Want twice the cardiovascular and muscular fitness as your friends? Start cross-country skiing. The sport will teach you how to breathe for optimum oxygen absorption, gentle on your joints, and is a great full body work out. Before you get started, you need the right equipment, this includes finding the best cross country skis. To find the best, you need to decide what type of cross country skiing you plan to be doing.
Best Cross Country Skis
Finding the best cross country skis are all about fitting them to your height, weight, and intended purposes. While looking through the best skis, don’t forget to make sure they work with your other equipment such as your ski boots.
Best Women’s Cross Country Skis
These are the best women’s cross country skis for those looking to tackle the well-groomed trails. The skis are super lightweight but still rigid enough to tackle fresh and heavy snow. Those who are moderate to intermediate in skill will enjoy the waxless gliding of these skis. They do not have metal edges so don’t go too far off the path.
The user’s weight can range from 120 to 175 and there will be a size to accommodate them. You will also get a one year warranty.
Best Cross Country Skis for Beginners
The Whitewoods package comes with skis, boots, bindings, and poles. This makes it the best cross country skis for beginners by having everything you need to get started.
The skis come in sizes to accommodate skiers up to 180 pounds. Perfect for beginners, the bottom of the skis are waxless, so they are low maintenance. They have a laminate wood core but are also lightweight cap construction. The bindings will come pre-installed.
The Rossignol Evo skis are both beginner and experienced skier friendly. They are perfect for those who want to traverse the well-groomed trails and spend very little time venturing beyond. They have a sturdy wood core and a soft tip for smooth gliding. To give you more stability, the widest part of the ski has been moved further back.
This allows you to transfer your weight with more confidence. The waxless base means little work for you to maintain the glide and speed the ski provides. Bindings will come pre-installed. You will also have a one year warranty.
For those looking to head into the backcountry, the Madshus Glittertind is the ski of choice. A full-length metal edge will give you stability in all snow conditions when you travel where there are no trails. The wax-free bottom will provide low maintenance grip and stability. The wide tip of the ski breaks your trail easily.
These skate skis are designed for speed being made of fiberglass and carbon. Entry level racers aspiring to the World Cup Nordic level will excel with these. They are shorter in length, have moderate side cuts, and are very lightweight. The carbon will help you accelerate quickly.
These skis require you to wax the bottom. They have a P-Tex 2000 Electra Wintered Racing Base for maximum wax retention. These skis do not come with any accessories such as bindings. They also come in limited sizing from 180 to 195 cm.
Types of Cross Country Skis
There are many different styles of cross-country skiing from high speed racing to backcountry trekking. You need to decide which one you plan to do before you start shopping for skis.
Classic and Compact
These are the most recognized and the traditional style of cross-country skis. They are best used on well-maintained trails of hard packed snow.
The classic touring skis tend to be longer than the classic style. They will be sized by your height.
Just as the name implies, compact cross country skis tend to be shorter and wider than the classic style. If you are going through deeper snow and tighter places these will give you better maneuverability and control. These skis are sized by weight. You will need to check each brand for their particular sizing guide before you purchase.
This style of skiing looks more like ice skating or inline skating, hence the name. You will be on well-groomed trails of hard packed snow. The skating style most often is racing, so speed is the predominant factor with these skis. They tend to be shorter and stiffer in flex. They will also be the skis most likely to need waxing.
These are the skis to use if you will be going deep in the woods where no grooming of the trails is done. The skis you’ll need are going to be tougher yet smaller than classic cross-country skis. You will often see them with metal edges to protect them from the wilderness. Use your height to find the perfect size.
Flex of Cross Country Skis
Some brands offer varying degrees of flex in their skis while others do not. As a general guide, the more you weigh and the more aggressive you are in style, the stiffer you want your skis to be.
Wax and Waxless
Skis that are waxable can be used in a variety of weather and snow conditions. You’ll want to use a gripping wax in the middle of the ski. A glide wax is best used on the tip and tail of the ski.
Waxless skis are not as fast but are more popular as they require less upkeep. They have a scale pattern along the bottom for grip. You can still apply wax to the waxless skis if you choose.
Length and Sizing
The length of the skis you should get depends wholly on what type of skiing you want to do. It’s best to use a chart provided by the ski brand that will use your weight and activity for the ideal ski length.
Keep your feet warm and dry in the backcountry on the best cross country skis with the best ski socks.