This style of skiing is practiced on groomed or track-set terrain, often on or around local ski hills. The skis are fairly narrow, have no metal edges, and are available with waxable or waxless bases.
- Classic skis are characterized by the stride-and-glide motion that most people think of when they envision Nordic skiing.
- Skating skis offer a more aerobic form of Nordic skiing that involves a pronounced pole plant and an angled skating motion.
- High-performance skis, either classic or skating, are designed for those entering recreational races or training for improved performance.
The skier on the left is skate skiing, the skier on the right is classic skiing in a track. You don’t need the groomed grooves to classic ski, you can go in the woods or on a golf course and make your own path (off track). It is very difficult to enjoy skate skiing without a groomed path. As a result, classic skiing is a better choice for more people who just want to get out, do some cross-country skiing, and have some versatility.
Designed for people who do most of their skiing on ungroomed trails and terrain, these cross-country skis range from models that are a little wider than trail classic skis up to beefy mountaineering skis that have metal edges.
Touring skis suit snowy and hilly terrain. Shorter and wider than most Nordic skis, they also tend to be slightly heavier and more durable. They often have full metal edges to aid in traversing and descending.
Skiis & Biikes stocks mostly classic skis and usually only one model of skate skis. We stock recreational and fitness skis and off-track touring skis. If you are looking for high performance or racing skis, you will be able to special order them with us. Speak with a sales associate at the Skiis & Biikes location that is most convenient for you.
Most skis are now shorter and wider than they used to be, offering more maneuverability and speed at the same time. Lengths are now determined by weight and intensity. The weight range is usually printed on the front of the ski around the binding, and there is a slight overlap. Choose the longer end of the sizing range if you are more experienced or will be skiing with more intensity.
Junior skis are the only exception to the rule of choosing a ski length based on weight. A junior ski should be 10-20cm taller than the child.
Camber and Stiffness
Camber refers to the upward arching of a ski in the middle, more specifically its resistance to flattening when weighted. Ski stiffness and the amount of camber varies among ski manufacturers. Ski staff usually consult the manufacturer’s suggestions when matching ski length with skier weight.
Torsional or lateral stiffness is the ski’s ability to resist twisting. In untracked snow, a torsionally stiff ski will not be deflected by terrain irregularities. However, many people prefer a slightly softer tip that will flow around irregularities on Nordic tracks and is less likely to jump out of a set track.
- Classic skis have a double camber shape that give them a high, pronounced curve underfoot. The curve keeps the wax pocket or patterned base out of the snow in the glide phase, and engages during the kick phase. The balance of contact and float is critical to classic technique.
Skating skis have a single stiff camber, more like alpine skis. If your skis are too soft you’ll lose power through the push phase, and your skis won’t glide smoothly. Too much camber will make it difficult to set the edge of the ski, particularly when you’re climbing.
Sidecut indicates the shape or profile of the ski and affects the way a ski tracks (travels in a straight line) and turns. Skis with limited sidecut and a straighter profile (classic skis) track forward easily. Lots of sidecut makes turning easy but tracking won’t be as smooth. Skating skis usually have minimal sidecut: the tips and tails are only slightly wider than the waist. to make them stable in the glide phase.
Waxless and Waxable Bases for Classic Skis
Waxable skis are the choice for racers or for high-performance training. Traction comes from the kick wax (also known as klister) applied to the middle third of the ski. When you release the kick portion of the ski, glide comes from a different wax (glide wax) applied to the rest of the base. As waxing is part art, part science, it takes patience and practice to learn to wax for all conditions, but a well-waxed ski rides smoother and faster than any waxless ski, especially in consistent temperatures, above or below freezing. Waxing in warmer, coastal climates can be a bit of a challenge.
Waxless skis have an area of textured pattern on the base that grips snow, yet allows the ski to glide when it’s released or when you’re going downhill. They suit recreational skiers, people who just want a pair of skis to keep at the cabin, or skiers looking for an efficient choice for all-conditions training. They need little maintenance, usually just some glide wax on the tip and tail sections. Skiis & Biikes only stocks waxless classic skis.
