Cross Country Skiing - To Skate Ski or To Classic Ski?

Cross country skiing has evolved into almost 2 separate sports - one with the skating technique, and the other using the diagonal stride or classic skiing technique.  Here at Brian's Bicycles and Cross Country Skis at Mammoth Lakes California we get the question of whether to purchase skate or classic digs when starting out.  What's the distinction?  And can you package be utilized for both skating and classic xc skiing?  Many are familiar with the classic xc ski technique or known as striding.  Many simply wanting to venture their back yard pick a ski ski - an all around ski that can be utilized both in ungroomed and groomed xc trails.  These classic skis are broader than a racing ski, and have fish scales that function to replace kick wax in the area beneath the foot.  This allows the user to propel forward up a mountain without slipping backwards, or "missing" a kick.  For the more serious athlete race classic xc skis, boots, bindings and poles are somewhat different than the touring ski.  The race ski is lighter and thinner than the touring ski equivalent.   The binding functions mainly to keep the boot to the ski, and offers little stability compared to a skating boot.  Ski rod length to your classic technique typically extends into the arm pit.

These rods are light, and inflexible and are typically made of carbon fiber or the equivalent light material.  Skate skiing xc equipment is very different than the classic nordic equipment.  The skate skis are typically shorter than the classic skis, but are also light and thin.  Contrary to the classic boots, skating boots are extremely rigid and often fit the foot snugly.  The skating boots extend above the ankle, allowing for greater support when shoving against side to side.  The skate binding is also inflexible, allowing for greater stability than the classic binding.  XC pole span is also longer than the classic rod.  Skating sticks stretch typically into the height of the nose that is alveolar.  These rods are also light and rigid.  The cross country ski world does make a "combi" boot than can be utilized for both classic and skating, but the disadvantage of this boot is that is does well.  For classic skiing, it tends to be a bit rigid and fairly uncomfortable.  For skating, the boot tends to be too soft leading to a less stable ski.  

To answer the question of what to purchase first - skate skis or classic digs.  In Mammoth Lakes California we have noticed a general trend of purchasing skate skis first.   It's well worth taking a skating lesson if you are a newcomer - or even if you are an experienced xc skier - great technique will go a very long way.  There is not anything wrong with the classic skiing - but it will tend to require greater skill in the technique to become proficient at it.  There are a few that choose simply to skate ski, but this restricts the number of ski days available, because on snowy days or after heavy snows classic skiing will probably be ideal.  After heavy snows or on snowy days, skate skiing is cumbersome since the ski hints tend to get caught in the loose powder.  If you are considering purchasing a cross country ski package, see our online shop at  or come into our Mammoth Lakes shop at 3059 Chateau Road.  Tel -LRB-760-RRB- 924-8566 .  Happy nordic skiing to you! 

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