How to Choose Cross Country Skis

How to Choose Cross Country Skis
Cross country skiing is a great way to stay in shape while building endurance and skill. But before you choose a pair of cross country skis, you need to decide what kind of skier you want to be. You might like the thrill of racing, the longevity of back country skiing, or the challenge of sport skiing. Regardless of your personal style, you need to pick out a cross country ski that suits your needs. Look at your height, weight, strength and personal preference to get started.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Decide if you want to purchase waxable or waxless cross country skis. Beginners should consider non-wax skis because they are easier to care for than their counterparts. Waxable skis are faster and are typically used by more experienced skiers.
Step 2
Consider what kind of cross country skier you want to be: classical, race, sport, adventure, or back country skier. Classic racing skis are long and narrow while racing skate skis are a little wider, slightly shorter and rounded at the tip. You typically can't use racing skis for cross country skiing off the trail. Sport skis are wider and more stable and are generally shorter than racing skis, while adventure skis are wider and more durable and can be taken off the trail. Backcountry skis are usually the widest and most stable option and perfect for deep, untracked snow.
Step 3
Determine the width of the ski you need. Narrow skis are well-suited for packed trails and high speeds. Wider skis are a good choice for varied snow conditions and stability. Women's skis are usually lighter weight and designed to work with a low center of gravity.
Step 4
Look at a sizing chart to help determine the length of the cross country skis you need. For example, a skier 5 feet, 8 inches tall should wear a 200 cm long ski. Sizing may differ if you're an experienced skier or looking for specific features like speed. Your weight is also a factor. Lightweight skiers need a short model, mid-weight skiers need medium length skis, and heavy skiers need a longer length.
Step 5
Determine the flex you need in your ski. A stiffer model needs more weight and stiff flex to press it against the snow. Lighter skiers need a soft flex that requires less weight. Find a balance that allows for mobility and a smooth glide.
Step 6
Look at style options. The color and aesthetics of your ski are also important to personalize your cross country skiing experience.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Rent a pair of cross country skis you intend to buy and test them before purchase. Test the flex by squeezing the bases of the skis together with both hands. You should be able to squeeze them with both hands but not one. The ability to squeeze with one might mean they're too soft. If you can't squeeze them with both hands, they're too hard.
 
Rent a pair of cross country skis you intend to buy and test them before purchase.
 
Test the flex by squeezing the bases of the skis together with both hands. You should be able to squeeze them with both hands but not one. The ability to squeeze with one might mean they're too soft. If you can't squeeze them with both hands, they're too hard.
 
Use sizing charts, weight, and flex should only be used as guidance to find the right cross country skis. Individual strength, experience, and preference should also factor into your decision.

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