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Best Crosscountry Skis

last updated Oct 31, 2019

When you hit the slopes and get to whip down a mountain quickly, feeling all the freedom cross-country skiing can provide, you’ll know immediately if you have the best cross-country skis for your adventures. While the sport of skiing hasn’t changed much over the years, the equipment has, and modern cross-country skis have a lot to offer nowadays. To save you some time researching the best cross-country skis, we’ve provided a list for you here of some of the best skis you can possibly choose, and we’ll also give you a few pointers about how to make your selection.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 8 hrs of research

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Salomon Snowscape 7
98/100 our score
Materials
99
Features
97
Ride
98
Salomon Snowscape 7
Why is it better?

Wide body

Great for beginners

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Salomon Snowscape 7
Test Winner: Salomon Snowscape 7
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Researched Sources
13
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1,232
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
8
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
8
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Sami Kritz
By Sami Kritz:

The summertime is actually a great time to invest in skis because they usually go on sale! Check out this list to see what is trending now. Our newest additions include the Madshus Epoch 68, the Fischer Orbiter EF, the Fischer Mystique My Style, the Aplina Sports Control, and the Rossignol BC. If you're new to skiing or just want to learn more, don't forget to check out FAQ section!

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Rank
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Name
Rating
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#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98
Materials
99 %
Features
97 %
Ride
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.11.19)
Amazon Link
$199.95
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97
Materials
97 %
Features
98 %
Ride
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.11.19)
Amazon Link
$149.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.3
Materials
95 %
Features
94 %
Ride
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.11.19)
Amazon Link
$359.85
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Materials
94 %
Features
91 %
Ride
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.11.19)
Amazon Link
$149.97
Backcountry Link
$249.95
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#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Materials
92 %
Features
94 %
Ride
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.11.19)
Amazon Link
$340.00
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.7
Materials
93 %
Features
92 %
Ride
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.11.19)
Amazon Link
$170.95
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.7
Materials
89 %
Features
93 %
Ride
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.11.19)
Amazon Link
$239.94
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Materials
87 %
Features
92 %
Ride
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.11.19)
Amazon Link
$129.99
Backcountry Link
$199.95
See Deal
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.3
Materials
88 %
Features
85 %
Ride
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.11.19)
Amazon Link
$249.95
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Materials
89 %
Features
85 %
Ride
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (14.11.19)
Amazon Link
$584.95

Top 10 Picks

1. Salomon Snowscape 7

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98
Salomon Snowscape 7
Amazon Link
Materials
99
Features
97
Ride
98
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$199.95
Pros:

Wide body

Great for beginners

Cons:

Won’t work well for more experienced skiers

If you’re not an experienced skier, and are either a beginner or somewhere at the starter level, then you’ll want a good pair of skis made for this. Salomon Snowscape 7’s Cross-Country Skis offer an excellent product that could fit your needs. Salomon Snowscapes are designed with a wide body, which will help your stability and keep you upright so you don’t have to worry about sinking down into the snow when you’re learning how to ski cross-country.

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Materials
Salomon’s Snowscape 7 comes not only with a wide body to help stabilize newbies, but also has an easy heel-toe camber to help you climb so you don’t overly stress your legs. Also, the waxless bottom and partial metal edge designed into these skis assist with turns, making the process of learning the slopes a bit simpler.

Features
Salomon’s Snowscape 7 skis are also made to be lightweight so that you can move in them easily and not worry about hurting your hips when you move. Designed into the skis is a strong Densolite material, which helps with durability.

Ride
These skis are made to help newer ski lovers learn how to perfect their skills, and help build up confidence on the slope while you’re learning. With the stability and support needed for those at the beginner level, you’ll be able to learn what you need to learn easily so you can enjoy your sport more often.

2. Rossignol Delta

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97
Rossignol Delta
Amazon Link
Materials
97
Features
98
Ride
96
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$149.99
Pros:

Flexible skis

Increase velocity

Soft Core

Cons:

Wider body not great for more experienced skiers

The wider body can also limit your speed

For those skiers that want skis designed to help them move faster, the Rossignol Delta Cross-Country Skis offer you a racing edge without hurting your pocketbook drastically. While racing skis can be very expensive, these skis offer a fast edge while still providing extra learning benefits to help boost your skills.

