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XC Equipment advice please

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hello Guys. I'm new to the forum and XC skiing. I'm afraid I'm a newbie asking for equipment advice. :rolleyes

 

I am an instructor of Alpine & Telemark skiing but am clueless about XC. I've done a bit of research online into equipment but could still really use some help picking out equipment. Obviously the best thing for the clueless to do is head to a shop for advice and buy there… however I really want to buy online from Salomon, purely because I get a discount with them. There is so much choice on the Salomon site I don't know where to start.

 

So, here is my info. I'm a pretty good Alpine Skier, average telemarker & I've been on Classic XC skis once. I want to Skate & Classic. I want skis that will give me stability whilst learning but I won't out grow too quickly. I'm 167cm & 50kg (female).

 

Can anyone suggest both a Salomon Classic & Skate ski that would suit my needs, and the right lengths? (As I know nothing maybe a waxless ski for classic would be best?).

 

Also should I get a combo boot if I want to do both skate and classic? Or do I need separate boots? I'd rather save cash and get one boot, but I don't want to get a combo boot if they are rubbish for both techniques.

 

And bindings…. ?

 

Thanks for any advice  

post #2 of 12

You will need two skis -- a classic (diagonal) ski and a skate ski.  Probably waxless for the classic, with width depending on whether you will be skiing groomed (set) tracks or merely pre-skied or fresh snow.  For groomed track skiing, look at the 44-50 mm width; for ungroomed but pre-skied, look for skis labelled 50-59; for fresh, 57 - 77.  

You can do just fine with one boot -- a very supportive Combi boot (the Equipe pilot looks to be fine).  As in alpine, boots are really where it's at.  They don't need to be form-fitting like alpine, but you need lots of support -- especially for skating.  Far too many folks have quit xc skiing b/c they had soft, non-supportive boots which exacerbated the lack of control relative to alpine.  

 

I really don't know Solomon skis per se, but if you are looking for a set-track ski, it looks like the Elite 9 or 7 would work.

For skied but not machine-set tracks, I'd suggest Snowscape 8 or 9.

For ungroomed and fresh, maybe xadv Escape.  

 

As for bindings...if you buy Solomon, you will buy the Solomon system.  You don't need race bindings, but I'd go to the "training" level -- see the website.  

 

Ski sizes are done by weight and experience.  I'm not gonna recommend for you b/c I'm male, older, heavier, and more experienced, so I'm not in your ballpark.  Too long/stiff and you can't get the kick pattern on to the snow.  Too short and the skis drag, slowing you down.  One place to start is here: http://www.nordicskiersports.com/salomon-xc-ski-sizing-charts.html

I would discuss size with a shop or experienced Solomon dealer who knows the skis.

post #3 of 12
Assume you are talking about xc skiing at an area where the trails are laid out and groomed for both skate and classic. Correct? Also assuming you are reasonably fit and ambitious, with good balance and happiness with speed, since you are already an alpine instructor.

Suggest you start with one discipline, not both, and see how it goes for a couple months. You will outgrow combi gear within a few weeks if you fit my characterization above, and two full sets of equipment is a big investment. Skate is faster and less fussy about conditions and wax, but arguably less forgiving of sloppy technique, at least until you get to certain level. Classic is more subtle and zen. It's good if you're a runner and just want to keep doing that in a more slippery environment. smile.gif

Let's put it this way: The large majority of kids on my son's high school team much prefer skate.

Do not skimp on poles.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Oh yes definitely groomed trails, keep the fluffy stuff for going down hill on!

 

Your assumptions are correct, although I'm not as fit as I should be, after a very bad Alpine accident put me out of action last season….. one of the reasons for getting into XC.

 

I am a little wary of skate, because I am a crap skater on Alpines and ice skates, roller blades etc :mad but I would much rather do skate than classic if I can figure it out! Also outside of those classic grooves I am like Bambi on Ice on those skinny XC skis ;) (although I was injured at the time, very sore and banned from falling over by the Doc).

