Skiing

7 Best Cross Country Skis (Sets Included) 2019

Best Cross Country Skis

Cross country skiing, also known as nordic skiing is a popular sport across different ages. You can’t imagine that it all started with one person who figured they can cross the snow by tying planks on their boots. Super creative, right? Well, it’s been decades since then and crosses country skiing is no longer out of a need to cross to the other side but a popular sport. Cross country skiing is very different from all-mountain skiing. In cross country you don’t need to ski at high speeds, you can go at whatever speed you wish to. It is more of a fun activity than a race.

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Alpina Control 60 Cross Country Ski Package  4.2
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Rossignol Evo XC 60 Tour Cross Country Ski Package 4.6
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Whitewoods Cross Country Ski Package 4.0
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Thule Chariot Cross-Country Skiing Kit 4.5
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Rossignol Evo OT 65 IFP Positrack XC Skis 4.5
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SALOMON Escape 5 Grip Cross Country Ski Package 4.1
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Fischer Voyager EF Men’s XC Skis w/Tour Step-in IFP Bindings 4.4

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What you will love most about cross country skiing is its versatility. You can choose to race down the trails or ski at a slow speed along the trails as you enjoy the view of groomed trails. The choice is all yours. However, this versatility is what makes it hard to shop for a cross country ski set. A look at the different types of cross country skiing though should help you in making a purchase.

 

Buying guide

Types of cross country skis

We have different types of cross country skis as listed below. Each of this is used in specific snow conditions

Classic touring cross country skis

These types of skis are narrow, lightweight and rather stiff. They are meant to be used on neatly packed snow such as at the park trails and ski resorts. Classic skis are further categorized into two; classic and compact. Classic skis are longer than most skis you will find around and are sized according to your height. Compact, on the other hand, are shorter and fatter and are sized according to your weight.

Skating touring cross country skis

This type of cross country skis are made for speed and are perfect for cross country ski racers. They are shorter and stiffer and respond very fast to turns and maneuverability.  Their narrow tips help to make gliding smooth and easy. If you are looking to skate on hard-packed snow, on frozen lakes or groomed trails, this is the type of ski to go for. Skating cross country skis are sized according to your weight.

Backcountry cross country skis

If you fancy exploring the deep snow and steep terrain outside the neatly groomed trails, backcountry cross country skis are the perfect type for you. They come with a wider tip to help you float easily when on powder. Since having control is important in backcountry skiing, the skis have a sidecut and a soft camber to guarantee you that.

Groomed and ungroomed cross country skis

Just as the name suggests, this type of skis is meant for both groomed and ungroomed trails. The groomed skis have a wide tip and waist to provide more stability and ankle support on ungroomed trails. The ski itself is narrow for smooth gliding and turning. These skis can handle a tough terrain outside the ski resort but not wild steep terrains on icier snow. Now that we briefly have gone through different types of cross country skis, it should be easier for you to shop around for one. Let’s now look at other factors you need to consider.

 

Ski length

The first thing you want to look at when buying cross country skis is the length of the ski which is hugely determined by your weight as well as your height. A ski with a  proper length will make skiing a breeze for you while a ski with improper length will cause you to overwork due to the increased fiction. You will end up fatigued and with aching quads.

The key thing to note is that longer skis are typically faster than the shorter ones. Longer skis are most ideal for heavier skiers as well as skiers who are looking to go into a race or are thrilled by speed. If you will be skiing in a rugged terrain a lot then longer skis will also help you maneuver easily. Shorter skis, on the other hand, are slower and are ideal for beginners or for someone taking skiing as a pastime activity. Shorter skis are best for learning cross country skiing. They work well in a smooth terrain.

When choosing the length of the ski, also consider your height. If you want to know the best length for you using your height, measure your height from head to toe, add 25 cm to your height and choose the length that is as close as possible to that measurement. Take your measurements in centimeters since most skis are sold in this unit. If you are not sure how this goes, take your weight and ask the seller to advise you on which length will be best for you if they don’t have a weight and sizing chart.  Don’t forget to mention your skill ability.

 

Ski width

You can tell the width of the ski by measuring the tip, tail and waist of the ski. Backcountry skis tend to be wider than any other type of skis. It is this big width that will help you float and turn easily in soft snow. With a narrower ski, you will keep sinking in the soft snow and turning will also be a nightmare. For the best experience, look for a ski width of not more than 70mm. Most tracks fit within this width.

 

Ski weight

Most skis are made using lightweight materials however this may prove a challenge on hard snow so going for a medium weight is the most ideal when it comes to cross country. It will give you the stability you need while snowing and It will not leave you sore the next day either from having to drag a heavy ski.

 

Sidecut

Sidecut is the hourglass-shaped curve that is between the tip and the tail. Cross country skis have sidecuts to help the skier maneuver in both groomed and ungroomed trails. They make it easier for a skier to make turns.

 

Durability

Be on the lookout for a ski made from premium quality. It will withstand the impact and the tough conditions of the snow for years to come.