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Materials
These feature an Activ’Cap construction and a honeycomb core. The honeycombed core of these skis has a design that’s focused on speed. It is important to keep in mind the center area of these skis won’t be as stiff as your typical skate ski, which is usually the type of ski used for beginners. You’ll also need to push a bit harder with the ski to increase your acceleration, but you will get a boost in speed with these skis.

Features
Rossignol’s Delta Cross-Country Skis allow you to enhance your racing edge while improving your skills. They are designed to increase your pace and help you move. The core of these skis is honeycombed, which helps make these skis lightweight and boosts their speed.

Ride
Rossignol’s Delta Cross-Country Skis are made with a wider platform to help those learning how to ski still achieve what they need to improve. Plus, the design, with the focus on speed, will help you increase your velocity easily.

3. Fischer S-Bound 98

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.3
Fischer S-Bound 98
Amazon Link
Materials
95
Features
94
Ride
94
best offer for today
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$359.85
Pros:

Large metal edges

Great climbing

Good speed

Affordable

Cons:

Have a bit of a learning curve

Need to take time to master these skis

Fischer’s S-Bound 98 Cross-Country Skis are great for those at the intermediate to beginner levels who are looking for a decent pair of affordable mid-range skis. Designed with a waxless body for better speed, these skis can boost up your velocity as you move through the wilderness.

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Materials
The fiberglass channel inside the skis makes this a very durable pair of skis. The full edges on the Fischer S-Bound Easy Skin let you climb up hills easily also help you turn better when you hit the slopes, increasing your potential. If you’ve already developed some basic skills, these skis can help you increase your ski potential and learn more.

Features
The design of Fisher’s S-Bound skis do resemble the design of their Orbiter skis, but with the S-Bound you get a wider body to help you handle powdery snow better, and also to increase your balance overall. Plus, these skis have an added benefit—they work very similarly to snowshoes when you climb, which is a nice feature to have when you have to walk uphill.

Ride
Fischer’s S-Bound 98 skis are made to handle difficult terrain and have a fully loaded Backcountry technology system to help boost your control. Their Nordic Rocker Camber, made with open ski tips, will boost your ability to glide and climb.

4. Fischer Orbiter EF

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.3
Fischer Orbiter EF
Amazon Link
Materials
94
Features
91
Ride
95
best offer for today
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$149.97
Backcountry Link
$249.95
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Pros:

Unisex

Powerful

Easy to use

Cons:

Bindings not included

Unreliable size chart

This next set of skis from Fischer are “inspired by fitness.” They have been designed to be easy to use, easy to control, and consistently flexible. With all of these features, they allow you to focus more on the sport of skiing itself, and less on what's happening with your skis.

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Materials
Perhaps one of the most head-turning features of these skis is the fact that they are not made from fiberglass. Instead, they have been manufactured with volcanic basalt fibers. The lightweight air core is made from wooden basalite and the waxless bottom and double camber provide you with a great ride. The stone ground base is smooth and allows you to put more focus on the sport of skiing, instead of the skis themselves.

Features
The Orbiter skis feature a reversed sidecut, providing you with a wider body. The wider body brings you better grip and stability. The volcanic materials used in the skis give you consistent flexibility in all temperatures. If speed is what you’re after, you will appreciate the narrow body of these skis as well. These skis are compatible with NIS bindings and available in three different lengths, depending on your weight.

Ride
Made for beginners and intermediate level skiers, this pair is lightweight and responsive. The stone ground base provides a smooth ride and great glide. They are very easy to control and pack a powerful kick. As mentioned, you can pick up some serious speed with these skis as well, thanks to their narrow shape.

5. Madshus Epoch 68

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Madshus Epoch 68
Amazon Link
Materials
92
Features
94
Ride
93
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$340.00
Pros:

Unisex

Decent float

Great grip for ascent and descent

Versatile

Cons:

Not wide enough for light snow

This hybrid ski from Madshus is a great choice if you are looking for a strong ski with relatively soft tips and tails. They feature Madshus’ integrated technology, making them easy to control and super grippy.