 

I had a feeling that maybe a combi boot would not really be ideal for either discipline.

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by UserC View Post
 

I am a little wary of skate, because I am a crap skater on Alpines and ice skates, roller blades etc :mad

 

Interesting, but probably an issue for another thread. 

 

Most inline beginners buy or rent skates that are too big; you will definitely want a snugger feel in your XC boots than /that/.   

 

Sorry to hear about your accident, hope you're mostly recovered. 

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by UserC View Post
 

So, here is my info. I'm a pretty good Alpine Skier, average telemarker & I've been on Classic XC skis once. I want to Skate & Classic. I want skis that will give me stability whilst learning but I won't out grow too quickly. I'm 167cm & 50kg (female).

 

Can anyone suggest both a Salomon Classic & Skate ski that would suit my needs, and the right lengths? (As I know nothing maybe a waxless ski for classic would be best?).

 

Did not get to this bit in my earlier post.

 

Flex is key with xc skis, as @tch correctly pointed out. This could potentially be an issue for you, going in without good in-person guidance on ski selection, because you are quite light for your height. For this reason, you will likely need a ski that is either shorter than normal for someone your height (i.e., built for a smaller person), or one that is the right length for your height but softer-flexing than normal. The latter is preferable, if possible. The good news is that you can buy xc skis with different flexes. The bad news is that 1) They tend to be the more expensive higher-end skis and 2) Sometimes identifying the right specific individual pair can be a challenge without expert help. (For context, when you go into a shop that caters to racers each individual pair of skis - not just each model - will have a specific flex rating, usually expressed in an inscrutable number that doesn't correlate transparently with anything. Atomic is one exception - they have a skier weight range in kg and lbs printed right on the ski, albeit in tiny, nearly-invisible type.)

 

With all that in mind, a good candidate skate ski for you would appear to be the Equipe RS Med/Soft. Equipe RS appears to be their current mid-range skate line, presumably replacing past years' Equipe 9, if you are looking at the sizing chart referenced by tch. (I have skied on the Equipe 9 for a day and liked it, for what that's worth.) Apparently the RS Skate comes in at 170cm (skier weight <121 lbs) and 177cm (99 to 132 lbs). I would probably put you on the 177 because of your height. (That's why you'd want the "soft" version.) The lower level Equipe 7/8 line does not appear to come in multiple flexes.

 

Note: I am not a pro at this stuff, but am simply applying my seat-of-the-pants amateur knowledge gained with some shopping for me and my family over the years. Hope that helps.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post
 

 

Did not get to this bit in my earlier post.

 

Flex is key with xc skis, as @tch correctly pointed out. This could potentially be an issue for you, going in without good in-person guidance on ski selection, because you are quite light for your height. For this reason, you will likely need a ski that is either shorter than normal for someone your height (i.e., built for a smaller person), or one that is the right length for your height but softer-flexing than normal. The latter is preferable, if possible. The good news is that you can buy xc skis with different flexes. The bad news is that 1) They tend to be the more expensive higher-end skis and 2) Sometimes identifying the right specific individual pair can be a challenge without expert help. (For context, when you go into a shop that caters to racers each individual pair of skis - not just each model - will have a specific flex rating, usually expressed in an inscrutable number that doesn't correlate transparently with anything. Atomic is one exception - they have a skier weight range in kg and lbs printed right on the ski, albeit in tiny, nearly-invisible type.)

 

With all that in mind, a good candidate skate ski for you would appear to be the Equipe RS Med/Soft. Equipe RS appears to be their current mid-range skate line, presumably replacing past years' Equipe 9, if you are looking at the sizing chart referenced by tch. (I have skied on the Equipe 9 for a day and liked it, for what that's worth.) Apparently the RS Skate comes in at 170cm (skier weight <121 lbs) and 177cm (99 to 132 lbs). I would probably put you on the 177 because of your height. (That's why you'd want the "soft" version.) The lower level Equipe 7/8 line does not appear to come in multiple flexes.