Skin Bases for Classic Skis
Some waxless skis come with a textured pattern on the base and some come with a skin base. The choice between the two is up to the skier.
The skins used today are made from either full mohair, a mohair blend or a synthetic material made of nylon. Skins act in much the same way as textured bases; they allow the skier to glide forward without sliding backwards. Skins on skis offer a firm grip and a smooth glide whatever the conditions are and no matter the temperature; they give the skier the feeling of a waxable ski without the need to wax. They are also quieter than skis with textured bases; you won’t hear a zipping sound underfoot, as is the case for skis with textured bases.
The downside to skin bases is that the skin needs to be maintained with a cleaner and conditioner, which are sold separately. Skins only need to be treated when the skier notices inconsistent grip.
Remember to choose boots that will fit into the bindings you currently have or will be buying.
Boots should fit comfortably snug. You should try on boots with the socks that you intend to be skiing in. Recreational skiers are recommended to use a medium to thick wool sock, depending on the outdoor temperature. The wool will draw the sweat away from your foot to keep you warm and dry. Even if the wool sock gets wet, it will still keep you warm and won’t give you that clammy chilled feeling. You should walk around the store in your boots to ensure you aren’t experiencing any hot spots or pressure points.
Some boots have higher cuffs with velcro straps for tightening the boot around your ankle. This assists with ankle stability and can help overall balance and performance.
Poles for Classic
To fit poles for classic, the pole should measure from the space between the shoulder and armpit in a straight line to the floor.
Poles for Skate
To fit poles for skating, put the pole tip at the back of the heel, and have the arm grabbing the pole and reaching to the front. The arm should be parallel to the floor.
Choose the binding that will fit with the boots that you have chosen. The boot and binding have to be compatible.
Fischer Step In IFP Bindings
This is a new binding from Fischer, but it is compatible with any NNN bindings that the company used in the past. Rossingol also uses this binding on their skis.
The user-friendly IFP Turnamic binding allows for easy exit and entry. Technique, temperature and snow composition all have an influence on ski performance: With all Turnamic models, this completely tool free adjustment allows skiers to better match their individual needs. Sliding the system forward provides more grip, while sliding it back will noticeably improve glide.
- Compatible with NNN boots.
- Compatible with IFP mounting plate only (already pre-installed on Fischer and Rossignol cross country skis).
Where to Ski in Southern Ontario
High Park (ungroomed)
Toronto Islands (ungroomed)
Rouge National Urban Park (ungroomed)
Cedarvale Park (ungroomed)
Albion Hills Conservation Park (groomed track)
Mono Nordic Ski Club (groomed track)
Dagmar Resort (groomed track)
Terra Cotta Conservation Area (groomed track)
Walker Woods and Glen Major Forest (ungroomed)
Further from Toronto
Hardwood Ski and Bike (groomed track)
Highlands Nordic (groomed track)
Mansfield Outdoor Centre (groomed track)
Bracebridge Resource Management Area (groomed track)
Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve (ungroomed)
Scenic Caves Nature Adventures (groomed track)
Horseshoe Resort (groomed track)
Arrowhead Provincial Park (groomed track)
Kawartha Nordic Ski Club (groomed track)
Get creative and try these cross-country ski adventures:
Ski at a golf course in the winter with permission
Head into the woods of the greenbelt and enjoy the peace
When the lakes in the northern provincial parks (Killarney, Algonquin, etc.) freeze, you can ski on them. It’s fun and surreal to ski them rather than canoe them. Check with park officials for safety advice.
Rail trails are great for cross country skiing - find one near you and ski for kilometers.
