Touring Skis FAQs

How do I select cross country skis?

Proper ski selection is based upon the type of skier you are, and the type of skiing and trails you enjoy. First, determine your general skier type, and then go to type of trails to begin narrowing down skis.

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. BC and 3-Pin bindings are wider and heavier bindings that can handle the greater torque of wider and heavier skis. They are not compatible with SNS or NNN light touring equipment.

What are the advantages of wax-less skis?

Wax-less skis give the skier grab-and-go convenience, meaning he/she does not have to wax before skiing. There also is much less ski care and maintenance associated with wax-less skis. They offer worry-free, and spontaneous skiing in regions that experience wide temperature fluctuations, and in areas where significant elevation gain and loss is typical.

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 are Metal-Edge Skis?

Metal-Edge skis are single camber skis that incorporate different designs to be used for deep snow, ski touring, telemark skiing in steep, backcountry terrain, and obviously alpine skiing. Metal edge touring skis (or BC skis) require BC boots and bindings, and newer designs tend to be 60mm wide or more.

What does single camber mean?

Single camber means that a ski can be fully compressed (flattened) using a “single” amount of pressure. From a skier’s perspective, this means that the skier will be gliding on the entire length of the ski, and there will be minimal rebound when unweighting a ski. Single camber skis limit diagonal stride kick and glide. Alpine ski designers, on the other hand, are accentuating this minimal camber with their rocker skis that are known for easy turning.

What advantages do Metal Edge Skis offer?

Metal-Edge Skis can be effective when skiing icy or rugged terrain. They can be favored by beginning and older skiers due to the maximum stability they provide. The niche for metal edge touring skis is becoming smaller due to the improvements seen in the light touring and telemark/AT categories. Metal Edge and BC gear can also be a choice for multiple day excursions into the backcountry where flat and rolling terrain predominates.

Are Metal Edge Skis more durable?

If you mean can they sustain greater impacts, than the answer is yes, to a point. The edge does provide a level of base and sidewall protection up to the point. If the edge is damaged beyond repair, then you have a non-functional ski. A non-metal edge ski, if severely damaged, usually can be repaired  to a usable state. Fortunately, the impacts sustained in cross country skiing are far less frequent and usually far less severe than in alpine skiing.

Can cross country skis be used for downhill (alpine) skiing? 

All cross country skis can be snowplowed downhill, but they are not designed for alpine skiing, particularly not for beginning skiers. A step turn technique is used for turning skate and classic skis. There are some light touring skis and metal-edge touring skis that have enough side cut to parallel or telemark turn on groomed, rolling terrain. There is a category of waxless skis in the 110 to 125mm width that can be skied in steep terrain with heavier BC boots, but this is more of a hybrid telemark ski than a traditional “cross country ski”.

How much snow do I need to cross country ski?

It really depends on what kind of surface lies beneath the snow. If you have well-manicured grass underneath, you might be able to get away with 2-3 inches. If you have a gravel road or frozen stubble field underneath, you will need a lot more snow to create a protective base. Ski damaging conditions are those where the snow covers the hazards without the depth necessary to insulate the ski base from damage. Old “rock skis” are useful for these conditions which generally occur at the beginning and end of the season.

Comments are closed.