Nordic Ski Equipment FAQ
What equipment do I need?
A varsity or a top level junior varsity skier will at a minimum have the following equipment:
- Skate skis
- Classic skis
- Skate poles
- Classic poles
- Combi boots (used for both skate and classic)
- Ski bag Ski shops will have packages selling this set of equipment.
A beginner skier may want to buy only a single pair of skis while they are giving the sport a try. Typically, they will first get a pair of skate skis and poles. If they continue with skiing, they can get classic skis the next year. Older (10th – 12th grade) beginning skiers that want to experience both ski techniques may want to get a pair of combi skis that can be used for both skating and classic.
A ski bag is also required. No skis will allowed to be stored in the wax room without a ski bag.
Does the school have ski equipment that I can use?
The team has a very limited number of skis available for rent. Priority will be given to first year skiers and foreign exchange students. Most skiers will have to buy their own skis and virtually everyone will need to buy their own pair of ski boots. Submit an equipment rental form form at the Kick-Off Meeting on November 14th.
What’s the difference between skate and classic skis?
Skate and classic skis are designed specifically for their designated technique with the main difference being the amount of flex and torsion of the skis. The main visual difference between the skis is that a skier’s classic skis will be longer than their skate skis.
It sounds like you are recommending skate skis over classic skis for beginner skiers?
Ideally, skiers will have both types of skis. The reason for suggesting skate skis is that beginner skiers overwhelmingly choose to skate versus classic. The reasons for this are that skating is a faster technique and that they don’t have to deal with applying kick wax that is required for classic skiing. If your skier has only classic skis, that is more than perfectly fine.
Tell me more about combi skis.
Combi skis have their place. Since they are used for both skate and classic skiing, this means that they don’t excel at either. There have been varsity skiers that have had success using combi skis. One big issue with combi skis is switching to and from skate wax and classic wax. It is a pain, but not impossible, If a skier gets combi skis, they can always later buy another set of skis and continue to use their combi skis for one of the techniques (usually classic).
Can I use no-wax skis?
Fish scale no-wax classic skis will be slower than wax classic skis and are not recommended for racing. If a beginner skier has a pair of skate skis and their family has a pair of no-wax classic skis they can use, then it is good idea to bring both skis to practice. This way the skier can practice both skate and classic technique.
There are special no-wax skis that are used for racing, but these skis will work well for only specific snow conditions. These skis are not recommended.
What size skis should I get?
Skis are sized for a person’s weight and not their height. When buying skis the sales person should check if the ski’s flex is appropriate by having the skier stand on the ski. This is a big reason why skis should be purchased at a ski store specializing in Nordic skiing. Some of the ski swaps, like the MYSL Ski Swap, will also have trained people to assist with sizing skis.
Can I use an old pair of skis that we have in the garage?
Maybe. If you need to buy other equipment like boots, bring these skis to the ski shop to see if they are an appropriate size for the skier.
What’s the difference between skate and classic poles?
There is no difference between the poles themselves other than skate poles will be longer than classic poles. Skate poles will come up to around a skier’s chin or lower lip, while classic poles will come up to around the skier’s shoulder.
Should I get NNN or SNS bindings?
Either type of binding is fine. Try on different boots and choose which ever boot is most comfortable. The boot will then determine which binding you will get. Since combi boots are recommended for beginner and intermediate racers, the same type of binding system should be purchased for the classic and skate skis.
Isn’t it better to get separate skate and classic boots than combi boots?
You should first get combi boots because if you eventually achieve a level where it makes sense to invest in more equipment, the combi boots can be used for summer roller skiing.
Is ski equipment expensive?
Yes, but there are ways to mitigate the cost. A new set of racing ski equipment (2 skis: classic and skate; 2 sets of poles: classic and skate; one pair of combi boots) begin at around $600. Here are ways to reduce your equipment cost:
- Always be sure to ask for the high school team discount, as most ski shops do offer a discount for members of high school Nordic teams.
- Buy only one set of skis. Beginning skiers may want to only get a pair of skate skis and poles. If they continue with skiing they can get classic skis the next year. Older (10th– 12th grade) beginning skiers that want to experience both ski techniques may want to get a pair of combi skis that can be used for both skating and classic.
- Buy used equipment. There are a handful of local ski swaps that sell Nordic equipment. The best sources of used equipment are your neighbors and friends that have had kids in Nordic skiing.
- Buy older model equipment. Ski shops will have new equipment from one, two, or more years ago that will be less expensive.
- Consider that the seller market for equipment is very good. The demand for used ski equipment is much greater than the supply. If you re-sell your equipment, you will get back a significant portion of what you paid for it.
Where can I buy or sell used Nordic ski equipment?
There are ski swaps where you can buy and sell used equipment. The ski swaps usually have trained people to help size the equipment correctly. The largest Nordic ski swap is the MYSL. This ski swap and others are usually mentioned in the Edina Nordic weekly email communications.
You can check the Edina Nordic Ski Swap page for equipment. There is usually not much for sale, as the demand for used equipment is greater than the supply.
If you are buying used equipment from another person, try asking them if you can bring the equipment to a knowledgeable person to be make sure you’re getting the correct size.
Do I need any other equipment?
If you are planning on going on long ski training sessions, then a water bottle and water bottle holder is nice to have. A digital watch is also good to have for workouts.
I’ve got my new equipment, now what?
First thing, put your name on all your equipment! Skis look a like, so it is very easy for equipment to get mixed up. Also, put something like a ribbon on your ski bag to easily distinguish it from all the other identical looking ski bags. Now get out there and ski!