So you decided to spend this winter on skis. Are you ready to skip the ski lift lines in a resort and enjoy cross country skiing instead?
Before you can start your adventure, you will need to buy some gear. If you have trouble choosing from the overwhelming amount of equipment, don’t worry!
My name is Kate and I had been skiing since I was a kid. Today, working with Aspen, an NZSIA and APSI certified ski and snowboard instructor, our ski school manager of the Japan and China division, we created this guide so you can find the equipment best suited to your needs.
Let’s keep reading and get ready for your trip together!
Best Cross Country Ski Gear – Our Recommendations
Here is our most recommended cross country ski gear.
Atomic HAWX Ultra XTD 130 Ski Boots
- Key features: Free/Lock 2.0, Frictionless Pivot, Skywalk WTR Sole, Energy Backbone, Mimic, Memory Fit
- Best for: Best Cross Country Boots
These sleek-looking boots have been dominating the backcountry gear world for a few years now. They were created for the perfect performance and are well suited for advanced as well as new skiers. They are compatible with a wide range of bindings.
So if you are on the lookout for high-quality performance boots, look no further!
These lightweight boots were built for backcountry enthusiasts who are unwilling to sacrifice performance and support for comfort and lightweight. Once you put them on, they fit snug and firm and give you all the support and responsiveness you could ask for.
The 54° range of motion and frictionless pivot help you on the way up. Once you flip the Free/Lock 2.0 lever into ski mode, the 130 flex makes them perfect for going downhill. The energy backbone provides strength reinforcement and precision, even at high speeds.
And yet, they remain comfortable. We have the Memory Fit and Mimic Liner to thank for that. The advanced heat-fit technology can provide a custom fit after wearing the boots for a while.
The mimic liner also provides extra warmth and is made from quick-drying material.
The boots are pretty narrow and fit tight to provide the perfect support, which is something to keep in mind when picking your size.
Perhaps the only negative is the price tag. They are not suited if you are on a budget. These boots are top quality with many unique features, and their price reflects that.
However, if you have the money to spend, Atomic HAWX Ultra XTD 130 Ski Boots are certainly a good investment.
Black Diamond Cirque 45
- Key features: SwingArm™ shoulder straps, Unique CINCH closure, Ice-tool PickPockets™,helmet flap,tools pocket with drain holes
- Best for: Cross Country/Backcountry Backpack
This backpack is great for backcountry skiers because it is very lightweight, yet it can carry all the necessities and accessories you need. Including your avalanche gear, there is a special pocket dedicated exclusively to that. Your safety kit stays accessible, and you don’t have to worry about searching through the whole pack to find it.
This backpack is designed in a simple minimalist style and seems to do quite a good job of staying out of the way and letting you move freely. With only 2.5 pounds, it is safe to say that it will not weigh you down. It is a 45-liter bag, but it is compressible to a smaller size thanks to 4 compression straps on the sides.
It is made out of durable material and features a helmet and ski carry flap, ice-tool PickPockets,tuck-away rope strap, and quick-deploy piolet system. SwingArm™ shoulder straps make the backpack comfortable, and the unique CINCH closure is made to open with a single pull.
The main downside is that the dedicated avalanche gear compartment does not have an external zipper. It is only accessible after opening the main pocket. People also point out that there are no load lifters, and the backpack is not built to carry heavy or big loads.
Mammut – Barryvox Package Light
- Key Features: All inclusive kits, Mammut brand products
- Best for: Avalanche Safety Gear
The necessary pieces of avalanche safety gear are a snow probe, snow shovel, and avalanche transceiver. The Mammut Barryvox Package has all three, and they are some of the highest quality products on the market. Before you test them in the field, make sure you have learned how to use them efficiently.
This safety kit consists of the digital 3-antenna Barryvox Avalanche Transceiver, the Avalanche Probe 240, and the Alugator Pro Light Avalanche Shovel.
The shovel is made with a hardened anodized aluminum blade, and an ergonomically shaped T handle grip. It provides an efficient transfer of strength, and thanks to its space-saving blade design, it is very lightweight. The shaft is telescopic, so the shovel is easily portable. It is an excellent lightweight functional shovel.
