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  1. #1
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    OT: Cross country ski question

    Hi there guys! I'm hoping someone could help me out. I'm looking to do some cross country skiing this winter, I've got a set through REI in mind to use my dividend on. Would these be good for a beginner? Is this a classic or skate style? Rossignol X-Tour Escape Cross-Country Skis with NIS plates - Free Shipping at REI.com

    Any good cross country forums that I can read through and direct questions?

    Thanks much!!

  2. #2
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    What kind of XC skiing do you want to do? Skiing categories are as diverse as the mtb categories, possibly more so.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  3. #3
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    OT: Cross country ski question

    Shows how much I know! I just figured it was as simple as the two techniques.

    I've never done it before so I really don't know what I really am looking for. I'd like to go to the sno parks up by Bachelor and even the nordic trails at Bachelor. I think that the skate technique looks a little more fun.

    Does that help?

  4. #4
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    That ski looks to be a groomed trail touring ski and would be great if you want to stay on the groomed. It's narrow enough for in or out of the track. You can certainly skate with it, or any ski for that matter, but nothing works as well as a true skate ski to skate.

    Skate skis have no sidecut (Straight edges from tip to tail) to allow you to set the edge and control when skating. For ease of skating they are slightly shorter than touring skis for your given height. They have very little camber (arch built into the ski from tip to tail) which allows you to push off the edge much easier than a touring ski with more camber. Most skate skis also have waxable bases and no grip pattern cut into the base like touring skis.

    Touring skis have more camber so the grip section (Center area with textured pattern or Grip Wax) remains above the snow for ease of glide when standing evenly on both skis. When you stand on one ski the ski flattens out to allow traction to kick forward.

    And if you want to explore off trail, I'd look into touring skis with a metal edge, the metal edges help in firmer to icy conditions. These are shorter and with more side cut to allow better maneuverability and are wider for more stability. Skis with more side cut, metal edges and wider width don't track as well on groomed snow. Also look into a ski with a grip pattern cut into the base.

    Hope this helps.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  5. #5
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    And IMO, there is nothing more aerobically challenging that skate skiing. Plus, skiing is a nice change when winter turns nasty.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  6. #6
    Nat
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    I don't skate ski but just about everyone I know does. They tell me it's very technique-driven, so you'll probably want to take a lesson or two to make it enjoyable. My wife did a group multi-week lesson years ago up at the Nordic Center and had a lot of fun.

    Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort - Nordic Programs

  7. #7
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    OT: Cross country ski question

    Thanks for all that info OldHouseMan!!

    Nat - I was thinking I'd probably have to take some lessons! Otherwise I'll probably flail around and also crash every downhill.

  8. #8
    Nat
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    I have a classic xc setup that I use about once every five years or so. I got booking down a hill pretty good up at Meissner and had no idea how to check my speed. I was within the tracks so my plan to snowplow wasn't going to work. I'm amazed I didn't tear both ACLs!

  9. #9
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    I took a few skate ski lessons and then found these video lessons to be very helpful..

    Playlist Skate Ski Techniques - Entire 16 Video Series - YouTube

    Meissner typically grooms Dec - Mar on Sun,Tues,Thurs,Sat. On other days I will classic ski on many of the same trails I ride in the summer.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dry Side View Post
    On other days I will classic ski on many of the same trails I ride in the summer.
    We also ski the same areas that we ride around Mt Hood and a few other places in the area too. It's a lot of fun being in these places at different times of year.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  11. #11
    newfydog
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    No way in hell is that ski for skating!!!!!!!

    The key to skating is a really, really fast ski. That ski has waxless fish scales, which give you some classic kick, but just kill the glide.

    A really good skater, in the right fast snow, could skate with that on the flats or down a slight hill. No beginner will ever learn to successfully skate uphill on a ski like that.

  12. #12
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    I'd start off with renting to see which type fits me the best. One of our favorite shops for Nordic is WebCyclery|WebSkis


    Skate



    Cross Country Skiing - Women's 10Km Free - Complete Event - Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games - YouTube

  13. #13
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    Classic


  14. #14
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    OT: Cross country ski question

    Thanks everyone! Looks like I'd be better spending money on a new 1x9 drivetrain and renting skis for a year or two to determine what would be best. Cheers!

