If you're considering purchasing your own skis, it typically indicates that you should be exploring skis in the mid to upper quality range. But what does that mean exactly? Ski manufacturers typically produce two to three fundamental categories of skis: backcountry, recreation/touring, and racing. Each of these categories has varying levels of quality. In general, lower quality or more affordable skis tend to be heavier and are crafted from materials of lower quality. This is the level of equipment that can be rented from Cross Country Ski Headquarters for the season. It's important to note that if an athlete is still growing, new to the sport, or tends to be tough on equipment, it might not be the right time to consider an upgrade to purchased equipment just yet.
When it comes to fitting a pair of skate skis, it's not as straightforward as fitting classic skis. It's absolutely crucial to make your skate ski purchase from a reputable and knowledgeable ski shop, one that knows how to, at the very least, interpret the flex label on the ski.
When you engage with the sales associate at the store, be sure to specify your preference, whether it's a universal flex, warm/soft track, or cold/hard track ski. In most cases, a universal flex ski will suit the needs of about 90% of our racing conditions here in Northern Michigan. Warm skis are the go-to choice for temperatures at or above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, while cold skis are designed for temperatures around 10 degrees and below.
For a universal ski, it's typically recommended that the ski's flex corresponds to approximately 120% of the skier's weight. On the other hand, hard track skis can be as rigid as 130% of the skier's body weight, while soft track skis typically fall within the range of 105 to 110% of body weight. These flex guidelines are applicable not only to Fischer skis but also to various other ski brands.
Classic skis are often considered to be a tad more straightforward to fit compared to their skate counterparts. They provide us with clear markers that can help gauge whether they're a good match for you. Similar to skate skis, we typically have three primary types of classic skis: universal, hardwax-only, and klister skis. For the majority of our athletes, the trusty universal ski tends to cover a broad spectrum of conditions quite effectively. This versatile ski can adapt to various situations, accommodating both kick wax and klister wax applications. The key distinguishing factor among these classic skis lies in the height of their wax pocket and their overall stiffness. Now, when it comes to klister skis, they require a higher pocket to handle a thicker layer of klister. If the pocket sits too low, the ski tends to feel sluggish and slow. On the flip side, hardwax kick wax applications tend to be thinner. Here, we live by the mantra, "thin to win." This essentially means that a hardwax-only ski can sport a lower kick pocket without compromising speed. A universal ski strikes a happy medium, featuring a pocket that's high enough for klister yet low enough for a strong kick with hard wax.
When you embark on the journey of acquiring classic skis, it's crucial to ensure that the ski shop takes the time to flex the skis for you and marks them according to your weight. If the salesperson resorts to simply squeezing the skis by hand to assess their flex, it's a sign to consider other options. At the very least, the shop should conduct the "paper test" on the skis to gauge their fit. This test serves as a practical way to mark the ski's pocket and ascertain its compatibility with the skier. Some shops even have a flex tester on hand, which offers the optimal means to precisely tailor a pair of skis to the individual skier – a method highly preferred over the "paper test."
Skis do not usually come pre-fit with bindings. We recommend that you buy NNN or Prolink bindings rather than SNS. This will give you the most boot options and the boots will fit our rollerski fleet.
There are three things to think about when buying a pair of poles: swing weight, stiffness and durability. The lighter and stiffer a pair of poles are, the more efficiently they will translate force into forward motion. Unfortunately, they also tend to be a bit more fragile the lighter and stiffer they are. Generally, you will start to see diminishing returns when you look at moving from the mid/high range to the top of the line pole. There is a huge difference from budget poles to the mid/high range pole. If you are investing in poles, do not buy aluminum or fiberglass poles. While they are more durable, they are significantly heavier and less stiff. This detrimentally impacts ski technique.
Ski Pole Sizing
The basics: skate poles should be longer than classic poles. The actual length of the poles are personal preference as long as they fall within competition guidelines. Skate poles should come up to approximately the athlete's nose and be no shorter than their chin with ski boots on. FIS rule 343.8.1 states that classic poles may not exceed 83% of the athlete's height. In practice classic poles should be around shoulder height. Keep in mind that poles are typically measured in centimeters.
Boots should be comfortable! Every brand and model fits a bit differently, so it is important that you try them on before you buy them or are able to return them if they do not fit. When buying boots, the fit is the most important decision factor, but you should keep a few other things in mind as well.
Combi boots are a compromise in performance. They will do the job, but they will not perform or feel as good as a boot specifically made for that technique.
Skate and Classic boots will last longer than combi boots because they do not receive the same wear and tear.
The boots need to match the ski bindings
More expensive skate boots tend to provide more support and better power transfer
More expensive classic boots tend to be lighter and provide more stability
Suttons Bay Bikes
Don Orr Ski Haus
Do not keep race skis in stock, but will order flexed and fit skis
XC Ski Headquarters
Other - Call to order skis and will also provide hand picked factory skis