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Cross Country Skis buying guide

Cross country skiing allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature slowly and peacefully. Sliding on the gentle slopes will enable you to catch a glimpse of different wonders of mother nature. All you need is to select the best cross country skis.

While choosing the best product, you have to deem several elements. You can only opt for a particular model when you are familiar with the aspects of the skis. For this, you require all the details on these elements.

Gathering information on these characteristics can become a tiresome task. On the contrary, a well-detailed buying guide provides all the information in an organized manner.

You can swiftly pin down the best product, and you get answers to various common questions and queries.

So without any further ado, let us start with this extensive guide.

What are Cross Country Skis, and why should you opt for them?

The high mountains covered with a thick layer of powdery snow look fascinating. To glide down the high slopes and feel the gush of air hitting against your body gives another level of happiness.

In the old times, skiing was done to transport goods back and forth through the mountains. Inspired from that transportation mode, skiing came into existence, which proved to be more fun and capable of satisfying your adrenaline rush.

Among the outdoor sports, skiing is the most opted winter activity famous for its speed and thrill.

To get the same amount of fun, skis are required. Cross Country skis are essential skiing equipment that helps you enjoy the activity. These are long and slender footboards that are attached to your ski shoes.

With these under your feet, you can effortlessly push yourself forward with the help of two sticks in hand.

In skiing, you perform a walking motion in which these help you move forward faster and glide down the snowy slopes. If you want an overall workout while having fun, skiing is an excellent activity to opt for.

Backcountry vs. Classic cross country skis

Backcountry and classic cross country skiing equipment are almost the same. However, the difference lies in how these are used and the different terrains they are suitable for.

Keeping this in mind, we have bifurcated the two types of this equipment so that you can understand better.

  1. Backcountry skis

The backcountry skis can be used in rugged terrains, and these skis enable you to travel off-trail also. These skis are incredibly lightweight and have metallic edges that aid in moving on the rough terrain.

These are incredibly safe and stay stable in all snowy conditions, which is a significant advantage of this skiing equipment. If you plan to go skiing when the snow is in its powdery texture, you should opt for the backcountry skis to enjoy even more.

  1. Cross Country Skis

When skiing on a pre-decided trail that is dedicated only for skiing activities, these skis are the best options. These allow you to mimic your usual walking style because you have to push yourself forward to move.

These have a kick zone that helps enhance the traction between your feet and the snow to enable you to walk or move. This type of skiing can be learned effortlessly, and you will get more joy doing it.

Things to deem about while selecting appropriate Cross Country Skis

You might find it challenging to search for a suitable ski that might cater to your skiing needs.

Since there are many variants available for a single type, opting for the best one often becomes a challenge. This random search is both time consuming and money-draining, and to help you out in the best way, we are here!

We have brought you this buying guide to find all the relevant details of these helpful skis. You don't need to visit a store or browse the web pages. All you need to do is relax and refer to this buying guide.

So, let's proceed further and dig out the critical aspects that you should look for while searching for a ski perfect for you.

Right Size

Skis differ in size based on your level of expertise and the conditions you will be skiing in. The choice of size is also affected by the speed and stability preference.

Since every individual has their own choice, cross country skis feature different sizes to suit everyone's needs. You will find skis that are long or short in length. The width also depends on your skiing requirements, and hence, you will find either narrow or wide skis.

There is something for everyone, and you will effortlessly find one for yourself too. You only need to determine your level of experience, the speed you want to travel, and the terrain you are opting for. After having set all these parameters, opt for the one that can satisfy all your requirements.


The material of the skis affects your type of skiing and speed a lot. To opt for the best one, you first need to consider the level of experience you have in skiing. Next, you need to choose the trail you will be skiing on and then start your search.

The cross country skis are made of either wood or stoneground. Both of these materials are durable and long-lasting. The stoneground skis can be repaired anytime, as they only have to be ground after every use so that the smoothness returns.

However, the wooden skis are not as easy to repair as the stoneground skis and are less durable than them. The significant advantage of using a wooden ski is that it is eco-friendly because it is made of natural material.

Besides, if you opt for skiing on rough trails, you need to opt for a metal edge. Metal being a strong and incredibly durable material, cuts through snow effortlessly, and helps you move faster. These skis with the metal edges can sustain the strong hits by any unseen rock or tree.

Both the materials are highly durable and long-lasting, but the choice of material depends entirely on you.

If you want a ski that can easily be used on rough terrain without much damage, you can opt for a stoneground ski with a metal edge. Else, if you want to go skiing on a groomed trail, then you can always rely on the wooden skis.

