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  1. #1
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    Help an MTBer figure out XC ski equipment

    With the riding season drawing to a close I'm thinking about getting an XC ski setup for this winter. Are there things I should look for in a setup, or is XC ski tech pretty simple? FWIW, when mountain biking I trend towards rides with long-ass climbs followed by long downhills. Looking for a similar level workout on the XC skis. Any advice from mtb'ers out there? Thanks in advance, Rick

  2. #2
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    Help an MTBer figure out XC ski equipment

    XC ski gear can be simple, but like anything else, it can get super complicated. When you get into waxing, for example.

    Just as mountain bikes can be generally sorted into XC, trail, AM, etc. you can do something similar with XC skis. I generally look for similar experiences on my skis- basically I want to get out on the same trails I ride, but skating is fun, too. have 3 pairs- 1 skate, one touring (Atomic Rainiers) and one burly touring / tele (Karhu Guides). I wouldn't mind getting a pair of classic tracks skis, too.

    You need to identify how and where you'll ski. The easiest recommendation is to get a decent pair of metal edged waxless touring skis, and choose the width based on whether you think you'll ski at groomed areas or not (groomed tracks have grooves that wider skis won't fit). Atomic Sierras have been a solid all-round choice for years now, although I haver explored the market for a few winters.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  3. #3
    Chronic 1st-timer
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsmarg View Post
    With the riding season drawing to a close I'm thinking about getting an XC ski setup for this winter.........
    Huh?
    Les grimpées, je m'en fou!

  4. #4
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    I bought a pair of Fischer mountain crown's about 14 years ago and use them about 3-4 times a year. They are waxless with metal edges. I only take them out after fresh snow and am always breaking trail so the experience is much more like hiking than mtb or skiing. Same course I mtb in an hour easily takes me 2.5 - 3 on the skis and is a definte workout.

  5. #5
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    If you are wanting to hit the winter trails and fire roads then look for a nice backcountry touring setup. Typically these are skis with less camber (i.e, flatter and less springy) and range between 70-83 mm wide at the tip to help you track through fresh snow. The skis will tend to have between 15 and 20 mm of sidecut. The boots will be higher and stiffer to help you turn on powder or crud. Definitely what you want for a style of cross country skiing comparable to trail or AM mountain biking on single track.

    If you are wanting to go to a xc area, or only on well-tracked roads (think following snowmobile tracks) look for double cambered skis with a range between 55-70mm tip and little sidecut. The boots will be lighter with less control for turning. This would be more comparable to XC racing on a hardtail.

    BTW: I think REI is having a XC gear sale starting friday at the flagship store.

  6. #6
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    Oh yeah, and make sure you have at least 3/4 metal edges if you plan on doing anything other than groomed xc area trails. I refuse to have anything without full metal edges.

  7. #7
    Alaskan in exile.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lubes17319 View Post
    Huh?
    Exactly what I was thinking!
    nanook93
    Ride what you like, like what you ride.

  8. #8
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    The answer is Fat Bike.

  9. #9
    zrm
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    XC skiing is great fun and one of the best all around form of exercise there is. It takes a while to get competent at it though, even if you are a good alpine skier. You'll learn faster at either a groomed Nordic area or on well packed, fairly trails/roads. XC skiing is about a lot more than just exercise, it takes technique to do it well and get the most out of it. Just going out on steep winding trails without some basic skills will be frustrating and not much fun.

    As to gear, as others have mentioned, the Nordic spectrum is large. Everything from 40mm wide skate or classic to telemark skis that are as wide as alpine skis. I have 7 pairs of "skinny" skis and each one has it's niche/purpose (that doesn't include all my backcountry skis). Something in between like the Madshus Glittertend (there are a lot of skis in this category that will suffice) that is around 65mm wide at the tip is a good all around kick n glide type ski that has a full metal edge. Personally, I like waxable skis (no fishscales, you apply kick wax) over fishscales but I'm a Nordic nerd and don't mind waxing. There's no doubt though, that waxless skis are easier for a novice or casual XC skier to make good use of.

    There are a lot of boots out there. Fit is, of course, very important. You'll not want to do long days if your feet hurt. A fairly stout boot with a NNN BC binding is probably what you'll want to start. Stay away from really light track oriented boots/bindings for general trail skiing. Likewise, you wont need heavier boots/skis or telemark type bindings for general kick n glide touring. Save the big stuff for making turns.

  10. #10
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCS5280 View Post
    The answer is Fat Bike.
    Snow is for sliding. The Scandinavians figured this out thousands of years ago.

  11. #11
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    This is awesome. Thanks everyone for the feedback! I live at 8000 feet, so the sad reality is riding season is over as a daily hobby unless I drive or get a fatty (which would be a tough sell to the wife as I just got a new 29er last spring).

    Have found some impressive deals on those Atomics. I think I'll check the REI sale this weekend. Boulder Nordic is also supposedly having some deals.

    Thanks again all!

  12. #12
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsmarg View Post
    This is awesome. Thanks everyone for the feedback! I live at 8000 feet, so the sad reality is riding season is over as a daily hobby unless I drive or get a fatty (which would be a tough sell to the wife as I just got a new 29er last spring).

    Have found some impressive deals on those Atomics. I think I'll check the REI sale this weekend. Boulder Nordic is also supposedly having some deals.

    Thanks again all!
    If you're in Summit County the Breckenridge Nordic Center is having its annual swap this weekend.

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