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Materials
The Epoch is another wonderfully versatile ski from Madshus. The core of the ski is made from Madshus’ own Multicore technology. The wood pieces are laminated together providing more strength with less glue. This technology also increases the camber of the skis. The base of the skis features Omnitrack waxless technology which is great for ascent and descent. These skis are sidecut and feature full metal edges.

Features
These backcountry/cross country skis are great for on and off the track. The grip features round and strategically spaced scales for superior gripping power. In addition, the single camber makes these skis great for climbing. Thanks to the laminated wooden core, these skis provide you with the same flexibility in all climates. They are compatible with most BC bindings and are available in four sizes, 165, 175, 185, and 195. The pair of skis together is slightly heavy, at 5.9-pounds.

Ride
All of the great components of these skis come together to bring you great kick and glide. With these skis, you will experience optimal control and great turning power when going downhill. These skis are not noticeably wide and are best in over four feet of powder.

6. Rossignol BC 65

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.7
Rossignol BC 65
Amazon Link
Materials
93
Features
92
Ride
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$170.95
Pros:

Lightweight

Responsive

Versatile

Cons:

Prone to scraps and scars

This is a great option if you are looking for a versatile ski with high camber and waxless bases. The Rossignol BC line actually resembles a touring ski but features full-length metal edges for improved stability and control.

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Materials
At first glance, you may be thrown off by this backcountry ski because it looks like a compact touring ski. However, this ski is a bit wider and shorter, and the full-length steel metal edges secure it as a backcountry ski. The ski itself is made from Rossignol’s own Activ’cap material and features wooden air channels.

Features
Thanks to the low-density core, this ski is lightweight, at only 1.95-pounds (size 185) for the pair. For added versatility, if you decide to take these skis to a touring center, they will fit into the track. There are four sizes of the BC 65 available, including 165, 175, 185, and 195. These are the narrowest of the BC collection, at only 65mm wide.

Ride
This is great ski to use on any type of slope, whether it’s a smooth paved trail, or off the beaten path. The full-length metal edges give you great control when going downhill, allowing you to turn and stop with ease. On and off the trail, the waxless bottoms provide you with great grip and glide. Additionally, the double camber gives you a natural glide and kick.

7. Rossignol Evo OT 65

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.7
Rossignol Evo OT 65
Amazon Link
Materials
89
Features
93
Ride
87
best offer for today
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$239.94
Pros:

Unisex

Lightweight

Mid Length

Cons:

Only compatible with NNN boots

This striking pair of skis are just as versatile on the slopes as they are in your home. Our favorite set of unisex skis are lightweight, predictable, and can handle terrain up to black diamond level.

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Materials
The Rossignol Evo 65 features a wooden core with an air channel, helping to achieve a trifecta of balance, strength, and flexibility. The waxless Positrak base provides a strong grip with the feeling of dragging. Our favorite feature is the partially metal edges, providing more turning power.

Features
The low weight of 5.84 pounds makes these skis very portable and ideal for both men and women. These skis are available in four different sizes and feature a classic binding flex.

Ride
The versatility of these skis is what makes them stand out. These skis are mid-length and make sharp turns a breeze. The Rossignol Evos are perfect for singletrack groomed or ungroomed trails. Explore the backcountry with confidence.

8. Atomic Motion Skintec

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Atomic Motion Skintec
Amazon Link
Materials
87
Features
92
Ride
88
best offer for today
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$129.99
Backcountry Link
$199.95
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Pros:

Affordable

Good responsiveness

Easy climbing

Cons:

Could be more durable

Not much of a velocity boost

If you want some high-quality, affordable skis that will help you climb and also don’t require a lot of upkeep, you might be interested in the Atomic Motion Skintec Cross-Country Skis. The technology built into these skis includes a design that holds underfoot to work as an extra climbing grip, and these skis are made for those who like to just grab their gear and go.

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Materials
Atomic designed their Motion Skintec Cross-Country Skis includes mohair construction to help increase climbing capabilities, while at the same time, needed less maintenance than many other skis. So, if you’re a skier that gets tired of constant ski maintenance, you’ll have an easy time keeping up with these low-maintenance skis. Designed with a straight, skinny shape, these skis can slice through just about any type of snow easily. Plus, these skis include a High Densolite core, which will help you boost your energy and responsiveness as you’re moving.

