Getting the Right Skis


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You can buy cross-country skis from numerous sporting goods stores, but getting ski equipment to fit you and your needs, however is another story. We specialize in providing the very best technical information available. We know just about all there is about ski fitting, base prep, waxing and the rest of it. We have a huge selection of light touring and racing gear, as well as waxes, clothing and all the accessories.

Cross-country skiing is one the most enjoyable ways to enjoy the winter backcountry. Before you buy your first or replace your ancient skis, you'll need to ask yourself where you plan to do most of your skiing. Will you be doing mostly in-track skiing, off-track skiing or skate skiing?

Types of skis

Traditional Skis - Traditional cross-country skis are designed for in-track skiing. This refers to the tracks that are set in the snow by other skiers or a grooming machine.

Waxable Skis - have a smooth base and require you crayon a thin layer of kick wax that matches the day's snow conditions and gives you grip. Finding the right wax for the temperature and snow conditions is part of the fun. A waxable ski will give slightly better kick and glide when waxed correctly.

No-wax or Waxless Skis - have a grip or fishscale pattern molded into the base. They are convenient; you just put them on the snow and go. You don't have to stand in the cold and wax your skis and they deal well with changing snow conditions. It is best to glide wax the tip and tails of both types of skis for maximum performance. Ask yourself, which ski appeals to you?

Skating Skis - These skis are designed for trails that are groomed for skating especially. The trails are wide with smooth snow. Skating ski bases have a glide wax ironed in to match the day's snow temperature. To skate ski you actually skate across the snow using poles.

Back-country Skis - These skis are often used for backcountry or off-track travel and expedition. They are wider and require heavier boots with a matching binding.

Fit of skis
In fitting cross-country skis, we take into consideration the use, height, weight, experience and the physical condition of the skier. Let us explain ski talk:

Camber - Camber is the bend in the middle of the ski where the wax pocket or grip zone is. A ski needs enough stiffness to hold the grip zone off the snow when you're gliding. But, on the other hand when you stand on one ski and press down, the ski has to bend enough to let you grip the snow and move forward. Your weight and skiing ability affects the amount of camber or stiffness you need. Stiff skis are faster and more demanding of your technique. Novice skiers are usually happier with a softer ski that requires less force.

Shape of skis - Skis are hourglass in shape, narrower under the foot than at the ends. This is called sidecut and it makes the ski easier to turn and steer. A wide ski gives more flotation in soft snow while a narrow ski gives more speed and less drag. The key to skiing efficiently is to balance and glide on one ski longer.

Length of skis - The length of the skis is decided by your height, weight and skiing ability. Today, most skis come in shorter lengths. They are lighter and easier to handle without sacrificing performance. The skis should match your weight and skiing ability.

Cross country ski boots
Boots will be the most important piece in your ski package. Choose them carefully. Try them on with the socks you'll be wearing. Leave plenty of toe wiggle room. Consider combi boots for transitions from traditional to skate skiing.

Cross country ski bindings
Bindings have improved over the years. The integrated boot and binding combinations like Salomon SNS Profil or NNN II is the choice for most people. They are light, durable and give improved edge control.

Cross country ski poles
Ski poles are light and strong. Most are made of fiberglass and work well if they aren't too short or too long. We cut them for traditional skiing at 80-82% of your height which is about mid-shoulder. For skating, the poles are at 90% of your height and that comes about to your nose. The grips or handles on poles have advanced. It's important to use them. If you properly adjust the straps you will fatigue less and ski faster.