Nordic Ski Colorado - The official cross-country ski guide
Article: Equipment Selection Guide
By Nathan Schultz / Photos courtesy of Boulder Nordic Sport

Fischer skis at Boulder Nordic Sport
Fischer skate and classic skis ready for bindings
Selecting the right cross-country ski equipment is vital to enjoying the sport. Whether you are gunning for a top spot in a race or wanting an afternoon out on local trails, your equipment is going to be what makes you comfortable, stable and fast on snow. The better your gear fits you and your goals on snow, the more fun you will have skiing and the easier it will be to ski.

Cross-country skis are different shapes and sizes depending on their intended use. Skis used on groomed trails are narrower and lighter while touring and backcountry skis are wider and may have metal edges and side-cut profiles for turning.

Ski Selection
Cross-country skis are built individually, giving each ski a unique flex and character. Because of this, it is important to find not only the right brand and model to fit your skiing, but also a ski that is fit specifically to your weight, skiing style and the prevailing conditions where you ski.

We get a constant stream of frustrated skiers in our shops who have “hand-me-down” skis or found a “great deal” on skis that do not fit them. They usually ask us to wax their skis to make them faster, but the real problem is that the skis are too soft, too stiff, or just are simply not high-quality skis. Once they are put on a good pair of skis that fits them well, they are amazed at how much easier and fun skiing becomes.

Nordic skier using Fischer gear
Fischer skate boots and skis
So the first step is to find a knowledgeable supplier that knows enough about cross-country skis to be able to provide you with quality and fit. The person who is helping you should be able to help you find a ski that has characteristics that match what you are looking for (universal, hard/soft track, cold/warm, dry/wet, etc.) and that also fits you based on your weight and skiing style.

Every brand makes good skis, so choosing a brand is not necessarily the biggest concern. Each brand uses different materials, shapes and construction methods to produce its skis, giving each unique characteristics. While there is wide variation available among each brand’s individual skis, there is a general “feel” of each ski model with respect to handling, stability and speed. We ski every brand extensively to determine the characteristic feel of each brand and help guide our customers toward the right choice.

Ski brand models vary based on the base material and core construction. As you move up each brand’s line, skis tend to have better bases, are lighter, more supple and energetic. A high-quality base increases speed and the ability to absorb wax over the lower-end base material. In more expensive skis, the core construction determines how the ski behaves on snow. With more expensive materials, more engineering and different shapes, high-end skis will feel livelier on the snow and give the skier more energy and feedback.

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