Buying Advice

Summary: Top end cross-country ski gear offers performance advantages that benefit beginner and expert skiers. Buy the best race-style equipment you can afford.

Buy nice gear. It will make you happy.
Buy nice gear. It will make you happy.

I’m teaching a beginner cross-country ski class.

These are absolute beginners and this is their first time on skis.

One of my students, let’s call her Jill, is standing, holding her skis. She has top of the line race skis, the exact equipment used by skiers on the World Cup circuit.

The class is about to start and Jill says, “I don’t know how to put on my skis.”

What do I think about Jill and her equipment? Do I think it’s crazy she has such amazing race gear when she’s just a beginner skier?

Not at all. I think Jill is a genius.

I think whoever sold her the equipment is a genius, too.

It almost never happens that you find beginners with gear any racer would be happy to ski on. When we see that, it makes us happy.

It doesn’t make sense for beginners to use the heaviest, most difficult to handle gear.

Skis Have Different Characteristics that Affect Their Performance

Ski width and weight have a big impact on ski speed, as does the quality of the base material. But one of the most important features of a cross-country ski is the camber, or flex.

Recreational skis are said to have an easier kick. The big difference between how a beginner and an expert ski is where their center of mass sits in relation to their boots and skis. A beginner skis with his weight back and a racer skis with his weight forward.

This means they’ll “kick” their skis differently. A pro will get more power with less effort.

(“Kick” refers to the part of the stride where the skier pushes against the snow. In the case of classic skiing, you push down and back against your wax pocket. In skate skiing you push in a sideways direction against the inside edge of your ski. In either case, you have to compress your camber to get a good kick. After the kick, the ski springs back into it’s flexed shape, which helps you glide faster.)

If you’re just getting into the sport, you might feel like you’re in a tough spot. You won’t have an effective and powerful kick, so you might wonder if you should get more of a recreational ski. On the other hand, you don’t want to find after 1 – 2 years you wish you had bought better gear.

Should You Buy for the Skier You Are, or the Skier You’re Going to Become?

We say, buy for the skier you’re going to become.

Look at you, you’re on a website called “Cross Country Ski Technique”. You’ve already passed the first test, which was to understand there’s more to cross-country skiing than just shuffling along the trail.

Also, race skis aren’t that difficult to use. If you buy from a legitimate nordic ski shop and get your skis fitted properly, you won’t have any trouble. You can always build up extra layers of kick wax or extend your wax application further towards the tip of the ski if you are having trouble with grip.

Why We Recommend Buying Race Gear

  • You get what you pay for. The ski companies are not scamming you. This isn’t like buying designer clothing. There aren’t a lot of technical features in $500 jeans you can’t find in $100 jeans, but there are real differences in materials and design between low cost and top end gear and you will feel those differences in the performance of your gear.
  • Race gear is lighter and more responsive. In the long run it’ll help you become an excellent skier more quickly.
  • Race gear is faster. Everything about the skis, boots and poles is designed to help you ski faster with less effort. That’s fun.

Our Bottom Line Advice:

Buy for the skier you’re going to become.

If you want to ski the way we describe here on the Cross Country Ski Technique website, you should buy the best race equipment your budget will afford and buy it from a real cross-country ski shop, not a general sports store.

Don’t choose the “best deal”, choose the best gear you can afford. Think of the cost as being spread over many, many ski days, over many, many years, and you’ll know that investing in high quality gear is something you’ll never regret.

46 thoughts on “Buying Advice”

  1. Total beginner to buy racing gear? This just doesn’t make any sense. 1) the beginner should first show some commitment to the sport before spending the big bucks. 2) the best gear will not make any meaningful difference compared to just good enough gear. 3) racing gear may be less comfortable (eg, tight racing boots) and hence have negative effect on learning. 4) aah, did I mention money?

    • That makes sense to me. I stood on xc skis for the first time EVER yesterday. I went straight from advanced downhill skier to trying skate skiing and I sucked and fell twice. Where’s the grip?? lol

      But, I did love it, even though I was terrible. I’ve been looking online at what length and flex and came across this post. Made sense – buy for the skier you become, but then I read your post and I think that makes more sense to me. If I buy expert skis and really keep finding it as difficult as I did yesterday it might turn me off the sport. If I buy for the level i’m at, without huge expenditure, I might actually get a ski that works for me now and like the sport.

