How to Choose Cross Country Ski Touring Gear

How to Choose Cross Country Ski Touring Gear
Cross country touring enthusiasts form a niche market between those who mainly do skiing at Nordic resorts in precut tracks and those who pursue steep, backcountry lines in deep powder. Cross country touring equipment is designed for light backcountry exploration, offering the user the ability to ski up or down on hiking trails in forests, and ski down moderate lines in more wide open bowls. Choosing the right equipment is a process of narrowing down the equipment for the purpose it will be used most frequently.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Purchase well-fitting boots. Boots will dictate almost every other part of the selection process, including bindings and what kind of skis you use. Bigger, beefier boots can handle heavier, wider skis, whereas lightweight boots that barely cover the ankle are more appropriate for track skiing. A good compromise is a boot that has a plastic heel cup to provide more lateral stiffness.
Step 2
Consider whether uphill or downhill performance is more important. If uphill performance is a greater concern, look at skis with partial metal edges. For downhill, look for a ski that has full metal edges.
Step 3
Investigate wider skis for exploring backcoutry terrain, or narrower skis for skiing in groomed areas. Ski width and length will also be partially determined by your height and weight. Choose longer, wider skis if you are on the heavier side because they float better over snow. Choose shorter, narrower skis if you are lighter and want better maneuverability.
Step 4
Hold ski poles up against your body, and choose either one that reaches from the ground up to your armpit or, better yet, an adjustable-length pole for touring in the backcountry. For in-track skiing, choose a longer pole that will be easier to use when striding; ideally, these poles should be long enough to come up to the bottom of your nose.
Step 5
Buy a binding that works with your boot. Boots can come as either New Nordic Norm, Classic (75mm) Norm, or Salomon Nordic Norm. The binding must be matched to the type of boot and its binding interface.

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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