Cross Country Ski FAQ
Many may have heard about cross country skiing and who have only a vague idea of what it is and how it can be used in their life. Others might have friends who have been trying to get them to ski. If you fall into either of those categories, then you might find that you have a few questions about cross country skiing that you will want to have answered before you make a purchase. Below, you will find some of the most common questions that people have when it comes to understanding and getting started with cross country skiing.
What Is Cross Country Skiing and Why Do People Do It?
Cross country skiing is a form of skiing that originated in Scandinavia, but that has spread to all parts of the world that receive snow today. In the beginning, cross country skiing was mostly used as a form of travel. It could make getting from Point A to Point B much easier when there was snow on the ground, and it tended to take less energy than snowshoeing. It was also a fast form of travel in the winter.
While most people today are not cross country skiing as a means to commute, they are getting out and enjoying all of the benefits that it can offer. Not only will you be able to get out into the beauty of nature when you are skiing, but you will also find that it can be a great form of exercise. Some hunters will also use cross country skis to help them move faster and quieter through the woods after it has snowed.
There are plenty of reasons to consider cross country skiing, and all you need to do now is make sure that you have the right skis and other gear.
What Is a Waxless Ski?
You will have noticed that many of the cross country ski options that are mentioned above are called waxless. This is something of a misnomer, as most of them will still require some wax on the front and the back. However, you must never place wax on the scales under the ski. The waxless skis use the directional scales beneath the foot area of the ski. This provides more grip when the skier kicks off. One of the other benefits of these types of skis is that they tend to be easier to use and maintain.
However, you will find that most agree that having skis that you wax will provide you with more overall efficiency. The options that you choose will all depend on personal preferences.
How Long Should the Poles Be?
Cross country skiing needs more than just the skis, of course. You will also need to make sure that you have a pair of quality ski poles. When you are choosing ski poles, you will want to find those that are long enough that their handle will be right at or slightly below your armpit when you are standing up straight.
If you are accustomed to alpine skiing where the skis are shorter, you do not want to make the mistake of getting short poles. Cross country skiing is an entirely different way of skiing, and you need to have those longer poles to help you push along more efficiently.
Tips for Choosing the Right Cross Country Skis
There are many different types of cross country ski options available, but you want to make sure that you can get the right ones for your specific needs. One of the most important and first things that you will have to consider when you are making your choice is the size you will need.
Most of the time, bodyweight will be the most important factor when it comes to choosing your ski length. The heavier you are, the longer the skis will need to be to perform optimally. If you are at a weight where you have more options available, you will find that getting shorter skis tends to be a good option for those who are just beginning. They are slower, but they tend to be easier to handle, and they can do very well in rugged terrain. Those who are more experienced and who want to be able to move faster across the trails and over ungroomed terrain may want to consider a longer pair of skis.
You will also want to consider whether you want to buy cross country skis that already have a binding attached, or if you want to have the binding added later. If you have a pair of bindings from an old set of skis, you might want to have a professional put those old bindings on your new skis. On the other hand, those who are brand new to cross country skiing might instead want to buy a pair of skis that already have some high-quality bindings attached.
The most common types of bindings are NNN or New Nordic Norm. There are also the Salomon Nordic Systems, and the Salomon Nordic Systems Pilot, which is an adaptation of the first SNS. When it comes to the bindings, it is essential to make sure that you are getting a ski boot that will work with that particular type of binding. Always double-check, so you do not have to end up returning the boots for a different pair.
We discussed waxed and waxless skis above, and this is another decision that you will have to make. Most of the options above are waxless. Those who are just learning might like the reduced maintenance that these types of skis will be able to offer them. Those who are willing to put in a little extra work will find that waxing skis isn’t too much extra work, and it can help them to glide better than the waxless skis.
Of course, one of the other areas that you will want to consider when you are choosing your cross country skis will be the aesthetics. You will naturally want to select a type of ski that you find appealing from a stylistic point of view. This typically breaks down to the color of the ski. While the color is certainly not the most critical factor, it is always nice to have a color that you enjoy.
Tips for New Cross Country Skiers
Since many who are reading this and looking for their first pair of cross country skis will be brand new to the hobby, we thought it would be a good idea to provide a few tips that can help new skiers, as well as tips on other items you will want to take with you.
Although your skis are one of the essential items to buy and one that will require a lot of thought if you want to have a great time while cross country skiing, you will need to have more than just the skis. Make sure that you have the right ski boots that will keep you warm, great ski poles, and warm clothing including gloves.
While you might not always need to have goggles for cross country skiing, you will find that they can be beneficial if it starts to snow hard, or if there is glare from the sun. Even if you aren’t always using them, you should always have them available. If you have skis that will need waxing, you will also want to make sure that you have plenty of wax available.
One of the first things you will want to keep in mind, and something that you will not always hear when learning about cross country skiing is the importance of layering your clothing. When you are cross country skiing, you are going to be getting a great workout, and that means you are going to get warm. You do not want to overheat, so you will want to make sure that you are dressing in layers. It is also a good idea to choose moisture-wicking clothing for the clothes that are close to your body, such as t-shirts, underwear, and socks. You do not want to wear cotton close to your body.
Fleece tops and a weatherproof jacket and pants are a good option for the outer layers. This will help to ensure that you can put on and take off clothing to control how warm you are.
You should also make sure that you take a pack along with you for your trip. You will want to have extra clothing in case you get wet, a snow shovel, snacks, water, and a small survival kit just in case you are injured or have to spend more time out on the trails than you expected.
Those who are just taking their first foray into cross country skiing will want to make sure that they start slow. Practice in the backyard. Take a short trail for your first few times out. Get accustomed to how the skis feel and get comfortable with them. Soon, you will be taking longer trips and genuinely enjoying the skis that you bought.
Care for Your Cross Country Skis
Once you have a great pair of skis that you love, and you have been out a few times to break them in, you must take proper care of them. Whether they are waxless or waxed skis, you need to make sure that you are adhering to essential maintenance for them. Make sure that you keep the skis inside in a safe location where they will not get damaged when they are not in use. Simply putting them in the garage is not always a good idea, as they could fall over, something could fall onto them and damage the bindings, and a host of other issues could happen. Never store the skis, or any of your ski gear, while it is wet.
When Do You Need New Cross Country Skis?
Although your cross country skis can last for many seasons without issue, as long as you take proper care of them and are careful when you are skiing, there will come a time when you need to replace them. As they get older and more worn, they could start to crack or break. It is far better to replace them well before they get to this point. After all, you wouldn’t want to be several miles down a trail only to discover that your ski has broken.
Get Tour New Skis Today
If you are going to be buying some cross country skis for yourself or as a gift, you should now have a better understanding of what they are and how to make sure you are getting the right ones for your needs. Take your time to look at the options on this list. There are excellent choices for those who are new and those who have been skiing cross country for a while. Choose your skis, so you can start enjoying the winter as soon as the snow begins to fall.