 

Note: I am not a pro at this stuff, but am simply applying my seat-of-the-pants amateur knowledge gained with some shopping for me and my family over the years. Hope that helps.

 

Thanks! Makes choosing an Alpine/Tele ski seem like a walk in the park.

 

They also have a womens ski the Equipe 8 Vitane… I wonder if this would address the flex/length issue!? http://www.rei.com/product/822576/salomon-equipe-8-vitane-skate-skis-womens#specsTab

 

Or I'll just have to eat more cakes ;) 

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by UserC View Post
 
Thanks! Makes choosing an Alpine/Tele ski seem like a walk in the park.

 

Reminder that this is EpicSki. Overthinking gear choices is what we do here, and we do it well. :D

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UserC View Post
 
 

They also have a womens ski the Equipe 8 Vitane… I wonder if this would address the flex/length issue!? http://www.rei.com/product/822576/salomon-equipe-8-vitane-skate-skis-womens#specsTab

 

 

 

It might very well. You're right. That is definitely a step down in performance, however. (Apart from the 230gm weight difference, and probably a better base on the RS ski, they are emphasizing "stability" on the women's model. In general, as with kayaks, for example, that is usually code for "Good for tentative shufflers. Not so much for people concerned about efficiency." However, if you can get a great deal on it, it's almost certainly a perfectly good ski for checking out the sport for a couple years until you decide how much you're really going to do it.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Got some advice from Salomon, and going for the "Equipe 8 skate 174 Med" and either the "Equipe 8 classic 180 soft" or the "Elite 9 grip 179" …. not sure I want to be messing around with grip wax yet.

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by UserC View Post not sure I want to be messing around with grip wax yet.

 

Grip wax is easy - just use the color thermometer to start with - and, unless the snow is really really cr@p, grip wax is far, far nicer gliding than fishscale.   Klister is a PITA - but chances are you will not be using it.

In their heads, people build waxing into a black art.   It isn't, it's as simple as following directions on a cake box.    

 

It's only problem snow that can be a black art, and if you're going to go someplace where the tracks are groomed, use what others around you use.     If they're using klister, just take a rental pair out.

post #11 of 12

Re wax vs waxless.... Cantunamunch is right that it's not a huge, deep, dark art.  But it depends a lot on where you ski.  If you are skiing out west or far north where snow generally tends to be more consistent, waxing is very reasonable.  But where I live, NW CT, has very variable snow.  On one day on one ski, I might find cold unpacked, re-frozen, soft mashed potatoes, and some ice.  Waxless is the ticket for that.  If you ski where you can assume conditions will be consistent from start to finish, waxing is very learn-able.

post #12 of 12
I also decided to acquire XC skis to introduce some cross training to my bike riding. I am a 52 year old male, 5'6" and 150 lbs, with a very strong background in alpine skiing and in line skating. And the last few years I focused on endurance mountain bike racing, so fitness is not a problem.

After reading just about everything I could about skate skiing, I realized that high end equipment would be better suited to somebody like me. Perhaps it is a little less forgiving, but I hope to have no issues. So I went and bought all the stuff.

Rossignol X-IUM WCS S2 186cm skate skis
Fisher (Rottofella) Xcelerator bindings
Fisher RC7 skate boots (just fit better than the Rossi)
Rossignol Extra Carbon 70 poles

The skis are rated for 132-176 lbs so I am in the pocket, but the shop had a machine that tested the skis for my body weight. Very professional. smile.gif I read that these skis tend to be on the stiff side with a healthy rebound. And putting them on in my living room, I can definitely feel how that will play out. No doubt, a tentative beginner, who does not feel comfortable committing their full weight to a ski, would be better served by something less lively. I hope I won't find myself in that predicament.

Anyway, I thought I would provide a data point for reference. Good luck.
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