Cross country skiing guide: Which Equipment do you need for Skating?



Cross Country Skating Ski

Skating skis are generally shorter and stiffer than classic skis. This is because of the dynamic and powerful movement and the sidewards kick. The base of the skating skis consists of a continuous glide structure.  In order to find the right ski, it makes sense to think about how regularly you go or wanna go skating on the trails in the future and how experienced you already are on your skate skis. Experienced skate skiers with a good technique should go for stiffer and lighter models, which also feature carbon parts and therefore provide a sporty and direct ski feeling. They will have more fun on the slopes and tracks for sure. Beginners are well-adviced to pick a softer skate ski model, which is more forgiving when the technique isn’t perfectly developed yet and the snow conditions are tough and icy.

The most important criteria, however, when picking a skating ski, is the weight of the skier and also the body height. The skate ski can range between -10 to  +10cm of the body height. Very tall skiers (like >190cm) necessarily need to pick the maximum length for skating skis, even if they’re taller than the ski.  The taller the skier, the closer the ski length is to the body height. And once again: what matters most is that the ski matches the body weight!



Cross Country Skating Boots

The boots specifically made for skating are very different from classic boots. Since the movement of your body is more complex and demanding and the kick goes sidewards, skating boots are much more stable than classic boots. They have a stiff sole and an ankle cuff that protects your foot to bend inside, while standing on the edge of your ski. The ankle cuff helps you to transform the power from your legs to the surface and therefore gain speed. The stiffer the better, that’s why many skate boots also come with a carbon sole and cuff.




Cross Country Skating Poles

An underestimated piece of your skating equipment are the poles. A lot of the power in the skating movement comes from the upper body, so it is recommended to choose a stiff and light pole. Carbon as a material is very stiff and light but also more expensive, while composite and aluminum poles are softer and heavier, yet also a bit cheaper. Because skating poles are longer than classic poles, it makes sense to choose a stiffer material.

Secondly, the length of the poles plays an important role, so the whole movement of your body creates a continuous flow. In order to find the right length, you should choose a pole that is between 88-92% of your body height. More sporty skiers choose a pole that is longer, while beginners or recreational skiers go for shorter poles. Often people start their “skating career” with shorter poles and once they improve their technique and power they change to longer poles.



Cross Country Skating Bindings

The range of skating bindings is relatively limited. There are two leading binding systems which are not compatible: SNS (Salomon Nordic System) and NNN (New Nordic Form). Therefore, you have to make sure your skating boot or rather sole matches the binding system of your choice. While SNS bindings and boots provide more guidance for your foot, NNN is built lower and with a better feeling for the underground (snow). In addition to these two main systems, different sub-systems are available on the market. These include the smart NIS slide-on plate, the Prolink system, and since this season the new Turnamic IFP binding.

The NIS (Nordic Integrated System) is a sub-form of the NNN system and therefore of course compatible with it. It is basically a binding plate already integrated into many skis. On this binding plate, the NNN binding can be simply slid on – no screws necessary! This system does not only save time but also offers you a flexible mounting point.

In order to make use of the NNN binding and the smart NIS slide-on plate, Salomon came up with the Prolink system last season. This system allows you to use a Salomon Prolink boot not only with a Prolink binding but also with the NNN and NIS system – and vice versa an NNN boot with a Prolink binding. For the first time, this solution provided more options when choosing a boot binding combination.

Since this season, there is another sub-form of NNN bindings – the Turnamic IFP binding from Fischer and Rossignol. The main difference to previous systems is the amazing ease of use. Not only entry and exit are greatly facilitated by the innovative Turn Lock mechanism, but also a faster and easier tuning of ski, binding and shoe is made possible through a tool-free adjustability. This allows you to optimally adjust your ski performance in just a few seconds: pushed forward, you get more grip; pushed back better sliding properties. As with the NIS binding plate, the Turnamic IFP binding can be simply slid onto the ski. This new binding is compatible with the NNN sole profile, thus with Turnamic, NNN and Prolink shoes.



To find out more about the equipment for the classic cross country discipline visit our Classic Equipment Guide and for Backcountry Equipment, visit the article here.


Are you interested in other related articles about Cross Country Skiing and the Cross Country sport in general? We have some more information for you:

Cross country skiing guide – Styles: classic, skating, backcountry, classic no-wax skin ski

Cross country skiing guide: Equipment

Cross country skiing guide: Equipment – Classic

Cross country skiing guide: Equipment – Backcountry

Cross country skiing guide: Equipment – Classic No-Wax Skin Ski


Foto Header: Fischer