Skis, bindings, boots, poles, wax, oh my… With so many styles, models, prices and sizes to choose from, selecting ski equipment for your skier can be confusing. Here’s some basic information we hope you find helpful:
- No-wax (fish-scale) skis: don’t require a grip wax. This is an ideal BEGINNER ski, requires the least maintenance, usually costs less, and can be mounted with any type of binding. This is the type of ski used in the Green, Grey, Blue groups.
- Skating skis are designed for skating and are NOT suitable for striding. DO NOT buy skating skis for a beginner. Skate skiing requires a ski with no grip, so the skis don’t have fish scales and the flex (camber) of the ski is such that applying a grip wax won’t give the ski grip. Skate skis tend to be more expensive and require glide wax maintenance. Unless your skier is an advanced skier, we don’t recommend purchasing skate skis. This type of ski is not used until the Red or Yellow group.
- Combi skis can be used for either striding or skating. They don’t have fish scales, so you apply a grip wax to the kick zone (where the fish scales were) if you’re striding. If you’re skating, the kick/grip wax can be removed. Combi skis are a good choice for the young, advancing skier who wants to stride and skate. They are generally less expensive than skating skis. This type of ski should normally be considered when a skier begins to learn skate skiing in the Red or Yellow group. It will require waxing knowlege to change from skate to stride skiing and back.
DON’T BUY SKIS THAT ARE TOO LONG no matter what the ability of your skier. Longer skis are more difficult to maneuver - period! Many a young skier and coach have been frustrated by skis that are too long.
- Beginners: about head-high or slightly taller
- Intermediate: can be taller than head-high depending on ability. Never taller than the wrist of a raised arm.
- Skating: these skis tend to be a little shorter than striding skis. Head high or slightly higher is about right.
Bindings are the things that hold the boot to the ski.
* NNN & Salomon - this type of binding on almost every new pair of skis. Either one is excellent.
* 3 Pin - this is an old style binding still found on old skis, but not generally on newer equipment. We don’t generally recommend 3 pin, but they are ok.
This is easy-just make sure the boots match the bindings. General touring boots work for beginners and combi boots, which have a stiffer ankle, for more advanced skiers who stride and skate.
Poles are not as critical as ski and boots to a your skier’s performance and experience. General touring poles work well for beginners. Poles with a smaller ‘racing style’ basket promote better technique for intermediate & advanced skiers. Skating poles are longer and stiffer than touring poles.
- Just under the armpit for beginners
- Slightly higher-chin high- for more advanced skiers
- Below the nose for skating poles
The stuff that goes on the bottom of the ski. (NOT needed for the waxless or fish-scale skis)
- Glide wax: for both striding and skating skis. Iron.on.
- Kick wax: for the kick zone of classic skis. Cork on.
Note: Both local ski shops, Cross Country Sports and Downwind Sports, will wax skis for a nominal fee. Throughout the season, wax clinics may be held. Both Swedetown and MTU have community wax benches. Again, ask. You’ll get plenty of advice!
Team wax is provided for Competition and Development teams.
WHERE CAN I PURCHASE EQUIPMENT?
Cross Country Sports, Calumet
- Offers a trade up program for youth general touring (no wax) skis, has package deals, a good selection of all the equipment mentioned, very knowledgeable.
- Offers club discounts on designated day
Downwind Sports, Houghton
- Package deals and very knowledgeable.
- Offers club discounts on designated day
- Gear swaps
- Loaner equipment - Ski Tigers has a limited supply of skis, boots and poles to loan out each year. We try to provide this loaner service to families who need help off-setting the cost of equipment for their skier(s). If you are interested in our loaner program and would like more information please contact us.