      Good comment, thank you.

      • Hi Paula – thanks for stopping by out website and congrats on trying skate skiing. I think you’ll love it! I urge you to be wary of Jan’s comments. I believe in transparency and open discourse, which is why I generally don’t moderate comments on my articles, but I don’t agree with Jan at all, especially when to comes to skate gear.

        A classic ski has a “kick zone”, or “grip zone” where the grip wax gets applied. In classic skiing you compress the ski against the snow, making the ski temporarily stop. This gives you some purchase on the ground to push against. A skilled skier has the ability to balance in a forward position, staying mainly on the balls of their feet through out their stride (that’s a bit of an oversimplification). A less skilled skier hasn’t yet learned to balance in that forward position. A recreational ski has a wax pocket that is better suited to someone who skis more upright, with a walking posture. A rec ski usually is also wider and has side cuts that make it a little easier to handle on downhills (but still MUCH more difficult than alpine gear). That all helps with stability, which is a big problem for beginners.

        The downside of a rec ski is that it is heavy and unresponsive, compared to a race ski. They simply do not handle as well. Plus, that backward wax pocket won’t do you any favours if your long-term goal is to ski with a more performance-style. That’s why we say, buy for the skier you want to become.

        Skate skis are a different ball game. There’s no wax pocket. There’s not a lot a ski manufacturer can do to make a skate ski easier to handle for a beginner, other than to shorten the tails a little. With the lower price point that comes with a “recreational” skate ski, the main “advantage” you are getting is a cheaper price point. The downsides are significant: heavy material, a less responsive ski, a less well engineered ski.

        When I started skate skiing I went to the store and said, “I don’t know if I’ll like skate skiing, so I don’t want to spend too much money,” and walked out with a pair of low quality skate skis. I struggled on those for 3 years before I had the chance to try a pair of race skis. As soon as I put on the race skis I immediate felt a difference and I immediately skied better. The difference was night and day. It was a mistake for me to buy cheap skis and it wasted a lot of my time.

        I stand by my advice with confidence: buy gear for the skier you want to become. Then study the sport, practice, practice, practice and have faith in your ability to transform yourself into an expert skier.

      • oops Don’t think I replied in the right place. Here it is again Kim and thank you for your long reply. I’m loving what i’m already learning about the sport :)

        Thanks for the advice. So from what you say it makes sense to buy beginner classic skis but racer skate skis. The only problem with that is that I don’t know what skier I want to become or if I’ll even take to the sport. You said:

        “As soon as I put on the race skis I immediate felt a difference and I immediately skied better.”

        But to be fair you’d already being on skate skis (beginners) for 3 years, so had a lot of experience. Maybe that is why the upgrade made such a difference. I could barely balance and fell over twice. Is a sport ski going to make me love the sport if it makes the first few weeks even harder??

      • Paula – you’ve been on skate skis once, right? And you said you loved it, even though it was difficult. That day was the only “first” day you’ll ever have. Next time you will have some muscle memory, some residual balance and a little more comfort than the first time you tried it. You will be better, even if only by a tiny amount. You loved it the first time. Why wouldn’t you love it even more as you grew more accustomed to the gear and gain more skill? Look at videos of expert skate skiers – doesn’t it look like it must feel really great to ski like that? It’s just as fun as it looks, even when you aren’t at that level.

        Yes, you are right that I already had the experience of 3 years of trying to skate ski. But the difference in the gear was astounding to me. I immediately regretted not buying better gear right from the start and felt I had wasted a lot of time on sub-par gear.

        The better race gear will not make your first weeks harder, it will make them easier than sub-par rec skate skis. It is definitely more difficult to skate ski on cheaper skis. I feel this is true for skiers at all levels.

        As for classic, I still don’t recommend cheap “rec” skis, unless you just want a casual and occasional outing. I said it would be harder for a beginner to kick a classic race ski, but I didn’t say it was impossible.

        I don’t want to seem overly strident – that’s really not my style. But I get frustrated by the way race technique gets overly mystified and people get the idea that it’s out of their reach or something you have to learn as a child or there’s no hope. If you like the way the sport looks – fast, fun, agile – then I say go for it and don’t let anyone convince you that you can’t do it.

        As for balance – close your eyes, stand on one leg and practice every day.