Length and Width

The length and the width of your skis play a crucial role in your sport. These two factors can affect your overall performance and make it happening or ruin it completely.

To make the most out of your trip and enjoy it to the fullest, picking up the ski with the suitable length and width is extremely vital. Listed below are the two categories of these parameters.

Depending on the type of skiing you want to do and the level of experience you have, you can opt for any of these two.

  1. Short and Wide

If you will be skiing on an unplanned trail where you are uncertain about the obstacles, opting for a short ski is smarter. This short length offers excellent maneuverability, and you can easily divert from the path in case you see an obstacle in front of you.

It is effortless to steer and avoid any accidents. On the other hand, this ski's wide width maintains its stability and is a better choice if you are a beginner. It also helps balance your body weight and offers you the utmost joy and thrill.

  1. Long and narrow

Longer skis are preferred in planned skiing tracks where you know the position of the obstacles beforehand. The long length offers high speed and thrill. The pace is enhanced even more by the narrow width of the skis.

The streamlined shape helps cut through snow faster and improve the speed. If you are a heavyweight, long skis are preferable because these can easily balance your body weight. Expert skiers mostly opt for the long and narrow skis,


It is the weight of any product that can hinder your activity. Be it a shoe, a helmet, or outdoor activity equipment like ski, the weight of all should be considered and well-opted.

To enable you to move swiftly in the snow without hindrance, cross country skis are made from lightweight materials. These are highly durable and don't have much weight. This lightweight feature allows you to move freely without dragging any unnecessary burden.

This fantastic feature also offers high stability and maneuverability. It becomes quite effortless for you to change directions and glide down the slope.

These skis' functioning enhances because the weight doesn't exert any drag and easily adapts to the terrain and prevailing conditions.


Every ski looks similar to an ordinary eye, but a well-experienced eye will notice the difference that lies hidden beneath the attractive coating.

Cross country skis are quite different from the other skis, and there are a lot of factors that make it so unique. Let's have a closer look at each of them.

The first difference that you will notice is how your foot gets attached to the ski's binding. Since you have to move with the bindings on to push yourself forward, in the attachment, your heel stays free so that you can lift it to make your move.

These skis are highly versatile and can be used for all types of terrain, either uphill, downhill, or entirely flat. With these skis, you can go skiing at any place without thinking twice.

Besides, you get the opportunity to apply different skiing techniques and get an intense workout done out of it.

Moreover, you should not get confused that these skis can also be used for other skiing types. These skis are suitable only for cross country skiing and not any different kind.


The color of your ski is based entirely on your preference. You can opt for colors that match the color of your other skiing equipment or your outfit. If you are moving in groups, you can color coordinate to feel a sense of belonging.

There is a wide range of skis available in different shades from which you can choose. Vibrant colors are preferable for kids, while subtle colors would be excellent for grown-ups. Name the color, and you get a ski of that shade. These shades are abundant, and you will find no shortage.


The primary purpose of a ski is to offer you a smooth ride on the shining snow. You should be able to move effortlessly and glide swiftly. If a ski is not well-designed, you cannot have an enjoyable skiing experience.

The length and width, along with the ski material, contribute to the smoothness in your ride. As stated earlier, you have seen how your ski's different length and width offer different speeds and stability.

The material and its coating also play a vital role. Wood and stone grind are durable and enhance your performance, but your ski wax is exceptionally crucial when these skis are concerned.

You will find two types of skis: Waxable and waxless skis. These two variants of the cross country skis affect its smoothness and hence should be focussed on. Your choice depends on the temperature status and the type of terrain you will be skiing on.

Therefore, before making your choice, focus on these affecting aspects, and search for the suitable variants.


The flex is one of your ski's vital features that determine the angle at which it turns and how it responds to your instructions.

If you are skiing on soft snow with a powdery texture, opting for a soft flex is desirable. These have a good grip on the snow and provide controlled speed and excellent maneuverability.

A stiffer flex, on the other hand, is suitable to be used on hard snow. These don't provide a better grip on the snow and hence let you move faster. The choice entirely depends on your preference for speed, maneuverability, level of experience, and a lot more.

To make things easier for you, follow this simple trick that you should opt for a soft flex if you're a beginner. If you are an expert and professional skier, opting for any of these will not create much difference in your performance.


If you see a ski closely, you will find that its bottom part is slightly arched. This arched design is known as the camber of the ski.

Cross country skis have double cambers, which means that each ski has a camber. The presence of a camber balances your body weight and provides stability while descending.

The significant feature is that the traction between the ski and the snow is reduced, helping you move faster. Double camber is helpful in cross country skiing because you move ahead by walking.

