How to Pick Out Cross Country Skis

How to Pick Out Cross Country Skis
Cross country skiing is an ideal way to experience the outdoors during the winter, and the equipment is less expensive than regular skiing. The things you need to take into consideration when picking out cross country skis include ski length and width, flex, boot bindings and boots. Once you are ready to invest in your own skis, it is best to start your equipment search at a local shop. Get a feel for what brands, heights and styles of skis you like. If you feel they are too expensive, then search on the Internet for options.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Decide if you want backcountry, racing, sport or adventure skis. This all depends on the reason you want them.
Step 2
Pick a ski length. Shorter skis are easier to control and turn, while a longer cross country ski will be faster and ride smoother. In order to find the right ski height for you, get measured at a ski shop or use an online shop's formula for figuring out what length you need (see Resources). On average, the lighter the weight, the shorter the model.
Step 3
Decide what ski flex you want. Ski flex means how difficult it is to flatten out the whole ski on the snow, and is either stiff (requires a lot of weight to flatten out) or soft (does not require much weight). It determines how easily you can move over the snow. Deciding which you want depends on your weight and what you want to use the skis for. For example, racing skis need stiff flex to go very fast.
Step 4
Decide on the width of your cross country skis. They are measured across the narrowest points on the skis. If you just want to use skis for exploration or general touring, the skis should be pretty narrow because you will be on snow tracks that are already packed down, producing less drag. If you are going outside of established trails, you want wider skis for more surface area to keep you above fresh snow.
Step 5
Pick out your ski boots. The key to buying boots is comfort. They need be solid, sturdy and comfortable, and should always match up with your bindings. In-track ski boots are ideal for packed snow on trails, and should be lightweight. For going off trails and paths, look for boots that have more ankle support but are still lightweight. Lace covers are an added bonus to keep snow out of your boots when you are dredging through fresh snowfall or deep drifts.
Also determine the binding you want on your ski boots. If you are skiing on flat terrain or well-packed snow, use NNN or SNS binding, since they are narrow and lightweight.

Article Written By Lauren Wise

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.

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