Learning how to choose the right cross country skis for your next cross country skiing adventure is an important part of making sure that your skiing vacation is both enjoyable and safe. If you do not purchase the right kind of cross country skis that have the proper fit, length, and function for the type of cross country skiing that you will be doing, you will risk needless injury. Learn from experts how to choose the right cross country skis for your needs and be on your way towards planning a great skiing adventure.
There are different types of cross country skiing, which may be obvious to an advanced skiing enthusiast but not so obvious if you are just a beginner. The main types of cross country skiing are touring, skating, and backcountry (rougher terrain for advanced skiers). Touring cross country skiing requires a longer, lighter ski that will help you to steer down a pre-determined track. Skating and steeper backcountry terrain or rougher terrain will require a shorter metal-edged cross country ski with better maneuverability and durability.
Depending on how much you weigh and how aggressively you plan to ski will determine the degree of what is called flex, or flexibility, you will want to seek out in your cross country skis. If you are heavier or plan to ski more aggressively or in rougher terrain, you will want to have more of a stiff flex to your skis than if you are lighter or are planning to ski cross country on pre-prepared terrain.
Another choice you will need to make once you have figured out what type of cross country skiing you will be doing and the degree of flex you need is to decide whether to choose a waxed or waxless ski set. Waxed skis offer greater speed but require more maintenance. Waxless skis offer reliable performance at lower speeds but much less maintenance to perform at peak. Waxless skis have a precut pattern on the outside bottom of the ski to assist with grip, and you can also use wax on the tip and tail if you desire.
Although you have determined in part what length of ski you need in step one, you will still need to decide what length is appropriate for you by determining your height and choosing a ski length accordingly. For instance, in the touring class of cross country skiing you can choose from compact (the shortest length ski) and classic touring skis. For compact skis you can choose from small, medium, large, and extra large, and for classic, you multiply your height in inches by 2.6 and add 15 to get the proper length. For skating skis you multiply your height in inches by 2.6 and add 5. For backcountry skis you add between 5 and 15 to your height in inches.