Features
Atomic’s skis can be used in a variety of different snow conditions and terrains, and are made to be versatile no matter where you find yourself outdoors. With a nice design and several low-maintenance benefits, these are a good pair of skis to have with you on your next adventure.

Ride
Atomic’s Motion Skintec Cross-Country Skis are made to be used on days where there’s a fresh blanket of powdery snow, and you’re in the mood to hit the thick pine groves and powdery snow off-trail. The modules manufactured into the underfoot area of these skis help you climb and kick better, making it easy for you to get where you want to go.

9. Fischer Mystique My Style

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.3
Fischer Mystique My Style
Amazon Link
Materials
88
Features
85
Ride
89
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$249.95
Pros:

Durable

Unrestricted gliding

Combination of single and double crown

Great for beginners

Cons:

Made only for women

If you are beginner, intermediate, or an advanced skier just looking for an easy ride, theses skis from Fischer can offer you a smooth and easy ride. They function best on groomed trails and are one of our most affordable options. As an advanced warning, they are only available for women.

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Materials
Like most skis, these are made from strong fiberglass. They also feature a built-in air channel with a Basalite core. The Mystique My Style skis are waxless and have a Protex grip. The double camber provides you with an easy ride.

Features
These waxless skis are incredibly easy to use and care for. Without the stress of cleaning and upkeep, you can focus on the sport at hand. The premium crown climbing system makes climbing easy. The base is offset, allowing you to pick up some speed on the descent. Additionally, these skis come with premounted NNN bindings, making it very easy to get in and out of these skis, especially for beginners. They are available in three female sizes, XS, S, and M.

Ride
This pair of skis are best for groomed trails. They have Efficient Forward technology, providing you with a forgiving (and powerful) kick and a relaxed ride. The powerful kick is thanks to the double crown in the middle of the skis. They are slightly wide, giving you great stability and controlled turning power when going downhill.

10. Alpina Sports Control 60

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Alpina Sports Control 60
Amazon Link
Materials
89
Features
85
Ride
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$584.95
Pros:

Good for all levels

Great stability

Bindings included

Cons:

Should be paired with a supportive boot

Too wide for some

Only compatible with NNN bindings

No metal edges

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced skier looking for an enjoyable ride, these skis from Alpina should be on your radar. They are slightly wider than average providing you with stability and smoothness.

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Materials
These waxless skis from Alpina provide you with a great option for all day skiing on or off the track. They are side cut and have a wood channeled light tube tec core allowing the ski to work with you, providing a smooth ride. They are slightly flexible, giving you versatility and stability. There are no metal edges.

Features
As mentioned, the wider set of this ski makes them great for groomed or ungroomed tracks. Depending on your weight, there are three different sizes available. These are great skis for a skier of any level. They make for a great introductory pair or will provide a smooth simple ride for those who are more advanced. They are only compatible with NNN boots.

Ride
The early rise towards the top of the ski gives you a smooth ride and the light air core lends stability without weighing you down. These skis are wider than racing skis and more narrow than backcountry skis. The waxless patterned bottom gives you a smooth ride with a reliable kick. In order to keep the weight of the skis down, this pair does not have metal edges.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

When trying to determine what type of skiing and what skis you’ll need, you need to first consider where you’ll be skiing, and what the conditions will be like. Depending on this, the material of the ski is important. Maybe you prefer a stone ground finish or wooden air chambers?

If you prefer more on-track ski, and like using trails, then you can opt for touring skis or race and performance classic skis. If you’re a beginner hitting the ski tracks, you’re probably better off with touring skis, since race and performance classic skis require more advanced skills and better techniques than touring skis.

Of course, if you’re planning on going out off-track and hitting hard terrain, then you’ll need some metal-edge touring skis. Really, the type of ski you purchase will be up to you, but you’ll want to match where you’ll be skiing and what your level of ski experience is up to the skis you decide to purchase since you’ll get an optimal performance that way.

Features

Cross-Country Ski Camber
You’ll want to look at the camber, or the bow of the ski, on your cross-country skis. Typically, cross-country skis are manufactured with a Nordic, or double camber that features two different parts.

The first part of the camber helps you when you have equal weight on both skis, like when gliding down a hill. When you do this, the ski’s “grip zone,” or waist area, stays arched upwards off the snow so that you can travel downwards more quickly.

