Dynamic, fluid movement that takes you over rolling hills, frozen lakes, and frosty trails, cross country skiing is your ticket to cruise through snowy landscapes. Find out about different styles of skiing and how to choose the right size, shape, and type of cross-country ski.
This style of skiing is practiced on groomed or track-set terrain, often on or around local ski hills. The skis are fairly narrow, have no metal edges, and are available with waxable or waxless bases.
Designed for people who do most of their skiing on ungroomed trails and terrain, these cross-country skis range from wide Classic models to beefy mountaineering skis with full metal edges.
Camber refers to the upward arching of a ski in the middle, more specifically its resistance to flattening when weighted. Ski stiffness and the amount of camber varies among ski manufacturers. Ski staff usually consult the manufacturer's suggestions when matching ski length with skier weight.
Torsional or lateral stiffness is the ski's ability to resist twisting. In untracked snow, a torsionally stiff ski will not be deflected by terrain irregularities. However, many people prefer a slightly softer tip that will flow around irregularities on Nordic tracks and is less likely to jump out of a set track.
Sidecut indicates the shape or profile of the ski. The amount of sidecut affects the way a ski tracks (travels in a straight line) and turns. Skis with limited sidecut and a straighter profile (Classic skis) track or glide forward easily. A ski with lots of sidecut will turn more easily but not track as smoothly. Skating skis usually have minimal sidecut: the tips and tails are only slightly wider than the waist. This increases stability in the glide phase.
Dual sidecut describes the shape of high-performance skis that have a wider shovel, waist, and tail. The advantage is more power in the push phase and the ability to easily return to centre during the glide phase.
Waxable skis are the choice for racers or for high-performance training. Waxing Nordic skis is part art, part science. It takes a bit of patience and some practice, but a well-waxed ski will be a joy to ride, and will be smoother and faster than any waxless ski, especially in consistent temperatures, above or below freezing. Waxing in warmer, coastal climates can be a bit of a challenge.
Waxless skis are virtually maintenance free. They have a textured pattern on the base that grips the snow when going uphill yet allows the ski to glide when going downhill. They are suited to casual skiers or people who just want a pair of skis to keep at the cabin. Some newer patterns are efficient enough to use for all-conditions training skis.