How to Choose Cross Country Skis
Cross country skiing is a great way to get outside and build up a sweat in the cold winter months. Feel invigorated and inspired by spending time outdoors and discovering your area in the winter. Get a couple sets of skis and boots for your chalet and head out the backdoor or make a day trip to the groomed trails around Ontario.
S&B Pro Tip: At all Skiis & Biikes locations and online, buy any pair of cross country skis, ski boots, and bindings together and save 10% off the total price.
  • To buy online, simply add a cross country ski, boot, and binding to your cart and the 10% discount is automatically applied at checkout.
  • Offer applies to regular-price, in-stock merchandise.
  • Cross country ski poles sold separately.
  • Our certified ski techs can mount the skis for free while you wait.

Nordic Skiing Basics

Track Skiing

This style of skiing is practiced on groomed or track-set terrain, often on or around local ski hills. The skis are fairly narrow, have no metal edges, and are available with waxable or waxless bases.
  • Classic skis are characterized by the stride-and-glide motion that most people think of when they envision Nordic skiing.
  • Skating or freestyle skis offer a more aerobic form of Nordic skiing that involves a pronounced pole plant and an angled skating motion.
  • High-performance skis, either classic or skating, are designed for those entering recreational races or training for improved performance.

Off-Track Touring

Designed for people who do most of their skiing on ungroomed trails and terrain, these cross-country skis range from models that are a little wider than classic skis up to beefy mountaineering skis that have metal edges.
    Touring skis suit snowy and hilly terrain. Shorter and wider than most Nordic skis, they also tend to be slightly heavier and more durable. They often have full metal edges to aid in traversing and descending.

    The person on the left is skate skiing and the person on the right is classic skiing on a track.
    You don’t need the groomed grooves to classic ski, you can go in the woods or on a golf course and make your own path (off track). It is very difficult to enjoy skate skiing without a groomed path. As a result, classic skiing is a better choice for more people who just want to get out, do some cross-country skiing, and have some versatility.

    Skiis & Biikes stocks mostly classic skis and usually only one model of skate skis. We stock recreational and fitness skis. If a customer wants high performance or racing skis, they will have to special order them with us.

    Ski Length

    Most skis are now shorter and wider than they used to be, offering more maneuverability and speed at the same time. Lengths are now determined by weight and intensity, but models still use height. The weight range is usually printed on the front of the ski around the binding, and there is a slight overlap. Choose the longer end of the sizing range if you are more experienced or will be skiing with more intensity.
    • If a classic ski length choice is based on height, select a ski that is 10-15 cm higher than the person’s height.
    • Junior skis should be 10-20 cm taller than the child.

    Camber and Stiffness

    Camber refers to the upward arching of a ski in the middle, more specifically its resistance to flattening when weighted. Ski stiffness and the amount of camber varies among ski manufacturers. Ski staff usually consult the manufacturer’s suggestions when matching ski length with skier weight.

    Torsional or lateral stiffness is the ski’s ability to resist twisting. In untracked snow, a torsionally stiff ski will not be deflected by terrain irregularities. However, many people prefer a slightly softer tip that will flow around irregularities on Nordic tracks and is less likely to jump out of a set track.
    • Classic skis have a double camber shape that give them a high, pronounced curve underfoot. The curve keeps the wax pocket or patterned base out of the snow in the glide phase, and engages during the kick phase. The balance of contact and float is critical to classic technique.
    • Skating skis have a single stiff camber, more like alpine skis. If your skis are too soft you’ll lose power through the push phase, and your skis won’t glide smoothly. Too much camber will make it difficult to set the edge of the ski, particularly when you’re climbing.

    Sidecut and Dual Sidecut

    Sidecut indicates the shape or profile of the ski and affects the way a ski tracks (travels in a straight line) and turns. Skis with limited sidecut and a straighter profile (classic skis) track  forward easily. Lots of sidecut makes turning easy but tracking won’t be as smooth. Skating skis usually have minimal sidecut: the tips and tails are only slightly wider than the waist. to make them stable in the glide phase.

    Dual sidecut describes the shape of high-performance skis that have a wider shovel, waist, and tail. The advantage is more power in the push phase and the ability to easily return to centre during the glide phase.

    Waxless and Waxable Bases for Classic Skis

    Waxable skis are the choice for racers or for high-performance training. Traction comes from the kick wax (also known as klister) applied to the middle third of the ski. When you release the kick portion of the ski, glide comes from a different wax (glide wax) applied to the rest of the base. As waxing is part art, part science, it  takes patience and practice, to learn to wax for all conditions, but a well-waxed ski rides smoother and faster than any waxless ski, especially in consistent temperatures, above or below freezing. Waxing in warmer, coastal climates can be a bit of a challenge.

    Waxless skis have an area of textured pattern on the base that grips snow, yet allows the ski to glide when it’s released or when you’re going downhill. They suit casual skiers or people who just want a pair of skis to keep at the cabin, or skiers looking for an efficient choice for for all-conditions training. They need little maintenance, usually just some glide wax on the tip and tail sections.