The second part of the camber helps you when you put all of your weight onto one ski, and you flatten your ski against the snow for extra grip and traction before your kick forward. At this point, the ski is focused more on the grip than balance or movement.

Most cross-country ski manufacturers design skis with both types of camber features in them, but some metal-edge touring skis do come with a single camber, making the arch more gradual at the center of the ski. Skis that have a single camber typically help equalize weight better over the whole ski base, making it easier to turn well.

When you’re looking at the camber features on your cross-country skis, you’re likely to find that most cross-country skis feature double cambers, and this usually works just fine for what most skiers want to do. If you do plan on purchasing metal-edge touring skis and want to do more hardcore off-trail skiing, then you might want to consider that single camber. Otherwise, you’re probably fine with a double camber design.

Cross-Country Ski Flex
Other criteria point you’ll want to consider when evaluating your skis is their flex, which dictates how well your skis will turn and how fast they’ll move. Soft-flexing cross-country skis help you grip for better turning capability on softer snow and if you ski at slower speeds. On the other hand, a stiff flex works well when snow is firm and you’re moving at high speeds.

If you know where you’ll be skiing, how quickly, and what the snow will be like, then that can help you determine what type of flex you want in your cross-country skis. However, this isn’t a feature you should primarily base your judgment of your skis on since you don’t need to worry too much about ski flex unless you want to race or move at high speeds. Otherwise, it can help you make your choice in ski, but won’t necessarily make or break your performance outdoors.

Ride

All components come together to create a smooth ride. The shape, length, and materials. One thing that stands out on a smooth ride is the wax of the skis.

Waxable vs. Waxless Cross-Country Ski Bases
When you’re out skiing and you need to climb or walk on flat ground, skis need to be able to grip the snow well (some manufacturers refer to this as their “kick and glide.”) Most cross-country skis are manufactured to grip using one of two strategies; the first way is by using wax, and the second way is by using a textured pattern to help with grip.

So, the thing you’ll have to consider is whether or not you want waxable skis or waxless skis. Let’s break down the features of both.

Waxless skis
These skis are very popular on the market since they give you grip conveniently and can handle a wide variety of different snow issues. Waxless skis don’t use kick wax to help you with your grip, but instead have a textured pattern in the middle are of the ski that helps you grip into the snow. Even though waxless skis typically state you don’t need to apply glide wax to them, they still perform better on hard terrain when you do.

Waxable skis
You’ll need to be willing to maintain these skis a bit more, but they can do better than waxless skis as long as you match the kick wax well with the snow you’re dealing with. Waxable skis get grip from using rub-on kick wax that’s placed on the middle area of the ski. You’ll get great glide out of these skis, and excellent grip. However, if you know you’ll be out in cold or crazy temperatures that are around freezing, waxing will be a problem and you’ll want waxless skis at this point.

Depending on the conditions you’ll be doing your skiing in, and how close to freezing the weather is, you’ll be able to determine if waxless or waxable skis will be better for you. A lot of this is a matter of personal preference and depends on the type of cross-country skiing you plan to be doing.

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expert tips icon
Pre-Slope Work Out

Skiing is an intense sport and provides a great cardiovascular workout. You wouldn't expect to run in a 5k without any training, right? It's the same on the slopes. It is important to prepare your body and strengthen your muscles before hitting the Black Diamond.

Clothing

Clothing can be just as important as skis, poles, or wax. You will want to avoid cotton because it can easily soak up water and takes a while to try. Breathable materials and fleece are the best for this sport.

Other Factors to Consider

Terrain

Most cross-country ski types fit one of three designs: touring skis, race and performance classic skis, or metal-edge touring skis. We’ve covered each in a bit more detail below.

Touring skis
These types of skis are made for groomed trails and tracks. The design features of most touring skis focus on them being narrow, longer, and lighter in weight. Typically, the combination of this design focus makes touring skis very quick and efficient to use.

Race and performance classic skis
Like touring skis, race and performance classic skis are usually designed to be used on groomed tracks. Unlike touring skis, these types of skis are made for faster, aggressive types of skiing. With race and performance skis, you usually find that they are designed with a stiffer flex than most touring skis. That means they won’t be easy for beginners to use, and you’ll need to have your technique down if you opt for skis like this.

