Skate skiing is one of the fast-paced cross-country skiing techniques, but to perform it you’ll need the proper equipment. In this article, we’ll go through all the skate skiing gear parts you’ll need to do it properly and with ease.
Do You Need New Gear?
Although you can use cross-country skis, sooner rather than later it will become difficult and awkward, so if you’d love to dedicate your time to skate skiing, purchasing new skate skiing equipment is strongly recommended. It is not only more comfortable but their appearance and the way they are made will help you do it easier than with the regular cross-country skis. This means the fatigue will be lowered, so you’ll spend more time on the track, and the chances of injuries will be smaller. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be able to produce greater speed and to experience skate skiing the way it should be done.
Skate Skiing Equipment
For skate skiing, you’ll need the same things as for regular skiing, but their physical features are completely different.
The first and of course the essential part of skate skiing are the skis. You’ll have to look for the length, width, and sidecut.
In skate skiing, you’ll have to take your skis off the ground when you move forward, so the first thing to look for is their length. They’ll have to be short enough and lightweight enough to allow you to move them without a problem, but you should also make sure they are long enough to keep you stable while you stand on one leg. The length of the ski is directly related to your height and weight.
The second thing you’ll have to think about is the width of the skis. Wider skis provide more stability but they are also slower and more suitable for cross country skiing beginners and those who’d love to simply relax on the track and simply tour around. On the other hand, people who want to feel the racing spirit will probably go with narrower skis that range from 41 to 45mm in width at tips. Either of these will be easy to use on the already-used tracks.
The third important thing to look for is a sidecut. Many skating skis don’t have a sidecut, but sometimes you may run into a bit wider skis at the waist. This type of skis will give you a bigger edge when you move.
Take the ski, place it on the solid ground, and look at it. The bend you’d most likely spot in the middle is known as camber. Camber (or Rocker) affects the strength and the flexibility of your ski. The type of camber used for skating skis is the alpine camber. The difference between this camber and the regular one is the lack of a so-called “wax pocket”. It is flatter and more suitable for using the skis’ edges to push with better efficiency.
Skate skis use the edges for gaining forward momentum and maintaining speed, so you should look for those you could wax so there is no interference as you move. And here is how to wax cross country skis.
Skate skiing technique requires skis with a stiff flex, which is also complementary with the hard snow.
After skis, it is time to purchase the skate skiing boots. The difference between the regular, touring boots, and skate skiing boots is in the amount of ankle support they provide. As you move, there will be many twisting involved, so you’ll need the extra protection to prevent any injuries. The second difference is in their soles. Skate skiing boots should take the forward flex to a minimum. And last but not least – put your comfort on the top of the list and make sure your leg feels and fits nicely in the boot.
There are a few ski binding types you could go with that are secure enough to keep your boots stable, but also lightweight so you don’t carry additional weight as you move your feet up:
NIS ski bindings (Nordic Integrated System) are easy to mount on skis with NIS plates and are good to combine with NNN racing or touring boots. Great for novice skate skiers.
Salomon Nordic System uses two connection points and provides improved control. It is lightweight and good for beginners.
New Nordic Norm is a ski binding type preferred by more skilled skiers. You’ll need NNN ski boots, but once you get used to them, NNN will become your favorite.
Skate Skiing Poles
The first feature you’ll have to look at skiing poles for efficient skate skiing is their length. They should be long enough so when you move you do it by using your abdomen and upper body muscles. The ideal pole length for skate skiing is between your chin and lips, once you place the bottom end on the ground. Because of the force applied to ski poles, the best choice are the stiff ones. Lastly, skate skiing poles have different handgrips, baskets, and adjustable straps to ease usage.
Skate Skiing Accessories
Besides skate skiing gear, the other important question is what to wear.
Because there will be lots of movement, you should go with a shell jacket as your main outside layer.
Soft Shell Jacket
The softshell jacket should be your go-to choice when the weather is nice. It is breathable, has a water repellent to remove any light snow or rain.
Hard Shell Jacket
If the weather conditions are bad and the snow or the rain is pouring down, go with the hardshell jacket. These are waterproof but still breathable.
Light Layers Are Better Than Bulk
Thicker doesn’t necessarily mean warmer. Going with a few thin layers is better than using one but thicker. The trick is between the layers, where the air is being trapped. This way you’ll also be able to remove one when you warm up.
If you’re aiming for a longer distance, bring extra clothes so you can change if you have to.
Hats And Gloves
When the weather is nice, a simple and light cap will do, but you should combine it with a headband if it gets colder under your ski helmet, and in case of extremely low temperatures, turn to a balaclava and a wool cap. For your hands check out the best ski gloves.
Once you make sure how much space you have in your boots, try to find the best socks made out of wool or synthetic, and you could combine them with snow gaiters to stop the snow from getting in.
Snow is one of the best sunlight reflectors, even when it is cloudy, so it is a good idea to have your whole body covered, wear sunglasses, and use sunscreen!
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Skate skiing is fun, fast-paced, and will be one of the most interesting activities during winter, especially if you combine it with the proper skate skiing gear. This article will help you choose it, so all you’ll have to do is to step on the track and go.
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- Skate Skiing, crosscountryskitechnique.com