    Nordic Boots

    Remember to choose boots that will fit into the bindings you currently have or will be buying.

    Boots should fit comfortably snug. You should try on boots with the socks that you intend to be skiing in. It’s recommended to use a medium to thick wool sock. The wool will draw the sweat away from your foot to keep you warm and dry. Even if the wool sock gets wet, it will still keep you warm and won’t give you that clammy chilled feeling. You should walk around the store in your boots to ensure you aren’t experiencing any hot spots or pressure points.

    Nordic Poles

    Poles for Classic

    Remember to choose boots that will fit into the bindings you currently have or will be buying.

    Boots should fit comfortably snug. You should try on boots with the socks that you intend to be skiing in. It’s recommended to use a medium to thick wool sock. The wool will draw the sweat away from your foot to keep you warm and dry. Even if the wool sock gets wet, it will still keep you warm and won’t give you that clammy chilled feeling. You should walk around the store in your boots to ensure you aren’t experiencing any hot spots or pressure points.

    Poles for Skate

    To fit poles for skating, put the pole tip at the back of the heel, and have the arm grabbing the pole and reaching to the front. The arm should be parallel to the floor.

    Nordic Bindings

    Choose the binding that will fit with the boots that you have chosen. The boot and binding have to be compatible.

    Fischer Step In IFP Bindings

    This is a new binding from Fischer, but it is compatible with any NNN bindings that they used in the past.

    The user-friendly IFP Turnamic binding allows for easy exit and entry. Technique, temperature and snow composition all have an influence on ski performance: With all Turnamic models, this completely tool free adjustment allows skiers to better match their individual needs. Sliding the system forward provides more grip, while sliding it back will noticeably improve glide.
    • Compatible with NNN boots.
    • Compatible with IFP mounting plate only.

    Salomon Prolink

    Easy to use, the stable Prolink binding is made with the Prolink 2 rail system to create a solid ski connection with exceptional snow feel and easy kick.
    • Compatible with NNN boots.

    Salomon SNS Profil

    Touring bindings for trail skiing, the Salomon® Nordic System (SNS) uses a pivot located at the boot tip for good control and lateral stability.
    • Operates automatically when stepping in, releases with the tip of a ski pole.
    • Compatible with SNS Profil boots.

    Salomon SNS Pilot

    • Features an automatic user-friendly step in system.
    • Bumperless technology provides less pressure on the toe for more comfort.
    • Back set pivot point provides a natural forefoot rolling, more power transmission and control (2 axis system).
    • Compatible with SNS Pilot boots.

    Skis we stock:

    Fitness Skis

    Fitness cross country skiing is about the joy of classic style movement through the snow. Fitness skis are easy to maintain with proven technologies, so full focus is on the skiing. Efficient forward technology offers both beginners and advanced recreational skiers an efficient, forgiving kick action for smooth gliding.

    Cruising Fitness Skis

    Cruising Fitness skis are mid-length for easy handling, especially on downhills and when stopping, with excellent overall stability.

    Fischer Apollo EF Skis:
    • Efficient Forward (EF) enables beginners and intermediates to experience an efficient and forgiving kick action for relaxed journeys on the trail.
    • An allround entry-level ski, offers stability and easy handling - especially downhill and when braking.
    Salomon Snowscape 7 Skis / Salomon Snowscape 7 Siam Skis
    • Wide-bodied, versatile skis with a stiff camber that’s easy to handle. Great glide for exploring on and off-track and all-day excursions.
    • Low profile tip and tail are light to improve your kick and swing.
    • Camber gives complete contact of the grip zone with the snow during kick for more maneuverability.
    • G2 Plus Grip waxless bases with Salomon® performance universal grinding base tuning.

    Lightweight Fitness Sport Skis (with Waxless Base)

    Lightweight fitness sport skis come in traditional length to glide easily on the trail and help you work towards your fitness goals.
    Fischer Fibre Crown EF Skis (had Vario Crown - Waxless Base)
    • Efficient Forward (EF) technology combines materials to increase elasticity for a forgiving kick and an easy-going ski experience.
    • Power Layer light, high pressure laminate saves weight.
    • Wood core has weight-saving air channels and basalt fibres to ensure perfect flex.
    • Vario Crown base has an optimized wax pocket pattern that comes into contact with the snow earlier for more direct, safer kick action.
    • Sintec bases with ultra tuning have an offset base structure that is suitable for all conditions.
    • Mounting plate accepts compatible IPF bindings.
    Fischer Twin Skin Power EF Skis (has Twin Skins - Good on Hard Packed/Icy Conditions)
    • EF (Efficient Forward) design uses composite materials to increase elasticity in the body of the ski for a forgiving kick and an easy going skiing experience.
    • Twin Skin technology uses 2 offset mohair mix strips for smooth, balanced gliding without grip wax.
    • Air channel basalite cores provides lightness, torsion-free construction and stable sidewalls.
    • Volcanic basalt fibres reduce weight and provide excellent flex characteristics.
    • Mounting plate accepts compatible IPF bindings.