  15. #15
    newfydog
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    Great video, except they use the Canadian terminology, which no one else on earth uses!

  16. #16
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    I'm in the same boat at you Jeremy. I plan to get skate skis this season. No idea what to buy.

  17. #17
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    OT: Cross country ski question

    Right on Joe! Well if I end up with some skis, we'll have to hit the trails.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sketchbook View Post
    I'm in the same boat at you Jeremy. I plan to get skate skis this season. No idea what to buy.
    Pay a visit to Webskis. They are very helpful.

  19. #19
    newfydog
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    Any skating ski will probable be pretty good----just be sure it is a ski designed for skating, and skating only. Anything else will work as well as a WalMart bike on the whoops.

    +1 for web skis.

  20. #20
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    Listen to Newfy. He know his Nordic sheeeeeeet.

  21. #21
    newfydog
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    My friends do anyway. My next door neighbor has two Olympic medals. A current world champion in the sprint relay stayed at our house for a training camp. If you want to learn to skate,(or any other type of XC skiing) Bend is probably the best town in the country. There are trails, lessons, all sorts of used gear available. We have a really long season---take advantage of it!

  22. #22
    dwt
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    OT: Cross country ski question

    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    And IMO, there is nothing more aerobically challenging that skate skiing.
    Agreed! Skating uphill (especially at altitude) has humbled many an athlete. Proper ski flex and good glide wax must haves. Not to say that classic done properly is not a tough workout, but skating is the giant killer.

    Classic is easier to learn, as the movements mimic walking and running, so poling, kick and glide are more or less intuitive. Skating alternate poling technique (known as V1) OTOH takes a while to get, especially as you start to change sides. Having said that, classic is harder to master, taking years of practice to do properly with any hint of Scandinavian elegance. Once you get the hang of poling techniques, skating is a tad easier to master. Both classic and skating require good balance. Done properly, you ski and glide on one leg at a time. Beginners tend to shuffle without fully transferring weight ski to ski.
    Last edited by dwt; 11-15-2013 at 06:13 PM.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  23. #23
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    ^^^ Exactly. I tell newcomers to skating to 1) take a few lessons, and 2) don't try and skate up any really long hills until you've got at least 10 hours under your belt. It will just demoralize you.

    Another point is that it snows a lot in the PNW. I love to skate, but it isn't much fun in 5 inches of new snow. For that reason, if I could only own one pair of xc skis, they would be classic skis.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  24. #24
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    OT: Cross country ski question

    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post

    Another point is that it snows a lot in the PNW. I love to skate, but it isn't much fun in 5 inches of new snow. For that reason, if I could only own one pair of xc skis, they would be classic skis.
    Have you ever made the trip to Ketchum ID? The Blaine County recreation and Galena trails are groomed daily for tracks and skate. IFRC, 100 km. Simply awesome and quite challenging terrain at Galena. Never had to plough through inches of freshies. Only tough skating snow conditions are when it gets too cold to wax. sandpaper
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  25. #25
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    OT: Cross country ski question

    Quote Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
    Any skating ski will probable be pretty good----just be sure it is a ski designed for skating, and skating only. Anything else will work as well as a WalMart bike on the whoops.

    +1 for web skis.
    Also make sure you get a ski properly flexed for your weight. Too soft you can't glide, too stiff you can't use all of the ski. I gained a ton of weight after a serious illness, and was I discouraged trying to skate on skis flexed for my previous weight! Ouch. Rented a pair of Rossi Xium flexed and waxed correctly, and frickin flew!
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    Another point is that it snows a lot in the PNW. I love to skate, but it isn't much fun in 5 inches of new snow. For that reason, if I could only own one pair of xc skis, they would be classic skis.
    This is why my XC skis are 105mm under the foot.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  27. #27
    newfydog
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Also make sure you get a ski properly flexed for your weight. Too soft you can't glide, too stiff you can't use all of the ski. I gained a ton of weight after a serious illness, and was I discouraged trying to skate on skis flexed for my previous weight! Ouch. Rented a pair of Rossi Xium flexed and waxed correctly, and frickin flew!
    I'll bet that is more in the base structure and wax than the flex. My wife and I borrow each other's skis often, because one pair has the right wax or or we use an old pair on rocky conditions. Flex is not such a big deal skating. Fast bottoms with good wax is.