 

Waxable vs waxless base

There are two types of skis waxable and waxless. Waxless refers to the base that has a textured pattern to provide grip when skiing. The textured patterns dig into the snow to keep you from sliding backward. A waxable base has no textured pattern, instead, glide wax is applied to provide the grip. The wax is applied from the tip to the tail for maximum gripping.

Must you wax your skis?

This is a question that comes up so often among cross country skiers. Our answer is yes you must apply glide wax on your skis regardless of whether you go for the waxless or waxable ski base. Waxless bases perform better when waxed. If using universal wax you will be forced to reapply often otherwise use glide wax. Waxing helps to keep excess moisture off your skis. When skis become too moist they start rusting and rust makes skis skid unexpectedly, chip and bring up all sorts of performance issues.

Waxable skis are faster and are popular with racers and experienced skiers. Waxless on the other hand are ideal for skiers who do not have the time and patience for regular waxing. They can be used by skiers of all levels.

Flex

The flex is responsible for your turning ability and your speed. But it can only assist you if you choose one that can take on your weight comfortably. You can either choose a flex that is stiffer or softer depending on your reasons for skiing. If skiing for leisure and speed is not your top priority then it should be slightly stiff but if you need a race kind of speed then it should be very stiff.

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Best Cross Country Skis 2019

 

1. Alpina Control 60 Cross Country Ski Package

The best part about buying a ski set package is that you are guaranteed that everything will work out together (well, most of the time) since they are of the same size and weight. This is very true of the Alpina Control 60 Cross Country Ski Package. This set contains skis, boots, bindings, and poles, very ideal if f you are just looking for a recreation set or a beginner set. It is important you know that this whole set is not from Alpina but the skis only. The rest of the items are pulled together from different manufacturers but all work perfectly fine with each other.

This waxless ski is wide enough to provide you the stability you need but still fits into both the groomed and off-trail tracks. As for the length, they do vary depending on your weight but they have them in 170 cm, 180 cm, 190 cm, and 200 cm. Each of these lengths is meant for a specific weight range. If you pick the wrong length you will end up with a ski that sinks deep into the snow with every glide. To get your perfect size, you will need to provide your weight and height sizes. And if you want a customized sizing, you can always request. This Alpina cross country skis have superior traction and can handle pretty much any type of winter terrain including uphill trekking. It is this feature that makes it very popular with skiers of all levels. Even though they perform well being waxless, you can always wax them for even better performance.

Is it durable? Yes, it is. The ski is made of premium quality wood and tough plastic on its tips. This prevents snow build-up, scratches, and rust. The boots are made of water-resistant material to keep your legs warm and dry.

Pros

  • Size is customizable
  • Wide base to give more stability
  • Boots are lightweight, waterproof and offer great ankle support
  • Made of durable materials: wood and tough plastic
  • Bindings have an easy step-in design
  • Poles are very sturdy

Cons

  • Not ideal for skiers looking for high speed

 

2. Rossignol Evo XC 60 Tour Cross Country Ski Package

Buying a ski package is most certainly cheaper than buying individual items. You might end up spending up to 50 % less especially if you buy online. And the best part is that it saves you the headache of having to select which items will perfectly match each other. That is why you need to really need to consider the Rossignol Evo XC 60 Tour Cross Country Ski Package. This package includes skis, boots, bindings, and poles that are carefully selected to function in harmony.

Every item is selected according to your height and weight to guarantee you the perfect set size. If you prefer to place a custom-sized package that is also possible. You will just need to provide your sizing information. This set comes in a range of sizes; 166 cm, 176 cm, 186 cm, and 196 cm and each size is meant for a specific weight range. What you will notice is that the findings don’t release the same way as most bindings do. For most bindings, you release by pushing the lever downward but for this one, you will have to turn the latch to release.

A common trait with most packages pulled from different manufacturers is a compromise on some items or slack in some features. This is not the case with this package. The bindings are pretty simple to use and are step-in. The boots are waterproof and made of fleece lining to keep your feet warm and dry. The skis are built for better maneuverability, stability, and control. In short, the package has the best skis, boots, bindings, and poles. This waxless ski package is perfect for all ski levels; beginners experienced and professional cross country skiers. So, if you are a beginner looking to advance, this will be a good deal as you won’t have to buy another set as your skills advance.

Pros

  • Lightweight skis and boots
  • The skis glide effortlessly and offer great stability
  • Easy to use automatic step-in bindings
  • Adjustable straps on the sturdy pole

Cons

  • Not ideal for deep ungroomed snow

 

3. Whitewoods Cross Country Ski Package

The Whitewoods 75 mm 3Pin Cross Country Ski Package comes at an impressively good price. The package is selected for a beginner skier and comprises of boots, skis, bindings, and poles. It is easy to use, comes pre-assembled and ready to use out of the box, and its performance is not compromised at all. With a width of 75 mm, this waxless ski is perfect for in-track and out-of-track touring skis. You can request a different size by sending in your size information (weight and height). However, this specific set measures 177 cm and is ideal for skiers within the weight of 127 – 150 lbs. Any weight more than this and it will cease to be functional.

