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Big Guy Cross Country

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I've posted this in a forum a couple of days ago, but I feel as though this section may be better suited to the topic at hand. Here's what I've written.


Hi Folks


I am new here and was looking for advice on ski size and bindings. I’m a big guy – 6’4” and a shade over 300lbs. I’ve recently purchased xc skis for my wife for Christmas, and I a going to be purchasing some for myself after the big day.


I’m looking around and seeking out as much info as I can find. I’ve found a couple of sources which suggest K2 and/or atomic skis. Does anyone have any suggestions on the subject.


I can’t be the only person this size attempting to ski… at least I hope I’m not.


I'm hoping to travel groomed trails and go off the beaten path every once and a while.


This is a fantastic forum by the way, it’s been really interesting to read through.


Thanks in advance


post #2 of 26

If you buy your xc skis in a proper shop, they will show you how the skis are rated for your weight.  The two main (most popular) types of xc skis there are skis made slightly wider for touring that will still fit in the grooves made on the trails, and other skis made for skiing in the grooves.  (not to mention skating skis).  With xc skis it's important to get the right skis for your weight, as the portion under your foot has to have firm contact when you push, and not so much contact when you glide.   "Waxless" skis have some sort of fishscale or other one way texture on them to assist in forward propulsion without impeding glide.  Old style skis have you putting glue-like grip wax under the boots and glide wax on the other portions.  Proper camber for your weight is extremely important with those skis.  I never did get the hang of that; my skis were always too slipery to make it up the hill or too slow at gliding.  Maybe the skis had lost their camber; I don't remember; it was too long ago (they were 2nd hand skis from the Sally Ann my dad bought).

post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks ghost. Does anyone know of any companies that make skis wide and long for folks like me? I had a suggestion of a ski such as the Fischer Outbound. However, I'm just looking for a point in the right direction. The ski shops around my neck of the woods don't have a lot to choose from, it would be good to go in with a few ideas to discuss with them.

post #4 of 26

Take a look a the Fischer or Karhu. My  brother, 6'6" and 270#, currently uses Fischer Crown Backcountry skis. In the past he has also owned Karhu skis.

post #5 of 26
The Outbound comes in a 189cm and will (barely) fit in a groomed track, but you really need to do a paper test or equivalent to make sure 189cm is enough for your size. Other models, like the E99, come in up to 210 cm lengths. (The E109 and Snowbound Crown are a bit too wide for most pre-set tracks)

Honestly, I think boots will be more important than ski selection for you, and I think you are going to want a more supportive boot than a 150-lber will for the same speed and same terrain. Does your local shop stock skate boots? high-cuff backcountry boots?
post #6 of 26

Hi, I'd agree with comprex that you need to think about boots for sure.  You're really pushing the envelope on equipment at your size and you may need to find some more specialized skis and boots.  If your local shops only have standard, general-population ski equipment, you should probably look elsewhere.


XC skis need to maintain proper camber through both the kick and glide phase, so flex testing is a must. A good shop will put you on a flex tester, or, at the very least, do the paper-under-the-skis test. DON'T buy skis without some kind of assurance that they are right for your size (and not just some salesman saying they are). That said, skis do have "flavors", and FWIW I find Karhus tend to run soft, which is not what you want at your height/weight. 


I would argue that the correct equipment is even more important in XC than in alpine skiing; it can make it a great gliding experience or reduce it to either a slog or banana-peel misery.  So getting it right really matters.  If your local shops only deal with middle-of-the-road equipment and skills, try looking online at places like Skinny Skis or Cross Country Ski Shop.  These guys will talk to you on the phone and do a weighted flex test in their shops before they sell you something. 

I ski 40+ days a year XC, so I'm a bit biased, but I really hate for people to buy cheap/inappropriate equipment, then decide they don't like the experience because they have the wrong stuff.  Many folks just go buy skis as if they were buying something as simple as a jacket.  You need to find the stuff that's right for you.  I could offer you a few models that might be right, but it'd be better to get to know a salesperson that way.  Tell your sales person what you think you will do (as comprex says, you probably want a ski that will fit in track) and make sure they are selling you stuff that fits you and your needs, not just the skis they have sitting around.