        Good luck! I wish you all the best :)

      • I agree with Kim on buying the best quality skis you can, even beginning a new discipline of skiing. I was fortunate to buy a good condition set of race skate skis and they made all the difference. Enjoyed the sport immediately. Still fell many many times in the beginning. Same story for downhill skiing; a ski instructor said rent performance skis for one day. Wow, no more tired aching quads! Bought a good pair of boots and rent skis on the days I choose alpine over cross country.

    • You are a “Total” beginner for about 15 minutes, after four hours you are WAY better. With advanced skis you learn you have to keep forward on the balls of your feet. Most first time skiers, downhill or XC, have their weight back. Once your muscles learn the proper position you are on your way. That is harder to do with “beginner” skis.

  2. My granddaughter wants cross country skis for Christmas. She’s a beginner. Should she try on her on ski equipment or would I buy by the size of her boot?

  3. Thank you for providing the information in your buying advice. I’m planning on taking up cross country skiing this winter. After reading your buying recommendations I am now going to seek out a cross country skiing shop here in Toronto to get educated before I make my purchase. I’m going to show them your buying advice.

  4. HI!
    I totaly agree on buying racing stuff at the level you are going to be.
    I ordered on the net some Fischer crs classic. At my local shop they told me that they would be too much for me, suggesting a more touring type. Must admit, I had to work to get a nice kick at the beginning.
    It is my fourth year with them and they are perfect.
    Since the crs are in the bottom of racing, I certainly wouldn’t not be afraid to get middle range racing gear.

    Lots and lots of snow here in Saguenay. A sure place to enjoy skying!

    Have a nice season everyone.

  5. Hello Kim,
    I agree on purchasing the best equipment you can buy. I have found that if you buy OK equipment you may not be happy with the result, and regret the purchase for a long time. If you buy good gear once, you only complain about the price once.
    What is your opinion on waxless skis? We live in Southeast Alberta and the weather changes a lot, all the time.
    Thanks

    • Hi James – I bought a pair of skin skis a couple of years ago and ski on them a LOT! No surprise – I bought the top of the line ones and they are really impressive. I love them. However, I have regular skis that are way more fun to ski on when the waxing is easy. There’s no comparison. Nothing is nicer than a hard wax applied to a nice race ski, at least in my opinion.

      So, as much as I love my skin skis, I would not chose them to be my only pair of skis. If I had to own a single pair of classic skis, I would not chose waxless skis. But if you don’t care too much about having the fastest skis and you are mainly motivated by ease of use, then you really can’t go wrong with skin skis. Nine times out of ten, I’m on my skin skis. It’s just that on colder, drier conditions, waxable skis will perform much better.

      Hope that’s not too confusing! Enjoy all that amazing snow you have down there :)

      • Thanks Kim,

        Great information. I had not considered skin skis, thinking it might just be some sort of advertising gimmick. I looked up some information on these skis, finding that the technology appears quite sound. I will look at these as a viable choice.

        By the way, it was +14 C yesterday with wind while only a few days ago we were enjoying 2 feet of fresh snow. Crazy

        Thanks Kim, Later

    • I like the way James Kidd puts it–you’ll only complain about the price once. I typically start by buying less expensive gear or something on sale because I’m not sure if I’m going to like it. Then I end up buying more expensive gear later. I would have saved money, had more fun and been more confident about my abilities if I had just bought the better gear at the beginning.

      • Like buying other gear such as a road bike. I commuted 30 km per day for 3 years on my mountain bike. Then a few years ago went all out for a $5k carbon fibre road bike. No comparison at all. Yes I have had lots of cycling experience but cannot emphasize enough about the right equipment for the right application.

  6. I came across this website last week after a morning of skate skiing. It’s a sport I’ve been doing for about 4 winters. I’m self-taught–watching others, YouTube, and 2 winters ago doing a 2 day skate camp. I was coninually frustrated to see everyone skating so effortlessly around me. When I came across your article about buying the best equipment, I went to the local ski shop the next morning and upgradef my equipment to expert level. This morning I went skating. Wow!!! What a difference it made in all of my techniques. I can’t believe I suffered with inadequate skis all these winters! Thanks so much for the practical advice! I love that your site keeps all its info simple, easy to understand, and focused.

