How Are Skis & Poles Fitted When You Cross-Country Ski?

How Are Skis & Poles Fitted When You Cross-Country Ski?
Those transitioning to cross country skiing from alpine skiing, or those trying cross country skiing for the first time, often have difficulty figuring out what size skis and poles to get. Skis and poles used for cross country skiing are longer than those used for alpine skiing, and skis used for skate skiing are sized differently than standard cross country skis used in track skiing.

Traditional Skis

Traditional cross country skis are usually longer and thinner, and used in pre-cut tracks at Nordic resorts. Size them by taking your height in inches, multiplying by 2.6, and adding 25 inches to get a number. This number equates to the length in centimeters that you should choose.

Skate Skis

Skate skis are shorter for greater maneuverability in the aggressive skate stride. Multiply your height in inches by 2.6, then add 15 inches to get a number in centimeters for your ski length.

Traditional Poles

Traditional poles should be sized so they come to rest approximately under your armpits.

Skate Poles

Skate skiers use their poles more aggressively and prefer slightly longer poles. Skate poles are usually sized so they reach the skier's nose, but some skiers get poles shorter, approximately to chin or lip height.


A skier's weight can affect the length of ski that works best. Heavier skiers may require longer skis to provide better flotation in the snow, while lighter skiers can round down a little and choose shorter skis that provide a little more maneuverability.

Article Written By Candace Horgan

Candace Horgan has worked as a freelance journalist for more than 12 years. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Denver Post" and "Mix." Horgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and history.

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