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much everyone for the feedback, that's great. I'll certainly call both of places you've mentioned and discuss it with them. I'm not too sure of where to turn in this town to find that kind of help.The only place I've gone the salesperson was very determined to get me into an alpina ski that was on sale... I think they just wanted to rid themselves of stock before Christmas.


Again... THANKYOU. This place is such a great resource for somebody starting off. I'll let you know how I make out.



post #8 of 26
tch's description of XC being a narrow band of extreme fun in between slog misery and banana peel misery is so good I'm going to have to steal it (Yoink!).

Big guys are very likely to have the slog-type misery (where a ski just _doesn't glide_, even on slight downhills) , and that's what a too-soft, too-short ski will do.
post #9 of 26
Originally Posted by comprex View Post

tch's description of XC being a narrow band of extreme fun in between slog misery and banana peel misery is so good I'm going to have to steal it (Yoink!).

Big guys are very likely to have the slog-type misery (where a ski just _doesn't glide_, even on slight downhills) , and that's what a too-soft, too-short ski will do.

I am showing my brother your comments. His comments, don't bother with anything other than a 210cm if you are over 250#. Find a touring ski that fits the tracks. He is using Fischer E99 with a combi Salomon boot. He skis on trails and off. Hope this helps.

post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot JimiB and your brother. That may be the direction I'm headed in... e99 or e89. And the boot suggestion helps as well. Cheers. 

post #11 of 26

Hi Newfoundler,

tch again.  I didn't really want to get into specific equipment too much, but here's two more things to think about:

1) skis today come in "full-size" and "mid-length".  Full size is traditional, and skier of your size should be on 215+.  Mid length is a new concept in the last few years: companies try to capture the "pop" and float of longer skis by going wider and a bit stiffer and making skis shorter and hence more manageable.  Widest possible envelope is probably available in traditional full size skis, as mid cut TEND to be made for mainstream intermediate market who fit the most common parameters in size and skill.  But ask reasonable shop about their choices before you buy blindly.


2) Like in alpine skiing, boots are the most important element.  More people quite after flopping around on rinky-dink boots than any other reason.  Definitely go upscale on your boots.  I ski in combi (skate and classic) boots all the time; they have a stiffer flex and an ankle strap that locks tightly (originally designed for the skating part of the equation).  While this stiffer flex and ankle strap aren't "necessary" for classic (diagonal) skiing, they help immeasurably when I am going downhill and through rough terrain.  I ski Alpina 568, but your foot may vary.  But you need control over those long, skinny skis stuck to your feet.



post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks for that. I'm looking into upscale boots for sure. The skis could be an issue. I'm still looking around. I've contacted a few places, waiting to hear back. Fischer seem to have a stiff made ski, and I've read a lot about karhu having as you put it  - i think - soft skis. 


None of this, of course, is useful at the moment as it is 5 degrees celsius and raining for the next week in newfoundland. Weather by'... nuts.

post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 

One store recommended these for me...


They look great... they said it was for skiers 220 and over. What do you think?

post #14 of 26

Hi NF,

The skis look like the general quality and type of ski that would make sense for you.  But, they're the mid-length design and the only sizing chart I could find for them said "195cm. for 180 lbs and up".  The sizes seemed to run about 30 lbs between breaks, so for instance 150-180lbs was the 185 size: 


Did you tell the shop you weigh 300?  The difference b/w 180 or 190, or even 220, and 300 is really significant.  This is why it may get difficult for you.  Make sure you emphasize your weight when you speak to people.

post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 

I've found a shop on the west coast of the province that has given me a good answer. They told me to be realistic and that glide isn't something that will happen right away... I'll shrink into it... kinda. Which makes sense. They thing the biggest size salomon 7 will do nicely. I'm going to aim for something with a steel edge... if anything for the general sturdiness of it all.