The avalanche transceiver is easy to navigate and simple to use, even with gloves on. It has an excellent range of 70 meters, one of the widest ranges found in transceivers. This reliable, high-performing device has a backlit screen that is easy to read. The shell is waterproof and impact-resistant. It is very popular thanks to its high quality and user-friendliness.
The snow probe is made of high-quality aluminum, which makes it durable. It is lightweight, functional, and stable. The telescopic locking makes it quick and easy to operate even if you are wearing gloves.
Cross Country Skiing – What You Need to Know
Take into account the following factor before purchasing your cross country ski gear.
Style of Cross Country Skiing
Before you buy any gear, you need to answer one important question. “Are you going to do classic cross country skiing, skate or backcountry? “
The kind of equipment you need to buy will differ based on your style preference. If you are undecided and want to try more than one, you need to look for universal gear or so-called “combi ”. If there’s only one style you want to focus on, it is best to pick a gear specialized towards it.
Your choice of style will also depend on the trails you have access to.
It is relatively easy to perform and can be practiced on both groomed trails and off-trails.
The skis for this style are a bit wider than skate skis, which makes them slower and better for maintaining balance. That is why they are the ideal choice for complete beginners as well as recreational skiers.
This technique is only practiced on groomed trails. It is more challenging to master than classic, and it requires a good fitness level to start with.
The skis are generally harder, shorter, and narrower than classic skis. The rest of your equipment should be light and designed not to restrict your movements.
The most adventurous out of the three techniques – Backcountry skiing is performed off-trail. It usually involves touring through mountains and secluded areas.
The uncontrolled terrain is why this style is considered quite dangerous. You should definitely add an avalanche kit to your backpack if you are planning to attempt it.
These skis are the widest and usually have metal edges. People often use them with removable skins in order to ascend more efficiently.
If you’re only a beginner, you might be inclined to Fishscale skis or Skin skis. They are easier to care for because they don’t require to be waxed.
Combi equipment suited for both classic and skating is handy for beginners, but as you get more advanced, you will want more specialized equipment.
The hardness of your skis will also change with your level. Generally, the more advanced you get, the harder your skis get.
Best Cross Country Ski Gear – What to Consider?
Here are a few factors that you should consider while choosing your cross country ski gear.
It doesn’t matter what level you are at. Your gear needs to be durable. The last thing you need is your gear breaking in the middle of your trip in the mountains.
It is going to have to withstand different kinds of weather, many falls, and often long and not so gentle transportation.
Whether it is windy, snowing, or sunny- your gear should be able to handle anything. You are probably going to get soaked at some point. Better be ready for that and buy quality waterproof gear that will protect you from the elements.
Finding the perfect size and fit for your gear is essential in any sport. Make sure you get a pair of boots that can fit your foot snuggly, you need to walk in these boots for a long time.
In cross country skiing, it will depend on the style you are doing, the level of experience and your weight and height.
You need your gear to be comfortable and lightweight.
If it is something you are going to wear, don’t forget that layering is the key. Water and wind-proof outerwear, and moisture-wicking base are ideal. Look for a breathable fit that allows you a full range of motion.
If you are not wearing it, make sure it is easily portable.
Useful Information and Tips
Here are some useful information tips for organizing your cross country trip.
- Attend an avalanche course before heading out to any off-piste area, learn how to use all the safety gears first
- Choose highly breathable ski wears, from base layers, mid layers, inner gloves, to face mask. You will sweat quite a bit so highly breathable can keep you warm and comfortable.
- Bring along a chocolate bar, an energy gel, and some candy, these will provide you instant energy when you are cold or tired
- Always wear a helmet, cross country skiing may involve less skiing but it’s always a good idea to keep you safe, especially at the off-piste area.
- Double check your gears before your trip starts, specially your ski skins if you are heading out for a back country trip.
We believe that Atomic HAWX Ultra XTD 130 Ski Boots, Black, Diamond Cirque 45, and Mammut – Barryvox Package Light should be considered as the best gears for cross country skiing.
Have lots of fun and enjoy a blue bird day out there!