Rossignol Skis Size Chart
Race Skate Cross Country Skis
|Ski Model||170+ lbs||145-175 lbs||120-150 lbs||100-125 lbs|
|Delta Course Skate||192||186||180||173|
Race Classic Cross Country Skis
|Ski Model||170+ lbs||145-175 lbs||120-150 lbs||100-125 lbs||80-105 lbs|
|Delta Course Class||206||201||196||186||-|
Compact Touring Cross Country Skis
|Ski Model||180+ lbs||150-180 lbs||120-150 lbs||90-120 lbs|
Backcountry Cross Country Skis (BC 125/BC 110)
|Ski Model||165+ lbs||145-165 lbs||125-145 lbs|
Backcountry Cross Country Skis (BC 90/BC 70/BC 65)
|Ski Model||180 lbs||150-180 lbs||120-150 lbs||90-120 lbs|
Junior Skate Cross Country Skis
|Ski Model||95-110 lbs||85-100 lbs||75-90 lbs||60-80 lbs||45-70 lbs|
|X-ium Skate JR||173||163||153||143||-|
|Delta Skate JR||-||163||153||143||133|
Junior Classic Cross Country Skis
|Ski Model||95-110 lbs||85-100 lbs||75-90 lbs||65-80 lbs||55-70 lbs||45-60 lbs|
|X-ium Classic JR||186||176||166||156||-||-|
|Delta Classic JR||-||176||166||156||146||136|
Junior Touring Cross Country Skis
|Ski Model||110-120 lbs||100-110 lbs||90-100 lbs||80-90 lbs||70-80 lbs||60-70 lbs||50-60 lbs||40-50 lbs||30-40 lbs|
|Zymax Universal JR||167||157||147||137||127||117||-||-||-|
Kid Touring Cross Country Skis
|Ski Model||85-110 lbs||60-85 lbs||35-60 lbs|
|Evo Action JR||150||130||110|
Fischer Skis Size Chart
|Skiers Weight (lbs.)||Carbonlite, RCS, RCR||SCS, CRS, SC|
|99 - 107||172 - 177 med||172|
|110 - 118||177 med - stiff / 182 med||172 - 177|
|121 - 129||177 stiff / 182 med - stiff||177 - 182|
|132 - 140||177 - 182 stiff / 182 - 192 med||177 - 182|
|143 - 151||182 - 187 stiff / 187 - 192 med||182 - 187|
|154 - 162||187 stiff / 187 - 192 med||187|
|165 - 174||187 - 192 stiff / 192 med||187 - 192|
|176 - 195||192 med - stiff||192|
|Skiers Weight (lbs.)||Carbonlite, RCS||ZERO||RCR||SCS, CRS, SC|
|99||177 soft||187 soft||177 soft - med||177|
|99 - 107||177 - 187 soft||187 soft||177 - 187 soft - med||177 - 182|
|110 - 118||187 soft - med / 192 soft||187 - 192 soft||187 - 192 soft - med||177 - 182 - 187|
|121 - 129||187 - 192 med / 192 - 197 soft||192 - 197 soft||192 - 197 soft - med / 187 med - stiff||182 - 187 - 192|
|132 - 140||192 - 197 med / 197 - 202 soft||197 soft||187 - 192 med - stiff / 197 - 202 soft - med||187 - 192 - 197|
|143 - 151||197 - 202 med / 197 stiff / 202 - 207 soft||202 soft||192 - 197 med - stiff / 202 - 207 soft -med||192 - 197 - 202|
|154 - 162||197 stiff / 202 med / 207 soft||202 - 207 soft||197 - 202 med - stiff / 202 - 207 soft - med||197 - 202 - 207|
|165 - 174||202 med - stiff / 207 soft - med||202 - 207 med - stiff / 207 soft - med||202 - 207 med - stiff / 207 soft - med||202 - 207|
|176 - 195||202 stiff / 207 med - stiff||202 - 207 med||202 - 207 med - stiff||207|
|198||207 stiff||207 med||207 med - stiff||207|
My Style Performance Sizing
|Skiers Weight (lbs.)||Skating / Skating Pro||Classic|
|99 - 107||167||177|
|110 - 118||167, 172||177, 182|
|121 - 129||172, 177||182, 187|
|132 - 140||172, 177||187, 192|
|143 - 151||177, 182||187, 192|
|154 - 162||182||197|
|165 and up||182||197|
Sport and My Style Sport Sizing
|Skiers Weight (lbs.)||Short Cut|
|110 - 118||177, 182|
|121 - 129||182, 187|
|132 - 140||187, 192|
|143 - 151||187, 192|
|154 - 162||192, 197|
|165 - 174||197, 202|
|176 - 185||197, 202|
|187 - 198||202, 207|
|198 and up||207|