How to Measure Touring Cross Country Skis

How to Measure Touring Cross Country Skis
It used to be, 15 to 20 years ago, that if you were planning on getting some cross-country touring skis, you simply stood next to the skis, held your arm above your head, and if they ski tops hit your wrist, they were the right size. Today, cross-country touring skis are measured based on not just size but weight, ability and the type of terrain you'll be skiing on.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Figure out the length of skis you need. The old floor-to-wrist technique is no longer valid with new technology. Manufacturers now use weight as the primary determining factor for how long the skis should be--the more you weigh, the more surface area you need to distribute your weight and the longer the skis.
Step 2
Factor in the width. Touring skis are generally fairly thin across the ski's waist--the middle section where your foot will go. The thinner the skis, the easier it will be for you to glide down the trail. But thin skis also offer less surface support, which is why choosing the proper length based on weight is so important.
Step 3
Determine usage and terrain. How you use the skis will have an impact on the length and width. If you are strictly going to use them for touring and never go off-trail, thin skis adjusted in length according to your weight are fine. But, if you have any desire to go downhill or where there is powder snow, a thicker, shorter touring ski is advisable.
Step 4
Measure your cut angle. All skis have some cut to them--touring skis generally have very little. Cut angle is used to carve turns. Once again, how great that angle is depends on your usage. If you plan on going for straight touring, your skis will have very little cut angle from tip to tail.
Step 5
Decide ski type. This may have the greatest effect on the measurement of your skis. Traditional cross-country touring skis are generally longer than the new types of engineered compact skis, yet both do the task with a different approach. Engineered compact skis are shorter and thus easier to use if you are a beginner or someone who's just looking to make a change from traditional longer skis.

Tips & Warnings

 
Choosing a camber, or bend, in the skis, along with the appropriate stiffness and wax versus non-wax surface are other important considerations beyond length.
 
Choosing a camber, or bend, in the skis, along with the appropriate stiffness and wax versus non-wax surface are other important considerations beyond length.

Article Written By Patrick Cameron

Patrick Cameron is a freelance writer with 10 years of diverse experience in consumer goods branding, promotions and retail communications. He works out of his home in Denver, Colo. He received his Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from the University of Minnesota.

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