How To Choose The Right Cross Country Skis? [Fact Checked!]

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Cross country skiing is one of the most iconic ski activities. You and your ski buddies are racing down a snowy mountain, carving through the snow and enjoying the view. The only problem is that not all cross country skis are made equal, and it can be tricky to find the right ones for your needs.

Types Of Cross Country Skis

There are two main types of cross country skis: traditional and all-mountain. The former is what you probably think of when you picture “skiing” in general. Typically made of wood, metal, and fabric, these skis focus on delivering a smooth, fast ride and are best used for racing and skiing with your friends. If you’re a beginner, stick to these kinds of skis.

On the other hand, all-mountain skis are designed for all types of skiing including freeride, backcountry touring, and racing. Typically made of metal, graphite, and a variety of plastics, these skis are more affordable than traditional ones but don’t come without their quirks. For example, some of them are more stable than others and have better turning radii which makes them better suited for maneuvering small and tight turns on the mountain.

Features You Should Look Out For

Aside from the type of skiing you prefer, you should also be looking out for certain features in the ski equipment. In the event of a crash, you want to be able to cushion the blow as much as possible so avoid models with rigid plastic frames. Also, you want to make sure that the ski has the right amount of flex according to your needs. As a general rule of thumb, the softer the material the better when it comes to ski equipment. Looking for a new pair of skis? Here are some of the most essential things to consider:


Rigidity is the opposite of flexibility and it’s essential to have a solid foundation in order to pull off any sort of decent trick in the mountains. Basically what this means is that the ski should be as stiff as a board so that you can push off with confidence and land smooth. It should also be noted that higher rigidity usually equates to greater stability so make sure to check out both qualities when shopping.


Durability is a key consideration when buying any type of winter sport equipment where you’re more likely to take a fall. The last thing you want is to buy a new pair of skis every year because they eventually break down. Instead, opt for a model that is built to last as long as possible so you can enjoy your ski experience without worry. If you’re not sure if a particular ski is durable enough for your needs, ask the manufacturer for some feedback or read reviews from past customers to get an idea of what to expect in terms of durability.

Turning Radius

The turning radius is the degree of difficulty you have in making a full circle while skiing. The smaller the better when it comes to turning radii so look for a model that has a low turn radius which makes it easier for you to navigate sharp turns and curves on the mountain. If you have an exact idea of how large a radius you need, measure it carefully before making any purchase decisions. Also, make sure to check out the weight limit of the particular ski to ensure you’re not exceeding what the equipment can handle.


The flex refers to the degree of softness or stiffness of the material used to make the frame of the ski. Typically, the softer the material, the greater the amount of flex it has. As a general rule, you want to look for a ski that is as soft as possible but not so much that it flies apart in the event of a crash landing. In the event of a collision with an obstacle or another skier, the crash cushioning should be adequate to prevent injury.


The stability of a ski refers to how well it handles the bumps and changes in terrain that you and your fellow skiers encounter while skiing. As a general rule of thumb, you want to look for a ski that is as stable as possible so you can push off without fear of losing control or falling off the mountain. In the event of a crash, the stability of the ski will dictate how much damage (if any) you suffer. For example, if you fall over an embankment or down hill, you will most likely suffer from some degree of injury (especially if your stomach is touching the snow at the time of the fall). In this case, your best bet is to purchase a double edge ski because the additional edge will help you maintain control while avoiding serious injury. If you’re not sure which type of stability you need, ask the experts at the ski shop for help or read reviews from customers to get an idea of how others feel about their particular brand of stability.

Where Do You Ski?

Aside from the type of skiing you prefer, you should also be looking out for certain features in the ski equipment according to where you’ll be skiing in particular. If you’re an adventurous skier, look for a model that allows for deep snow exploration while traveling or touring in remote locations. On the other hand, if you’re a beginner, look for a model that is suitable for small and medium sized ski resorts. If you’re not sure where you’ll be skiing, ask the experts at the ski shop for help or read reviews from customers to get an idea of what to expect in terms of the terrain and weather conditions in various parts of the world.

In the event of a crash, most skiers are familiar with what happens next as the pain sets in. Usually, you’ll hear the crack of the ski (from the breakage of the protective layer of enamel that covers the teeth) followed by the snapping of a tendon as the skier’s body tries to compensate for the sudden inelasticity of the ski. While this type of injury is quite common, especially among beginners who are just getting used to skiing, it can still be prevented with proper care and awareness of the risks involved. First and foremost, make sure to always wear your helmet, goggles, and protective ski clothing when skiing. Second, learn how to roll your body correctly in case of a crash to prevent further injury. Third, make sure to pull your skis away from you when hitting the snow as flying objects can still hurt you even if they don’t necessarily break.

Hopefully, this article about how to choose the right cross country skis will help you make the right decision and enjoy your activity without fear of injury or damage. If you found this article valuable, make sure to also check out our guide to the best ski equipment for beginners which includes everything from selecting the right ski boots to carrying bags and car keys.

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