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Cross Country Skiing Equipment

Cross country skiing is a great workout that also provides a thrilling experience. From a beginner just learning the basics to the most advanced competitive or backcountry skier, you'll find a wide range of cross-country skis, ski boots, bindings, and poles to fit your performance level. Whether you are partial to Fischer, Solomon, Rossignol, or others, you'll find lots of options to get you out on the trail or into the backcountry.

What gear is needed to get started on cross-country skiing?
  • Touring skis are a great choice for beginners; they are long and narrow and do well on groomed trails. They should be taller than you are, but the exact length depends on your weight. A good rule of thumb is to add 25 centimeters to your height in centimeters; round up a bit if you are heavier than the average person your height.
  • Choose touring cross country ski boots that are comfortable enough for you to move your foot around a bit so you can get a good kick, but that is rigid enough to give you good support on turns and down hills. Be sure your boot and binding type match!
  • For beginners, poles give you stability and the ability to push off well. Your poles should measure somewhere between your armpits and the tops of your shoulders.
How do you ensure proper binding/boot match?

There are three types of ski bindings--New Nordic Norm (NNN), NIS (Nordic Integrated System), and Salomon Nordic System (SNS)--and all perform well for a variety of skiing levels. New Nordic Norm bindings have two rails along the bottom and the boots have corresponding grooves to match. NIS bindings are completely compatible with New Nordic Norm boots but attach in a different way. Salomon Nordic System bindings have one rail and the boots have one groove. The important thing is to be sure to match your boot type to your binding type since Salomon Nordic System bindings must have Salomon Nordic System boots to fit.

What are the different types of cross-country skis?
  • Touring cross-country skis: These are built for groomed trails; they are lightweight, long, and narrow cross-country skis.
  • Racing or performance cross-country skis: These are similar to touring skis in that they are used on pre-groomed trails, but they are built for faster, more aggressive skiing and have a stiffer flex. Those who plan to skate ski should look for this type of cross-country ski.
  • Metal edged touring cross country skis: These are built to be used on steeper grades and out-of-track. They are shorter and wider to help them "float" better in the deeper snow of the backcountry.
What type of wax do skis need?

Waxable cross-country skis need two types of wax: kick- or grip-wax and glide-wax. Kick-wax provides the "grip" when you push off, while glide-wax allows you to glide smoothly after your kick.

Do waxless skis need wax?

The short answer is no, but it can help to improve performance. Waxless skis benefit from using glide-wax to promote a smoother and longer glide. Glide-wax also keeps your gear from icing up in less-than-favorable conditions.

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