Metal-edge touring skis
If you plan on doing off-track skiing or like hitting steeper terrain, then you’ll want to opt for skis like this. Metal-edge touring skis are usually designed to be shorter than touring skis, making them easier to maneuver. Plus, metal-edge touring skis are also usually wider to give you more stability and flotation when you’re hitting difficult snow. Plus, they also have tough metal edges so you get the grip you need when you hit the ice. Metal-edge touring skies also are made with a greater sidecut so that you can turn better on harder terrain. Because metal-edge touring skis have so many features, they are heavier than most touring skis but made to handle terrain that’s off-the-track better than other ski designs.

When trying to determine what type of cross-country ski you’ll need, you need to first consider where you’ll be skiing, and what the conditions will be like. If you prefer more on-track ski, and like using trails, then you can opt for touring skis or race and performance classic skis. If you’re a beginner hitting the ski tracks, you’re probably better off with touring skis, since race and performance classic skis require more advanced skills and better techniques than touring skis.

Of course, if you’re planning on going out off-track and hitting hard terrain, then you’ll need some metal-edge touring skis. Really, the type of ski you purchase will be up to you, but you’ll want to match where you’ll be skiing and what your level of ski experience is up to the skis you decide to purchase since you’ll get an optimal performance that way.

Size

To determine what type of ski length you’ll need to get out of your cross-country skis, you’re going to have to factor in your body weight. Body weight is the major item to look at when you’re trying to figure out what type of length you need. However, where you’ll be skiing and how you’ll be skiing are also factors to consider when figuring out the ski length you’ll need.

So, do you need shorter or longer skis? If you’re a recreational skier or like rugged terrain types, shorter skis are usually slower on the trails, but a lot easier to use if you’re new to the game or hitting harsh areas. Also, if you find that you’re between sizes when you’re measuring your body weight for your ski size, it’s almost always better to go with the shorter length if you are still new to the game of skiing. However, if you’re athletic or already at the expert level when you ski, then you can opt for the longer range.

Ski width is usually a three-location measurement with most cross-country ski manufacturers. First, skis are measured at their tip or the widest point at the front part of the ski, then the waist, which is the narrowest part in the ski’s center, and lasts the tail found at the back of the ski. The hourglass shape made by most ski designs is known as the sidecut, and the three-point measurement of skis helps determine how this sidecut will appear.

The middle, narrow point of the ski, or the waist, sometimes has two parts dedicated to it on the ski and features a broad center. Skis made like this are designed to support boots well and also are made to keep them from grabbing onto the snow when you’re trying to make a turn.

If you’re going to be hitting groomed tracks and trails when you ski, then you’ll want the tip of your ski to be no wider than 70mm, which is the maximum width of ski tracks. Also, you’ll want a small sidecut so that your skis can move along on a straight path more easily. If you are considering race and performance skis, remember that they’ll be narrower than touring skis naturally, since they’re made to be lightweight and boost your velocity. Metal-edge touring skis should have a good width and an average sidecut so that you can glide well and turn easily.

If you’re a skier that likes a lot of variety and wants a versatile ski that can cover everything, in-and-out-of-track skiing, then get a touring ski that’s 65 to 70 mm and doesn’t have metal edges. Or, you can get a narrow metal-edge touring ski. Either one of these ski types has a lot of versatility in the design.

Depending on what your body weight and ski levels are, you’ll need to factor both those concepts in when figuring out the length of ski you want. Beginner skiers should go for shorter skis, but intermediate to advanced skiers have some room to move in this category.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What are some different characteristics in skis that can affect their performance?

a:

A few characteristics of skis will affect their performance, and also can help you determine what types of skis you’ll really need for the cross-country skiing style that fits your approach. First, the width and weight of your skis will matter if you care about your ski velocity range. The base material’s quality on the ski can also affect your speed. However, you’ll also want to consider the camber, or flex of your ski when figuring out how you’ll be skiing, and whether you want a single or double camber.

Probably the most important thing you’ll want to look at is your skill level when you’re looking at characteristics that can affect how your cross-country skis perform. Beginner skiers usually ski with his or her weight in the back while learning the sport, while an expert ski with his or her weight forward.

