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What are the different kinds of XC skis?|
Cross-country skis are grouped into 3 categories: skate, classic and back country.
How do skate skis work?
Skate skis are used on a smooth groomed track 6 to 8 feet wide. The motion of skate-skiing is similar to rollerblading or ice skating. Push sideways with one ski while gliding forward on the other. Pole with both arms together, either with every push (V2) or with every other push (V1). All skating skis are waxable - but waxing skate skis is simple compared to waxing classic skis (see below). Skate skis are waxed by applying a layer of glide wax all the way from tip to tail.
How do classic skis work?
Classic or 'kick-and-glide' skiing means kicking straight back with one ski while gliding forward on the other ski and poling with the arm opposite the kicking ski. Most classic skis are designed for use on groomed trails consisting of two parallel tracks set a few inches apart that guide your skis. Classic skis can be either waxable or waxless. Waxable skis must be prepared by applying slippery glide wax on the tip and tail of the ski, and sticky kick wax on the 'kick zone' under your foot. When you're gliding, the ski's curvature or 'camber' keeps the kick zone up off the snow, so you can glide on the tip and tail. When you kick, your weight flattens the ski and the kick wax grips the snow. Waxless skis behave similarly but instead of kick wax, the kick zone has a 'fish scale' base that grips the snow when you kick.
What are back country skis?
Back country skis are designed for classic technique on untracked snow, where you make your own trail as you ski along. Back country skis are wider and heavier than normal classic skis, and they can handle more rugged conditions. Most back country skis are waxless. At Nordic Skater, we specialize in 'hybrid' skis that can be used on groomed trails as well as in the back country.
How do I choose the right skis?
Inexpensive skis (under $150) are usually matched to the skier's weight only. They may be too long or too short for you, if your body type doesn't match the manufacturer's expectations. Most of the more expensive skis are matched to the skier's height as well as weight. They give you maximum glide, good steering and control, and they flex properly for your weight. By 'flexing properly' we mean that when you put all your weight on one ski, the ski flattens out, distributing your weight over its entire length; when the ski is partially weighted or unweighted, the ski's midsection rises up allowing you to glide more efficiently on the tip and tail.
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