    • Hi Amy – Sounds like you experience was similar to mine! It really is amazing, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing your feedback :)

  7. I don’t know. I think getting low end racing skis is probably the best bet for beginners who don’t have loads of money. A low end racing ski should still be meant to be used in the same capacity as a high end racing ski it will just be not quite as nice and a LOT cheaper. That way you get to learn good technique on those skis/equipment for the first few years until you are ready to upgrade. Then you will also get rock skis out of the deal when you finally do decide to take another step up. Buying World Cup level equipment can cost something like $2000 and that can be a major put off to people just getting into the sport. Low end racing skis won’t be as fast as the $800 top end skis but neither will you. You also don’t want to damage the finely tuned bases through lack of care (skiing through bad snow) or poor waxing while you are still learning about how the whole thing works. In a few years when you decide to upgrade to the better skis you will hopefully know enough to not damage them.

    • I like that advice too – that why we say buy the best gear you can afford. We don’t suggest anyone buy gear they can’t afford. Any chance to buy used from a racer is always a good opportunity – good karma for supporting an athlete and good for getting excellent gear at a value price.

      • I was just thinking along similar lines – buy good quality used skating equipment (from specialized shop, so they can help with fitting etc), learn the ropes, understand the small things that make a big difference in comfort or performance (eg boot fit, shape of skis), figure out what I like/don’t like, and in a couple years buy my “perfect” set.
        And take classes…..

  8. Ms. McKenney
    found your site , after getting back from Breckenridge, and deciding it might be a good idea to buy equipment , instead of renting. We live in Kansas , but started out on the trails at Lone Mountain in Montana. Have only been able to get to snow about once a year, but see some time coming up in the future for more exploring ( i.e. retirement).
    My question is on a technical note. I have a really bad left ankle ( club foot as a kid) and it really is weak and likes to roll inward a lot. I can not skate, because of that weakness.
    But, i keep thinking, maybe if I had a boot with extra support , it would hold better on the for my classic work. Then I realized , a skate boot has that higher collar! Do you think a skate boot used for classic work would be an acceptable alternative ?
    thank you for your time

    • Hi Cranston

      There’s a type of ski race that combines a classic race with a skate race. Half way through the race the skiers changeover from classic skis and poles to skate skis and poles. Here’s an example. You can watch them swap their gear at minute 38:20.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJgAbbyO0zA

      Obviously they don’t swap their boots. They are wearing a special kind of boot that’s like a modified skate boot that is fine for classic skiing too. I think that would be a good boot for you. It would definitely give you added support, but it would still be comfortable for classic skiing.

      If it’s more of a recreational level boot, I believe it will be called a combi boot. More of a race level boot would be called a skiathlon boot or pursuit boot.

  9. Hi Kim,

    I definitely agree with you about skiing on great gear, especially here in Southern Ontario where the season is so short. Also, I use combi boots and actually prefer the additional support for classic skiing.

    When I bought my classic skis (Madshus REDline cold) from my local club/ski shop they measured me and then tested four different skis (two brands) before determining that two of these would be suitable for my requirements. Gotta say I’m thrilled with them.

    I’m now wanting to buy a pair of top end skate skis. Because said ski club is nearly two hours away, and the snow is long gone, I’m thinking of buying online. How good an idea is this?

    Skate skis do come with a skier weight range, and Madshus has a good reputation for tight manufacturing control and pairing at the factory. However I won’t be able to measure the skis at all or ski on them until next season, long past the vendor’s return window.

    Thoughts?

    • Hi Chris,
      I’m not qualified to give you advice about your question. I’ve heard of people being happy with online ski purchases, but I’ve not tried it myself. It must depend on the retailer and their expertise.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help…
      Kim

  10. Hi Kim,

    Thanks for this advice. I’m a 43 year old who rediscovered Alpine skiing a few years ago and it has become a real passion. However, I live in Saskatoon and that means even with a bunch of road trips, I average only ~15 days in the mountains a year, while there are another 120 days of cold and snow at home! I’d like to continue to get out some more, work on some cross-training on a closely related activity (sliding on boards on the snow!) when I can’t afford a 12-hour day driving to the nearest hill to alpine ski, or in the evenings.

    I’ve read the advice above and the skate vs classic, and I think my leanings would be towards skate skiing–I like speed and the skating-on-flats might translate. I think it would be a good workout, and keep those legs in good shape.