Will call tomorrow for more details... again a million thank yous.

post #16 of 26

After skimming this thread, I'm wondering how relevant ski track width is to the ski choice? You can always tool around on a packed skate track with patterned based skis and maybe looking into wider skis will provide better options....especially when you get off the track into unpacked snow. I'd think a beefier BC-NNN or rugged touring (even with touring cables) set up would be worth considering.

post #17 of 26

Sigh....., I remember my first skis. Bought them at a department store for my wife and I. All wood. Flimsy 3-pin bindings. The low cut boots were like bedroom slippers. The first day out the sun was shining, sky was blue and the temp was about 32 degrees. Slathered on the red wax. Out the back door and across the fields we went, my young bride and me. With each step a new layer of snow stuck to the bottom of our skis. Soon we were floundering in the warm, damp snow. We took off our skis, dug a snow cave and made love by candle light. Cross Country skiing is no fun without the right equipment.


Flash forward to the 2nd and 3rd generation



post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 

It's looking like an Atomic Xcruise. I think. Haha.

post #19 of 26
Boot or ski or both?
post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 

It was the ski... however I have two more options on the table... I'm considering the following...


Madshus Glittertind (with glittertind boot... nice looking boot) $650




Salomon Adv e59 (with Salomon xadventure 8 - big boot) $600




The atomic xcruise with 2011 Salomon Escape 7 boot. $337


Any thoughts and/or opinions. The Madshus is far and away the most expensive of the trio at 650 with tax and delivery... Salomon was suggested by a salesman who talked about skis for about forty minutes with me on the phone... he was awesome, located in Corner Brook, so was the madshus dealer. And the third, the atomic was from Michigan. 


post #21 of 26
Originally Posted by newfoundlander View Post

It was the ski... however I have two more options on the table... I'm considering the following...


Madshus Glittertind (with glittertind boot... nice looking boot) $650


In 205cm? Is a 210 available? My biggest worry with this one is not enough glide for you.



Salomon Adv e59 (with Salomon xadventure 8 - big boot) $600


That's a burly boot. Is the ski available in 210? If so, this would probably be my choice for what you say you want to do.
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 

The Salomon is a 205 I think. And the Glintertind is a 210. I'm torn between two skis. Ouch.

post #23 of 26
How prepared are your tracks? Edit,sorry, reading comprehension fail on the first round: The Glittertind is the in-track favorite here, just because of the length.

That boot and that ski is going to be a bit wobbly for breaking track though.
post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 

I think they're fairly well groomed... one of them is free so it's subject to all manner of pedestrian travel... the other seems to be more 'professionally' handled. Not sure if their are grooves or not... again, I'm new. I just spoke with the glintertind dealer and he said he only had the 205 and the 5cm wouldn't amount to much of a difference... which set off a few alarm bells... but I do like the boot.

post #25 of 26
Ooof. Pedestrian postholes.

I'm sorry, without some sort of flex test it is really hard for me to be enthusiastic about the choices you name.

FWIW and IMO, the XAdventure8 is a nice boot for breaking trail, even for beginners (read: requires less active ankle stabilization) , and a wider binding like the Xadventure Raid will give you a minor bit of edging advantage. With the size of ski you're planning on, the weight difference between the Glittertind boot and the Xadv8 boot won't be as big a factor as all the others (ski glide or lack thereof, trail conditions, your own personal conditioning).
post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 

I thought I'd provide an update. I got a phone call on New Years Eve morning from the ski shop with the Madhsus Glittertinds offering me the package of boots, skis, bindings and telescopic poles for 100 bucks off the price they quoted me, taxes in and delivered to my door via courier. At that point we hadn't any snow and sales were pretty low, so I think he was desperate to make some sales before the year end. 


The guy was great on the phone with me weeks prior and I decided to go for it.


It's January 11th... and guess what?


Still no snow. In NEWFOUNDLAND!


The year I decide to ski and mother nature smites me. Haha. 


It'll happen... just not right now. The thing about this place is the snow can keep falling until May - even June sometimes in certain areas. 


Thank you everyone for all your input, I'll give another update when I actually get to use them. I'm hoping this system moving it's way through the states now hits us. Then I'll break them out this weekend. 


Again, thank you all so much.


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