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I want to start xc ski because I am limited in my activities for the winter. I don't have equipement but someone advised me to maybe rent equipement for the first year...I am not comfortable with that because I`ve been having foot issues and I don't want to be in used boots.
Question is...what do I buy, I see alot of local stores offering packages that include bindings, skis and boots for about $300...or should I buy seperates?
I guess classic is better for someone who never skied......but what about the whole waxing thing?
Thanks so much for me info!!
I got a basic XC ski package from REI last year. They are the waxless type so no need to worry about that. They have worked well for me in learning how to XC ski, I could see upgrading to better skis once I get better at it but for now these work great. I didn't want to spend a lot of money until I could see if I liked it and would actually get out and use them. I like having my own boots and was able to find ones that fit my feet nicely (not an easy task). I think I paid between $225 -$250 for the skis, boots, bindings and poles. I am looking forward to getting out this year - now we just need to get some decent snow here in Minnesota.
Waxing is very much a thing of the past at the recreational level. For a newbie get waxless classic skis. Easily to find really good equipment under $300. for boots, bindings, skis and poles and you're ready to go. If you really get into it then look at skate skis the next year. Sort of like owning both a road and tri bike - they both serve different purposes. My advice - don't start off with a tri bike or skate skis.
Also consider clothing. The typical newbie mistake is too over dress just like "joggers" in the heavy sweat suits. Get the proper athletic XC ski wear.
First consider where you will be using the equipment, if you are going to a groomed area, you can get higher performance, narrower skis. Like bikes, suggest you go to a store that specializes in x-country skiing, usually a backpacking store.
Alternatively, look around for used stuff for real bargains, as many people buy the equipment and only use it a few times.
What you might do is pick up a pair of 'combi' boots that you are comfortable in- these are boots that can be used for both classic and skate. Then you can rent both classic and skate gear (just skis and poles, but make sure the their ski bindings and your boots are physically compatible) to see if you have a preference and /or talent for one or the other.
It depends on what you mean by "better". Which style (classic or skate) you can learn most quickly is influenced by what other balance-intensive activities you have done. If you have done significant amounts of ice skating, ice hockey, roller blading, ballet, other dance, etc. then you could probably progress fairly rapidly in learning to skate, as you would already have the ability to balance and glide on one foot and control weight shift. If you have done none of these, then classic might be more approachable. What I've seen as a ski instructor is that classic is easier to do badly (because the initial balance and weight shift requirements can be ignored, to some extent) but harder to do well (because it's biomechanically more complex than skating). If you lack good balance, then skating is the reverse - harder to do at the start (until you develop the skils to balance and glide on one foot), but easier than classic to do well since it's ultimately simpler.
As someone who learned XC skiing later in life, I would also recommend going with a friend who is experienced. I had a friend who pushed me to try routes beyond what I may have dared on my own, and in my first year I was doing black runs. It has a lot to do with confidence, especially going downhill fast in the tracks.
I agree with those who suggest going with waxless skis the first year. Its tricky even for knowledgeable skiers to get the right wax, and it takes quite a bit of time to get them prepared before your run. It can get messy too, especially if you have to use Klister. You could rent waxing skis at some point in the season if you want to see what thats like. Skiing on waxing skis on a good day with a nice long flattish course when the wax is just right is awesome!
Cervelo R3 and Cannondale Synapse, Argon18 Electron Track Bike
Thanks everyone for all the feedback. I will look into a waxless classic equipment package in Jan.