    My leanings are always towards crying once and getting good gear once. I suppose I can technically afford nearly any set of gear, but I’m interested in finding something in the sweet spot of performance vs increased cost (would be my guess that the jump in gear between $100CAD and $500 skis is super significant, perhaps less $500 to 1000, and if $2000 skis existed I would be surprised if they were twice as good/performance oriented/etc as $1000 ones.). So “best you can afford” is a little different–I’d like to get good skis without going nuts. What are some example skate skis that exemplify the “good race skis” that an enthusiastic beginner with some moderate alpine experience might consider? I’m looking for class of ski from a number of brands probably more than “you should buy the Fischer XXXXXX skis” ; i.e. “in the range I suggest some models are Fischer XXX, Salomon XXX”, …

    Also–is it worth trying to rent such a thing to see if there’s any kind of fit with nordic? On the one hand it lets you try; on the other hand I doubt they rent the type of nice skis you suggest trying in the first place.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Jason – I’m sorry I can’t help you with your question. I think your idea that there are points along the price scale where you get bigger jumps in value and other points of diminishing returns is likely correct. I just don’t know what they are. A rep or retailer is a better bet.

      One thing that might help – if you get hooked on this sport, you’re first pair likely won’t be your last. That’s just how it is for many people. One thing you’ll want is the ability to extend your season by skiing in more marginal conditions. So if you buy a mid-level ski to get started, they could become your rock skis in the future. Just don’t go too cheap or it will negatively impact your learning curve and fun factor.

      Your thinking is clever, but, as I’m sure you know by now, you get what you pay for in life ;)

  11. My girlfriend and I are starting out XC sking this year. She’s a talented alpine skiier — I’m a cluts. Her birthday is coming up. My first question is – Should I surprise her with new XC skis or take her shopping with me? If I surprise her? what do you recommend for an alpine skier turning to XC ski?

    • Hi Adam – Lucky girlfriend. The two of you will have a lot of fun together. The gear needs to fit her, so she has to be there for the purchase. You’ll have to find another way to make it a surprise. We don’t make specific gear recommendations, but our other gear articles can provide you with some guidance.

  12. Hey Kim,
    Thanks for the great responses to these questions. Here’s a twist. I am a fit intermediate to “aspiring” advanced skate skier. I was in a reputable shop in Calgary looking at their wall and they had a skate ski the length that was recommended but as I am a bit of a “burly” guy the stiffness rating was not dead on. The rep (who said she was a former olympic team member in her country…Russian accent?) told me that if I was going for the olympics she would put me on the stiffest ski but as I was not elite level I should be on a softer skate ski (medium flex). I’m actually about 230lbs (honest that’s not fat) and have never been told I should be on anything less than the stiffest ski I can get….
    Have you ever heard of that philosophy? Just not sure what the reasoning would be and she could not articulate it for me.
    I found your site by looking for skate ski fitting guidelines that might help me sort it out so if you have any favourite sites that talk about fitting I would love to hear them so I can educate myself a bit more.

    p.s.: I have bought low, mid and high end gear and I agree, low end gear is a waste of time. The better you can afford the better the experience. I have only recommended budget ( read that “cheap”) gear for people who have already decided they will not ski often or far. (i.e.) they only want to walk beside their kids while they are learning.

    Cheers.

    • Hi Kurt – Advice from an Olympian is better than any I can give you. Try searching Boulder Nordic and asking them. There’s a strong relationship in skate skiing between the quality of the snow and the stiffness of the skis. Stiff skis are good for hard, compact snow conditions, but they will drive down into softer snow too much. At least that’s how I understand it.

  13. Hi’
    I’m a beginner looking to get into both skating and classic. I’m a 55 year old Clydesdale at 205 lbs and 6’1″. If I get a classic ski that matches my weight, should I be concerned about ending up with something too long and cumbersome for my low skill level.

    • Hi Andrew – No, you don’t need to worry. Your length needs won’t change significantly. If in a few years you change your technique or physique and the ski becomes less suited to you, it will still make a good second pair of skis to use. So long as you can find a reputable retailer, staffed with knowledgeable skiers, you will be in good hands when it comes to ski selection.

  14. Hi All we never stop learning :-) I’m a 2 year novice at skate skiing only and I started from scratch ie: Never put a ski on in my life. I’m 49 years old :-)

    This winter I learned a valuable lesson regarding the right gear. As my kick and glide have been improving (my instructor always starts our sessions with 30 minutes of skate with no poles) I am seeking to go longer on one ski and to give a good solid push off and spring to a straight leg.

