to transition from skiing to ice skating, you should be able to pick up the basics fairly easily. This is especially true if you are comfortable skating on your skis and know how to stay balanced well. 

Some people make this transition really quickly, while others need some time. It varies from person to person, and there is no way to know how well you will do on skates until you strap up and get on the ice. 

There are similar balance requirements in skiing and ice skating, which can help you transition between the two. But with skiing, you have two edges to help you control, and on ice skates, you only have one. 

Don’t expect to be as good at ice skating as you are at skiing if you have never tried skating before. It doesn’t usually work out like that. You still need to spend enough time on the ice to get the hang of things. 

Is Cross Country Skiing Like Ice Skating? 

Cross-country skiing, especially the skate style, is more like ice skating than alpine skiing. You literally skate along in the snow while doing this style of cross-country skiing, just like you skate along the ice while ice skating. 

But cross-country skiing involves using different equipment, specifically boots and bindings, that are not like ice skating at all. This makes getting your balance and technique a little challenging if you have never done it before.


Here are a few short answers to some of the most commonly asked questions relating to if skiing is like ice skating. 

Can I ice skate if I ski? 

There is a good chance you’ll be able to ice skate pretty easily if you ski, but it’s not guaranteed. They are different activities with different skills and techniques required. But they do have a similar balance and feel, which can help you get started. 

Is skating good training for skiing? 

Skating can be good training for skiing. Skating can help you build up the muscles in your lower body that you’ll also use in skiing. And skating can also help you build cardiovascular endurance that can apply to skiing. 

Final Thoughts

Skiing and ice skating do share some similarities, but they are two different winter sports as well. Some skills and techniques apply to both, but just because you’re good at one doesn’t mean you’ll be good at the other. 

Do you know how to ski and ice skate? Do you think they are similar? Let me know in the comments below. 

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  • Eric Thompson

    Hello again Christine, I ice skated since I was 8,and played hockey since I was 10 .I started skiing last winter ,and going from ice skating to skiing was a pretty smooth transition. Like you said they’re similar, but different. The biggest thing I noticed was balance. Being on skates teaches you that, second is pushing. The sideways push out on skates is very similar to the way you push yourself with skis. I think a person who has ice skated can learn to ski faster than someone who has skied, and wants to learn to skate. Because of the boots. Ski boots are stiff, and rigid. While skates have less support, and you have to develop ankle strength? Third is edges very similar, bottom line is to turn on both skis, and skates you have know how to use them. ,inside edges ,and outside edge. You can skid turn on skates just like skis or you can carve on skates, but that is totally different. The biggest thing is stopping very similar. I learned to hockey stop on skis quickly just by my skating experience. The biggest thing is putting it all together, and not thinking about what you’re doing. Easier said than done. My ski instructor always tells me stop looking at your skis they’re still down there, and I tell people who want to learn to skate the same thing. Let the tool do the work.

    • Christine

      Thanks Eric! Good insight on this. Much appreciated.