Cross Country Skiing in the Rockies with gear review

Created on Saturday, 29 January 2011 09:18
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In this video, we visit the South Star Recreation trails which set on the outskirt of Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada. We also talk about cross country skis and boots.

For those of you that are new to cross country skiing, the vast choices of equipment these days can be a bit daunting. Below, we’ll try to give you a bit of a primer to help you out.

Types of Skis

Classic Cross Country Skis: These are the skis that most people visualize when you talk about cross country skiing.  They come in either wax or wax less varieties and are the type of skis most people start with when they get into the sport of cross country skiing.  Classic skis are generally only used on groomed runs or pre-made trails. They vary in price greatly from cheap department store brands to expensive professional grade skis.  

Touring / Back Country Cross Country Skis: These are NOT to be confused with back country skis used by downhill skiers outside of ski hills, which are modified downhill skis. When it comes to “Back Country” in reference to cross country skis, we’re simply talking about a wider than normal ski with metal edges, that still acts like a cross country ski and still fits inside or a standard cross country ski trail run. The extra width on these skis let you “float” more when you’re in skiing in non-compacted snow outside of a maintained trail setting. The metal edges let you “cut” into the snow like downhill skis, which in turn you handle slightly steeper hills than classic skis. Basically, touring cross countries skis are meant for people who what to still be able to ski in a standard maintained trail but also want the ability to go off trial. They are also great for breaking trails that classic skis can later use.

Skating Country Cross Country Skis: Mostly used by experienced/professional skiers as a racing ski. They are narrower than classic skis and are built for speed. Skate skiing use a motion that look similar to the motion ice skater use to when getting up to speed, hence the name. These skate skis are meant to be used on the groomed runs, not the standard grooved trails that classic cross country skier use.

Wax vs. Waxless Skis

Waxing SkisWax Skis: Most classic cross country skis require regular waxing to provide grip on the snow. Waxes are colour coded by usage temperature. Using the wrong wax will either give you not enough grip or will cause snow to stick to the bottom of your skis.

Waxless SkisWaxless Skis: These skis have a fish scale in the kick zone of the ski to provide grip instead of using wax. They greatly reduce the amount on time spent performing maintenance on your skis but are slower than waxed skis. Glide waxes can be applied to these skis to help them slide more smoothly.

Cross Country Ski Boots:

Classic Cross Country Ski boots:
These are low cut boots (almost a shoe) which are the running shoes of the cross country skiing world. They are light, soft, comfortable and the most flexible of ski boots. Perfect for skiers that plan to stay on premade trails and groomed tracks.

Touring ski bootTouring/Back Country Boot: These are heavier, high cut boots meant to give you more support off trail and while packing a load. Some models even have plastic shell pieces to give even greater support. These boots are meant for skier wanting to go off the beaten path.

Skating boots: These are a light weight, stiff boot meant to provide good support while pushing-off in speed skating.

Cross Country Ski Poles

Poles come in a variety of designs and price levels. The important element here is sizing. Cross country ski poles should reach your armpit when held parallel to the ground by the user.

Video Notes:

Skis shown in the video: Rossignol BC 65 Positrack

Boots shown in the video: Rossignol BC X-5

Trails shown in the Video: South Star Nordic Trails can be found on the end of 38 Ave S in Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada:

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