Who doesn't like the idea of a crisp morning, new snow on the trees, a freshly groomed trail, and the sound of silence as you glide through the woods one stride after another?
Cross country skiing can be as good for the soul as it is for the body. We all have heard the benefits of XC skiing over treadmills, rowing machines, or stairmasters, but is there any greater reason to ski than the fact that it is done outside, where people were meant to be (even in the winter).
With the option to skate like an olympian, or stride as casually as you'd like, there is a way for everyone to get out and enjoy some of the best weather Wisconsin gets. If you wait for Summer around here, you will soon be overcome with diappointment. The Kettle Moraine has some of the best trails in the state and they're just a few miles away. Up North, miles and miles of trail criss-cross the National Forests, State Parks, and even some golf courses. Once you start, everywhere you look will become another opportunity to get out and ski.
Attitude Sports is here to help you find those places and help you get the right gear for each of them. Beginner packages start at just $249 for skis, boots, bindings, and poles, everything you need to get out and get started.
If the Birkie is in your future, we have you covered there too. We have a large selection of skate skis from Fischer and Salomon with the high end boot and poles to help you get the advantage over your friends in your wave.
If you’ve spent any time in a Nordic ski center lodge lately, you’ve probably overheard spirited debates about which are superior – waxless or waxable skis. Either could be the winner, depending on who’s doing the debating. Racers will nearly always pick the speed and performance that comes with waxable skis; recreational skiers may go either way, depending on their ability and where they plan to play. And count on beginners to keep it simple with the waxless option.
Waxless skis, those skis with fish scales on the bottom, are a great choice for new skiers because “they’re hassle free and work nearly every time,” says Bernie Frey from the Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge.
Just click into the bindings and as long as the snow is cold and consistent, the fish scales will grip the surface so you can explore the tracks and trails without the frustration of slipping backwards. Watch out when it’s icy or conditions are variable, though. Then you may be wishing you could wax your skis to get a better grip.
Lowell McCoy, a Nordic specialist at Gold Run Nordic Center, recommends skiers “go waxless until needing an improvement in performance. You’ll sacrifice speed,” he says, “but waxless skis tend to be more forgiving which is a big plus if you’re just learning the sport.” You can focus on mastering the classic skiing technique without having to worry about whether you’ve waxed properly.
And, by the way, calling fish scale skis waxless, is a bit of a misnomer. They require an occasional coating of glide wax on the tips and tails.
Waxable skis are the high performance option that is the hands-down choice of experienced skiers and racers looking for speed and a long, smooth glide. A waxable ski, however, is only as good as the wax job. “When you take on a waxable ski, you need to have some knowledge about waxing and wax selection,” says McCoy. “You need to take a waxing clinic.”
Waxing skis is simple, but waxing skis so they glide effortlessly across the snow is an art that takes loads of practice. Essentially, waxing involves applying a glide wax to the tips and tails and a kick wax under your foot so the ski will grip the snow. The trick is knowing where to apply the kick wax and how to wax for different temperatures and snow conditions. The glide wax needs to be reapplied periodically throughout the season; the kick wax is temperature and condition-specific and needs to be applied prior to each outing.
Regardless of your ski choice, grab your skis and have fun out there!