How to buy cross-country ski equipment

December 8, 2014

Compared to certain other winter sports, cross-country skiing is not only enjoyable, it’s relatively inexpensive and easily accessible. But first, you’ll need to have the right cross-country ski equipment.

Let’s begin with the skis

Cross-country ski material starts with the right skis. But first, you’ll have to decide what type of skiing you would most enjoy.

  • Regular cross-country. This most common of the variations is practiced on mechanically groomed tracks. The skis are narrower, easy to handle and are ideal for both beginners and casual skiers.
  • Off-piste. This kind of skiing is done on slopes that haven’t been groomed. It calls for shorter and wider skis for better floatation and control. These skis are strong and imposing for a better grip on the snow.
  • Classic. Better suited for athletes, this technique requires narrow skis that are long and straight and are typically harder to manage. On the other hand, they can be very fast when you know how to manoeuvre them with all the technique and aerobic power they require.
  • Skating. Meant for more experienced skiers, these skis are shorter and have camber. This type of ski puts the emphasis on performance and speed, which doesn’t suit everyone.

And that’s not all. Now you have to choose between a waxable and a waxless ski base:

  • Waxable. This base is more efficient, but it requires some knowledge about snow conditions so it can be waxed accordingly.
  • Waxless (patterned base). This somewhat less efficient base requires no maintenance. It’s ideal for beginners, as it provides a better grip. It's flexible and more forgiving.

Now it’s time for boots

Choosing boots is the next essential step in putting together your cross-country ski material. The boots you require depends on your choice of skis and the bindings they have. Your boots should be well adjusted, and your toes shouldn’t touch the ends of the boots.

Models vary, but conventional ski boots are shorter at the ankle and more flexible. Skating boots are high and rigid. Don’t forget the bindings, which secure the boot to the ski, so you won’t get very far without them.

Hold on to your ski poles

Of course, to complete your purchase of cross-country ski equipment, you’ll need two ski poles. Several models are available on the market. The best poles are usually light and rigid with good grips and straps. There should also be a looped strap through which you slip your hand to grasp the handle.

For recreational skiing, your poles should be able to fit under your armpits. A good pole makes all the difference with regard to hand, wrist and arm fatigue.

The only thing left now is for you to dress for the occasion, and you'll be all set for those beautiful wintery cross-country trails.

How to buy cross-country ski equipment
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