    Flex IS a big deal for classic skis however.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
    I'll bet that is more in the base structure and wax than the flex. My wife and I borrow each other's skis often, because one pair has the right wax or or we use an old pair on rocky conditions. Flex is not such a big deal skating. Fast bottoms with good wax is.

    Flex IS a big deal for classic skis however.
    +1,000
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Have you ever made the trip to Ketchum ID? The Blaine County recreation and Galena trails are groomed daily for tracks and skate. IFRC, 100 km. Simply awesome and quite challenging terrain at Galena. Never had to plough through inches of freshies. Only tough skating snow conditions are when it gets too cold to wax. sandpaper
    That place is nordic heaven! And they even make a darn good, slightly decadent lunch at the Galena Lodge.

    We have good grooming here in the HR area, too, but there are plenty of days when they can finish grooming, and there wil stilll be new snow dumping down to the point that there is a bunch of it by the time I hit the trails at 9 or 9:30.

    The thing to remember about Ketchum is that they named the downhill area "Sun Valley", not "Snow Valley". In very round numbers, they get 200 inches of snow a year, while we routinely exceed 600.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  30. #30
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    OT: Cross country ski question

    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post

    The thing to remember about Ketchum is that they named the downhill area "Sun Valley", not "Snow Valley". In very round numbers, they get 200 inches of snow a year, while we routinely exceed 600.
    That is so unfortunately true. But the good news for Nordic skiers is that the Nordic trails get more snow than the alpine area, which is why so many locals have season passes to both.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  31. #31
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    OT: Cross country ski question

    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    I love to skate, but it isn't much fun in 5 inches of new snow. For that reason, if I could only own one pair of xc skis, they would be classic skis.
    I don't skate until the track has had a day or two to set up. Groomed fresh snow is still pretty squishy. Upside of living somewhere that it doesn't snow daily?

    I'm only a couple hours from West Yellowstone, which is a Nordic mecca. I keep saying I want to take a weekend clinic down there, but haven't gotten to it yet.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    I don't skate until the track has had a day or two to set up. Groomed fresh snow is still pretty squishy. Upside of living somewhere that it doesn't snow daily?
    That is an upside for sure, but the down side to that is that places that go long periods between snowfall can get pretty icy. Of course, decent grooming equipment can help on that front to an extent.

    I learned to skate in the UP of Michigan where we got pretty regular snowfall and almost never any wet heavy snow, and very few freeze/thaw cycles, so we almost never had icy conditions. Skating 5-6 days a week, and maybe a handful of icy days a year.

    Consequently, I can't skate for crap when it gets hard and icy.

  33. #33
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    Where at in the UP? I went to school at Northern Michigan. Had a few friends from high school go to Tech.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by feltbee View Post
    Where at in the UP? I went to school at Northern Michigan. Had a few friends from high school go to Tech.
    I went to school at Tech. Actually, saved my last 6 humanities credits so I could have one last winter term up there with easy course load so I could ski and snowboard a ton. All the guys I lived with were on Tech's nordic team, so had plenty of good access to good advice and pointers on nordic skiing, and also got a job that last term grooming the ski trails.

    Found my way over towards Marquette a few times. Did some snowmobiling up that way when I was in high school. Well...Munising area actually.

  35. #35
    dwt
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    OT: Cross country ski question

    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    Consequently, I can't skate for crap when it gets hard and icy.
    Name your poison: trudging uphill in mush and busting a gut, or flying downhill on ice and losing control.

    Having an extensive alpine skiing background, downhill on ice is not that much of an issue. Slogging uphill on soft snow usually is.

    Just around the corner, y'all. Don't lose your biking fitness.
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