Cross Country Skis FAQs

What are the differences between Classical Skis and Touring Skis?

Length and width. Classic skis are sometimes longer and always narrower offering the skier greater speed and performance. Touring skis offer more stability and versatility in skiing un-groomed terrain.The shorter “new school” light touring skis offer better maneuverability.

What is the difference between Light Touring Skis and Touring Skis? 

Light Touring Skis are narrower (up to 60mm wide) cross country skis that can be used with SNS or NNN bindings and boots. Touring Skis (60mm+) require BC or 3-pin bindings and boots to handle the torque of these wider and heavier skis.

What are the advantages of wax-less skis?

In one word, convenience. Wax-less skis give the skier grab-and-go convenience, meaning he/she does not have to wax before skiing. Wax-less skis have much less ski care and maintenance associated with them due to the waxless pattern. They offer worry-free and spontaneous skiing, particularly in regions that experience wide temperature fluctuations.

What are the advantages of wax-able skis?

Wax-able skis, if waxed correctly, offer a higher performance level in kick and glide than wax-less skis. Kick is instantaneous and solid (if done correctly) and glide is longer, faster and smoother. Wax-able skis are less forgiving during the kick phase, which can be an advantage for those skiers looking to learn correct classical technique.

What is side-cut?

Side-cut is a series of measurements across the width of the ski starting at the tip section, moving to the mid section (or waist), and finishing with the tail section. There are usually 3 measurements in centimeters, and they read from tip to tail like this: 43-42-43. Skis with four measurements are providing a tip measurement to highlight a specific tip design.

What is “hourglass” side-cut?

A term given to side-cut profiles where the waist, or mid-section, is narrower than the tip and 60-50-55

What is “pencil cut”?

Pencil cut is a term referring to a straight side-cut where the widths do not vary along the length of the ski. ie: 44-44-44.


What do the Base Index numbers mean?

They are proprietary standards of each manufacturer to differentiate the quality of ski base material. The higher the number the greater the quality (and speed). These numbers do not  correlate between manufacturers. An Atomic base index number cannot be directly compared to a Rossignol (or any other manufacturer) base index number.


What should I wear for a ski tour?

This is a huge question that varies depending upon where you live, how long your tour will be and what kind of terrain you expect to cover. Here are some general principles to get you started.

  1. Layer your clothing with base and mid layers that wick perspiration away from the body. Outer shell layers are critical for wind protection and when the temperature plummets.
  2. Carry extra layers with you while skiing, and have them easily accessible for quick adjustments.
  3. Start off the tour feeling cool with minimal layers, so you can warm up into it, rather than overheating early.
  4. Strip layers as needed, and add layers when stopping for longer breaks.
  5. Extra hats, buffs, gloves and even socks are lightweight ways to add insulation if needed.

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