New to XC Skiing? Tips to save money and avoid frustration.

Skate skier (L), Classic Skier (R) credit: Fischer Sports GmbH

Here is a distillation of top tips for getting started quickly and painlessly in cross country skiing.

 If you’re the kind of person who just wants to know what to do, follow this advice.

  • Skate or classic? Choose which most appeals to you and don’t worry that skate skiing is “too hard”.
  • Classic skiing? Buy skin skis. You won’t regret it.
  • Unless you have a couple of extra hundred dollars and want to be a wax geek, pay the pros at the local Nordic ski shop to glide wax your skis. Once a month is fine. Once a season is OK too.
  • Buy the best gear you can afford. You get what you pay for.
  • Buy gear for the skier you want to become, not the skier you are. Want to ski like a racer? (You can!) Buy gear that matches your long-term goals.
  • Shop at a real-life Nordic ski shop.
  • Buy ski poles with a harness strap, not a loop strap.
  • Poles matter more than you think. Don't skimp on quality.
  • Learn more about cross country ski poles >>>
  • Buy manual bindings, not automatic bindings.
  • It’s OK to buy combi boots (also known as Pursuit boots) but it's better to buy seperate skate and classic boots. Combi skis are not OK. Skate and Classic poles are different lengths and not interchangeable.
  • Practice putting on ALL your gear at home.
  • Take some lessons to help get you going.
  • Learn all the techniques. It will make skiing much more enjoyable.
  • Learn more about cross country ski techniques >>>
  • Join a competitive ski club if there’s one in your area and they have suitable programming. Even if you don’t want to race, it will help you to ski with better skiers.
  • Consider registering for a loppet (fun race). It will keep you motivated and help you connect with other skiers.

If you are interested in ski technique and want to accelerate the process of becoming an expert, join Nordic Ski Lab.

Nordic Ski Lab is subscriber-supported. The subscription fee is nominal and the quality of the videos and clarity of the lessons are unmatched.

Did you know we have ski technique videos?

For skiers just getting started:

For Skate Skiers: The One Skate Dance Drill

For Classic Skiers: Learn Diagonal Stride - this will benefit you even if you've been skiing for years as this teaches competition technique.

Nordic Ski Videos >>>