With that in mind, a beginner skier is going to “kicks” a ski differently than an expert will since an expert will get a lot more kick power with less effort. (Remember that “kick” means pushing against the snow and compressing the camber to spring the ski back into its shape so you can glide more quickly).

Now, recreational skis are typically easier to kick and control, and can work well for beginners, but also limit how and where you’ll be skiing. Also, if you know you’ll be skiing a lot and are likely to improve quickly, you might want something else besides a recreational ski so you don’t have to spend money on yet another pair of skis.

So, you need to consider what level of skier you’re planning to become, how long and how often you’ll be skiing during the winter, and the types of skiing you eventually plan to do. With that in mind, you can determine if you want to purchase a pair of skis just to get started, or something that might be harder to use at first, but can adapt to you as you get better at your sport.

q: Should I buy skis for my current or goal skill level?

a:

It’s always a good idea to buy your skis at the level you want to achieve—as long as you’re going to be reasonable about that level. You don’t want to buy expert skis when you’ve never skied before and have quite a bit of learning to do. But, you do need some room for growth, and as long as you are realistic about that growth, you should consider purchasing a pair of skis that will help you learn, but also can help you through the intermediate level of growth as well if you are, for instance, just starting out.

If you’re up to the point where you’ve got some skill and can handle yourself well enough to get around, and are somewhere at the intermediate level, you might want to consider racing skis. Racing skis are not that hard to use, and you can put wax on them if you have issues with grip. Plus, they’re the types of skis that will grow with you.

So, buy your skis so that they can grow with you, and help you become better—but again, be realistic about that assessment and approach so you don’t wind up with a pair of skis that’s far too difficult for you to use. Keep your confidence up, and keep growing.

q: Can I wax my skis at home?

a:

Yes, you can wax your skis at home. Without wax, your skis will not glide easily. The process can be quite tedious, but it is possible.
To make a long explanation short, you will first need to prep your skis. You can use a small amount of citrus degreaser to clean off all of the dust and dirt from the skis. Be careful not to use too much or you may dry out your skis.
Next, you must choose your wax. There are many different waxes available. Hot wax is always preferable but is more difficult to use. You can use an all-weather wax if you don't have the patience to find a specific wax for your terrain or temperature.
While irons designed for skis are always preferable, you can also use the iron you have at home. Use the iron on a low setting to heat up the skis, then use the iron to melt the wax onto the skis. After you have dripped the wax over the skis, you put the iron on the skis and glide it over to evenly distribute the wax. Be careful not to let the iron sit in one spot for too long.
Once the wax has dried, it is time to scrape the skis. This will remove any excess wax. Once you have scraped the bases of the skis, you shouldn't be able to see the wax anymore. It is a good idea to pay attention to the sides of the skis as well, to avoid problems when turning.
Lastly, you need to brush the skis. This will, again, remove excess wax and provide a smoother ride.

There are multiple different methods to home-waxing your skis, this is just one example.

q: What should I wear when I ski?

a:

Without proper attire, your day on the slopes can be everything but fun and exciting. If you would prefer to stay at the lodge and sip hot chocolate, go ahead and skip this paragraph.

Let’s start with baselayers. A good skiing baselayer will add a layer of warmth, be moisture wicking, and comfortable. Wool is one of the most popular materials for a base layer because it is a great insulator and naturally wicks away moisture. There are also synthetic options available.

After a base layer, depending on your ability to handle cold weather, you may have a mid layer, or you may go directly to your outerwear. Your outerwear should be durable, breathable, and waterproof. Whether you are just starting out, or a professional, there is still a high chance that you will fall at some point in the day. The waterproof abilities will keep your body dry and save you from being wet and cold, and the breathability will keep you from feeling like you’re wearing a sauna suit. Many outerwear options come with layers. There is sometimes an inner, warm, insulating layer that can be removed. This is a great feature to add extra warmth. If you will be skiing in the spring, or in a climate that isn’t as cold, perhaps an outer shell will be enough for you. Under the shell, you can choose how many base or mid layers to wear.

Aside from the clothing, there is also a whole list of accessories that go along with skiing, but we consider the clothing to be the most important. You’re off to a good start here.