When you put your entire body weight on one ski, it provides the required grip by getting flattened while the other ski aids in pushing you forward. This double feature offers excellent balance, faster speed, and required stability.

Side Cut

As you saw earlier, the width of the ski plays a significant role in steering and maneuverability. To be more precise, if your ski is wide at the tip and its tail except for the belly portion, this design is called the side cut.

A side cut design is similar to the hourglass that you have at your home. The skis with a side cut excel in groomed trails with recent snowfall. Steering through the powdery snow with this type of ski design is extremely effortless.

Side Cut will enable you to stay stable and move faster. This design is most preferred because of the easy turning and higher enjoyment.


A product must be durable no matter what use it's being purchased. Similarly, these skis' durability matters, especially when you cross country skiing as you know that ice or snow becomes abrasive and damaging when it gets hard. Moving on such abrasive terrain can damage your skis a lot.

Hence, the best cross country skis are made from strong and durable materials like stoneground, metal, and wood. These can be repaired quite easily and last for years. Investing in these skis ensures that you get the best out of them, and your investment pays off.

By spending a few pennies, you can buy yourself a service that will last for many years and give you joy in every condition. These skis have been verified and tested for durability. This verification means that you get the suitable ski that you look for.

You don't have to worry about unnecessary investments in the repair because these won't ask for one quickly, and you can also do it yourself.

Ski Bindings

There are different variants of ski bindings available in the market. Each of them is compatible with a specific variant of ski boots. If you wear your favorite ski binding with a non-compatible ski boot, you will face immense trouble while skiing.

Hence, to find the suitable binding and perfect match of boots, refer to the list below wherein the different bindings are briefly explained.

  1. New Nordic Norm (NNN)

To match the sole of your NNN compatible boots, these ski bindings have two ridges on the ski. These ridges are slightly raised, which aids in boot accommodation.

The boots that are suitable for this type of binding have a small rod in the toe region. This rod is made of a small piece of metal that attaches to the binding and helps you ski.

  1. Salomon Nordic System (SNS)

Unlike the NNN bindings, these have a single ridge that is wide enough to match the boot's sole. If you use the NNN compatible boots with these bindings, you will indeed repent it later.

  1. SNS Pilot Bindings

These have two metal rods in the SNS compatible boots to attach to the binding. This type of binding benefit is that you get more stability, suitable flex, and enhanced motion.

Waxable and Waxless base

A waxable or a waxless ski is crucial to enhance your riding experience. To know more, look at the significance of these two variants of a cross country skis base.

  1. Waxable skis

Skiing experts or racers mostly prefer waxable skis for enhancing their performance. Wax is applied to the base of the ski, which offers traction and better snow grip. This wax is called the grip wax and is used only to the third middle part of your ski.

The remaining portion has glide wax on it, which helps you glide down the slope as soon as you remove the weight from the grip wax.

Since wax is not an easy task, you need to practice before skiing on the main site. This will require some time and patience, but once you are familiar with the procedure, your performance will enhance automatically.

  1. Waxless ski

These types of skis don't use wax. Instead, using textured material on that region enables the ski to grip the snow when you put your weight on that area. Despite being waxless, these skis can glide swiftly when you remove the weight.

This removable base material's texture is either in the fish's scales or directional fibers' pattern. This patchy skin is highly reliable and offers an excellent grip.

The most important thing you need to remember is that the difference between these skis variants lies only in the grip wax's presence or absence. However, both of them have glide wax on the designated area because gliding without them is impossible.


  1. Which is the best cross country skis pole material?

Aluminum is the best option that is quite affordable and highly durable. They are well-known for excellent weight and are a bit bulkier than composite poles. It ensures that the material will last for a long time. All these poles are mainly used for metal-edge as well as cross-country touring.

  1. What do you mean by waxless ski?

Waxless skis are those skis that have a bottom with a textured section. These skis offer high grip and traction and are perfect for all trails. The best part is that they require the least maintenance owing to which most of the skiers prefer this more than others.

  1. Is a color an important feature of cross country skis?

The cross country skis come in many colors. So, the color of cross country skis is completely on you and depends only on your personal preference. You can opt for whatever color you want. It doesn't hamper your ski performance.

  1. Are cross country skis versatile?

Cross country skis are not at all versatile. They are typically designed to help the skiers to cover a groomed trail. As it is slow-paced, anyone can use it comfortably. The only point is with them, you can use a walking motion to move ahead and enjoy skiing in its best way.

Final Verdict

With all the information under your possession, what are you waiting for? Go through the critical pointers mentioned in this guide, and funnel down the best product. Having an elite product will allow you to enjoy the sport smoothly and safely. / - © Copyright 2020