Expert advice to help you find the perfect cross-country skis

For enjoying the outdoors and also getting exercise, nothing beats cross-country skiing. To help you find the perfect pair of skis, here's some expert advice.

Cross-country skiing, or Nordic skiing, lets you exercise while enjoying all that winter has to offer. Follow these helpful tips to find the right cross country skis for your outdoor adventures.

Expert advice to help you find the perfect cross-country skis

Choose skis that suit your style

Cross-country skis come in three types to fit your skiing style and the ski terrain.

Classic: Best for hardpack snow and groomed trails, classic skis are used for the traditional slide-and-glide technique. These skis have a cambered midsection to help kick off and glide.

Skate: Skate skis rely on their inner edges to move, much like the way skaters push along on ice. They’re often shorter, narrower and stiffer than classic skis but also faster.

Touring: Sometimes called backcountry skis, touring skis are shorter and wider so you can tackle rougher terrain off the beaten track.

Ski features to consider

Consider the following features when looking for cross-country skis:

Wax: Waxed skis offer better grip and are best in areas with stable snow and ice conditions. Waxless skis are easier to control and can handle various conditions.

Sidecut: Most skis have little to no sidecut because they’re designed for trail skiing. A sidecut is best for backcountry skiing where you’ll need help turning.

Camber: Camber is the slight arch in the middle of your ski that acts like a spring to propel you along. Classic and skating skis will have a pronounced camber. Touring skis have a milder camber to help you stay in control on different surfaces.

Stiffness/softness: Stiffer skis will stay on track better on rough and uneven terrain. Softer skis are often easier to use and designed for groomed trails.

Metal edges: If you’re planning on serious backcountry skiing, metal edges make skis heavier but provide more control on steep slopes.

Factors to take into account

Height, weight and skill level are important considerations in finding the right skis.

Height: Your skis will be longer or shorter depending on the type. For classic skis, the tip should touch your wrist when you’re standing with arms raised. Skating skis should generally be five to 10 cm taller than you.

Weight: As ski technology improves, a skier’s weight is more important than height. Heavier skiers need longer and stiffer skis, no matter what the type. Lighter skiers may enjoy shorter skis with less pronounced cambers to give them more control.

Skill level: Beginners usually start on shorter skis that are easier to control. As you improve, your equipment will change to match your skill.

When you're ready to buy...

  • Try a few different rental skis before committing to a purchase.
  • More aggressive and skilled skiers need stiffer cross-country skis.
  • Make sure poles, bindings and boots match your size and skiing style.
  • Dedicated ski shops can often help you find the right equipment and give you advice on ski care, maintenance and technique.

Make the most of your winter adventures by choosing your equipment carefully. It’s the key to total enjoyment of the sport.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu