For skiing you’ll need skis with bindings, boots and poles, often sold or rented as a ‘package’. Nordic skis are longer and narrower than those used for downhill or Alpine skiing, and poles are longer, while boots clip into the ski binding only at the toe to allow your foot to move as you stride forward between glides. Skis for classic technique have bases designed to grip the snow as you push off, using special grip wax or a textured pattern in the area of the base below the binding. You may find new skis are lighter and easier to use than your old ones.

Most of our members use no-wax skis. No-wax skis save you having to prepare your skis with grip and glide wax on each trip and spare you potential frustration on difficult waxing days and when the temperature is above freezing (however, even no-wax skis require waxing - see more information under Waxing on the At the Resort page). On the other hand, if you get the wax right, waxable skis can give you more speed and better grip uphill. They are used by racers and high-performance skiers as well as those who simply like or are used to this approach.

​One additional point: the camber or flex of your ski should be strong enough to allow the ski to glide when you are not pressing down on it. Old skis may lose this camber. If you stand on one ski on a very flat surface, you (or someone else) should be able to slip a sheet of paper under the kick zone of the ski.

Please ensure to label your skis and poles with your name and also record the make and colour of your skis. Really helps in case you need to look for them or describe them to someone.  Skis are easily labelled with spare stick-on address labels.  Poles can be labeled using a permanent marker. 

Different skis are used for classic and skate skiing – although there’s nothing to stop you trying a few skate moves on your classic skis. Skate skis are generally stiffer and lighter, and have bases that are waxed for glide only, while skate boots have more ankle support.

If you just want to skate ski on a recreational basis, switching back and forth between classic and skate skiing, then you may want to consider a combi-boot that can be used for both. The boot is not quite as stiff as a skate boot and not quite as flexible as a classic boot. They often have a removable ankle binding that would make the boot more flexible for classic skiing. This is a good compromise if you do not want to carry around two pairs of boots.

Snowshoes now available are lighter and more maneuverable than they used to be. Whether renting or buying look for a plastic or Teflon-finish crampon that won’t accumulate snowballs under your feet! Most people carry poles to help propulsion but you can also snowshoe without.

You may want to rent while you think about what to buy, but we suggest buying before you’ve done many trips. Rental fees can easily add up to a significant amount that you could have put towards the cost of buying. Ask other members about their equipment and where they bought it.

Most members transport their equipment in a ski or snowshoe bag. This protects the equipment and prevents it getting tangled up with others’ in the bin. It also helps keep all your items together. Many ski bags are black and look alike so personalize yours somehow, and make sure to label your bags with your name and phone number to make it easier for someone to restore it to you if they pick it up by mistake.


X-Country Ski Club