What we loved about this set is that the skis are lightweight and they are laminated with a wood coating to keep the ice from sticking on it even though it is waxless. The boots are also waterproof to keep your feet warm and come with a removable insole.

Pros

  • Easy to step in bindings
  • Warm breathable boots that are also lightweight
  • Package is affordable
  • Adjustable pole strap

Cons

  • You might need to apply wax for better gliding.

 

4. Thule Chariot Cross-Country Skiing Kit

There is no need for abandoning your skiing hobby just because you have an infant or a toddler. At least not when you can get a Thule chariot cross country skiing kit. Your child can stay warm, comfortable and safe inside a chariot as you ski your way into happiness using the kit. This skiing kit includes a pair of lightweight skis, a padded waist belt that comes with a bottle holder and a locking pin as well as two aluminum towing bars. Given that you will be towing some good amount of weight behind you ( weight of the child and the chariot), Thule made the straps adjustable for ease of use. Also, the adjustable straps allow for multiple users so you can have someone else tow the chariot using your waist belt.

Pros

  • Adjustable tow bars
  • Installation is easy and quick
  • The kit is compatible with most Thule chariot models

Cons

  • The skis do not hold the wax well in case you decide to wax it

 

5. Rossignol Evo OT 65 IFP Positrack XC Skis

The Rossignol Evo OT 65 IFP Positrack ski is considerably shorter than most skis we have reviewed but it is this short length that makes it maneuver easily and lets you have proper control. It also makes it easy to use. The Positrack wide base is ideal for skiing in ungroomed paths but you can also ski in groomed paths if you won’t mind its slowness. The stability offered by this base is great, gliding is smooth and traction is also great in all snow conditions. The bindings are the standard step in type so you shouldn’t experience any challenge using them.

Pros

  • Easy to use step-in bindings
  • Very stable and easy to maneuver within off-trails
  • Glides smoothly on all terrains

Cons

  • It tends to slow down when in groomed trails.

 

6. SALOMON Escape 5 Grip Cross Country Ski Package

Salomon is a popular brand and its Escape 5 Grip Cross Country Ski Package is most perfect for beginners and hesitant intermediate skiers. Its a  pretty simple package kit consisting of skis, boots, poles, and bindings that comes ready to use straight out of the box.

Let’s look at how each item in the package fairs.

The waxless skis are designed with grip and stability of a beginner skier in mind. The speed is perfect too for a beginner and the glide is also effortlessly smooth. The skis are available in a range of sizes;  17 4cm, 182 cm, 190 cm, 198 cm, 206 cm. All are selected according to the height and weight of the skier. This pair of skis can be used both on and off-trail terrains. Every item in this package is carefully selected to match your preference ( style and color) as well as your height and weight. Two very important factors when selecting your ski and boots. If you prefer a custom made size, that can also be arranged by the seller. All you have to do is provide your sizing information. The automatic bindings are easy step-in type. The interior of the boots is covered in a fleece material to keep your feet warm. The ankle cut is raised to give your ankles better support. One more feature that you will love about the boots is the internal heel reinforcement for maximum comfort.

As for the pole, well, they are sturdy, come with adjustable straps and a universal basket. With just a single supper insanely affordable purchase, you get everything you need to kickstart your skiing adventure!

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Offers maximum grip and stability
  • Ideal for all snow conditions

Cons

  • Not very advanced for an experienced skier

 

7. Fischer Voyager EF Men’s XC Skis w/Tour Step-in IFP Bindings

It’s easy to see why the Fischer Voyager EF Men’s XC Skis made it to our list. While every skiing product from Fischer is great, these particular skis have more to write home about. For one, we love the easy step-in step-out bindings. They make it super easy for a beginner to use. Also, we love that the width of the skis is wide enough to give you the needed stability when gliding but also narrow enough to propel you faster when on a groomed track. Talking of gliding, with this pair of skis you are sure of a smooth glide all the way regardless of the snow condition. And given that they are lightweight, your quads won’t be killing you at the end of the day.

Pros

  • Easy step-in step-out bindings
  • Waxless to give you longlasting grip and traction
  • Durable and easy to maneuver with on and off-track
  • Beginner-friendly

Cons

  • The sizing is not unisex

 

Conclusion

When it comes to cross country skiing, the biggest headache is not learning to ski but choosing the best skiing kit. From the skis, boots, poles to the binding. Its all an overwhelming for a beginner. Even experienced skiers have a hard time choosing from the many options out there. The best place to start with is knowing what cross country type you are going for. Then from there consider your weight, your height to pick the best ski size. Also, do your research to know whether a waxless or a waxable ski would be ideal for you. In your search, you will find that most cross country skis are waxless but you can always opt for a waxable if it suits you.

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