Pinecrest Nordic Ski Patrol
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Nordic Tip

Tips on Buying Nordic Skis


Before buying nordic skis, you have to ask yourself a couple of basic questions: What style of skiing are you going to do, and, where are you going to do it?


  1. Find out what type of snow you will generally ski on. Snow with high water content, such as found in the California Sierra mountain range (maritime snow) allows you to have no-wax skis. This base is also known as a fish-scale base. Dry snow or snow that changes conditions rapidly, like in Colorado or Utah, may require a waxable base.
  2. Determine what type of nordic skiing you are most interested in. The classical skiing motion, straight forward, has been adopted by workout machines found in many gyms. Skating, which appears to be a V-shaped motion, is generally a faster method of nordic skiing. Both are popular. If skating interests you the most, you're better off buying skis with waxable bases.
  3. Look for skis that are slightly taller than you. Longer skis help increase your glide.
  4. Rent skis at a nordic center to give yourself a better idea of what you're looking for.
  5. Find a reputable cross-country shop, peruse the supply of skis, and ask the salesperson questions.
  6. Be picky. While not nearly as expensive as alpine skis, nordic skis still come with a price tag, from $115 for a beginner's skate ski to $429 for an all-out racing ski.


Borrow friends' skis or rent a pair before you actually buy nordic skis. This will help you narrow down what you're looking for. Get opinions from friends who nordic ski. Look at catalogs. Ask salespeople what their favorite ski is. If you buy skis with waxable bases, pick up wax at the same time. A variety of waxes are available for different snow conditions and snow/air temperatures. In fact, entire books are written about waxing nordic skis.


Skiing is an inherently dangerous activity that can result in serious injury. We recommend that you seek proper training and equipment before attempting this activity.