    I now understand the difference between cold and warm skis as on one of my sessions after a day of minus 28degC I had zero glide on freshly waxed skis.

    I was getting very frustrated and asked my instructor why all of a sudden my technique went back to the beginning !!

    he said “Try my Skis” we swapped and problem solved I was back to my semi decent technique. He had cold skis with cold wax which are slightly stiffer with a harder base that holds the harder wax better.

    I am now the proud owner of TWO sets of skis. One set for warm conditions (0 to -8) and then (-10 to Really Cold)

    For learning skate skiing having good quality gear is really beneficial as it helps you practice your technique properly without having to worry about other things like not being able to get your leg under your body without digging into the snow due to poorly balanced skis and the like :-)

    Happy Skiing and may you always have glide :-)

  15. Hello,

    The question I have about skiing equipment deals with a ski helmet. Since I do most of my cross country skiing on wooded back trails, I’m concerned about skiing into a tree while skiing downhill.
    I’m terrified flying past trees and praying not to run into them! Would wearing a ski helmet be a good idea?

    Sincerely and thank you, Frado

    • Hey Frado, There’s no harm in wearing a helmet. It’s not the normal practice, but anyone who’s suffered a concussion probably wishes it was the norm. Maybe you’ll start a trend! I bet there would be more than one parent of a cross-country ski racer who would thank you for it.

  16. Thanks for responding to my question, Kim. I ended up ordering a ski helmet and glad that I did.
    I chose a matte black finish helmet. This way I won’t stand out like a “sore thumb!”
    I cross country ski on technical mountain-bike trails and those trails are absolutely crazy and dangerous! They are surrounded by a gazillion trees and I would hate to meet up with one of those trees, with my noggin, because I failed to maneuver around it properly!
    By the way, I really enjoy your cc ski website. I have learned a ton of great advice since viewing it!

    Sincerely, Frado Lopiccolo

  17. I totally agree with this advice. I bought my racing skis when I was a beginner with the goal of becoming faster soon. The sales person almost said that my new racing skis were too much for me while I insisted that ‘I am buying them for the skier I want to be”. I never regretted it since and very happy with the investment.

    • That’s awesome! I like how you stood up for yourself. That’s hard to do when you’re a beginner and the sale staff knows so much more (hopefully…)

  18. Hi there!

    Total XC ski newbie/addict here. The problem is…I live in Alabama. (SOUTHERN AL!) . I get to XC ski about 10 days/year. This year, I kept missing the snow/season. I have a few questions:

    – Is there a resource that compiles the best places/ longest seasons/types and availablitlity of rentals/other amenities especially for out of towners? I might add that my kids like to alpine ski (5 and 7) while I XC ski and we need to be close to the slopes to schlep their stuff. I’ve tried Stowe VT, Vail CO, Lake Placid NY, and Jackson Hole MT. Park City UT, Tremblant QC, Lake Louise AL have all been out of season.

    – Related to above, if I would’ve had my own skis I could’ve skied as rentals wouldn’t be required…So, how do I buy skis in AL and do I get classic or backcountry skis? (I haven’t even been skate skiing!) Not everywhere is groomed especially if it’s out of season…I bought a pair of BC boots (NN binding?) and there were no skis to rent in Jackson Hole with that binding so I had to rent boots regardless.

    Thanks in advance and sorry about interjecting in this forum, but it partially addresses a question for the beginner skier! (Thanks!)

  19. I’m new to Nordic skiing and have an opportunity to buy a used pair of Fischer RCS Classics 210.
    My height is 6’1” and I weigh 205 lbs. I used to be a very good Alpine skier. Can anyone offer info on this ski? Im assuming the RCS might be an abbreviation for Racing?

  20. This site and your advice about buying skate skis was THE BEST. It allowed me to go to a Russian ski store and buy skis with confidence (and without much Russian language skill) — and to go ahead and buy higher-end equipment–skis, boots and bindings (I have long poles). I skied the last two years on combi skis (and boots), doing ok most of the time, but this year, there was little new or soft snow, and I just had so little control and edging. After handing over a bunch of rubles, I was nervous that I’d be disappointed, but absolutely the opposite! It’s not like I suffered the last couple years, but you are right, buy for the skier you can and will be! Half marathon coming up in April, my primary goal is to finish, but now I might even enjoy myself and make a decent time for a 68-yr-old (woman)!

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