At Fast Trax we value your passion for skiing and want to help you get the most from your skiing experience with the best products and the latest information. This post is a helpful tool for everybody involved in Nordic ski sports. The purpose of this post is to support you with useful, comprehendible information. It will extend your knowledge of cross country skiing and make it easier for you to choose the correct equipment for your skiing experience.
Cross country skiing involves many levels of activity and experience. Exercise, Fitness, Sport and Race are some of the various activity levels covered by the term Cross country skiing. From enjoying a bit of exercise out in the fresh air, too tenths of a second crossing the finish line, cross country skiing offers an enjoyable experience for everyone.
As there are so many different activities, within the sport of cross country skiing the different categories of skis must fulfil a wide variety of requirements. For this reason it is necessary to be able to place yourself in the correct category in order to find the best equipment. Even away from the stopwatches, regular exercise is a key element of life outside work for a healthier and thus a higher quality of life. When it comes to exercise for a healthier life cross country skiing brings ninety percent of the body’s muscles into action giving the cardiovascular system an outstanding workout. Through mental relaxation cross country also soothes the soul. Exercising in the great outdoors on Nordic skis is exceptional not only for the body but also for the soul.
Whether you are a novice, come from a different sport or are an ambitious sports enthusiast, Fast Trax has options for you, so that you can impress yourself. With the right equipment and preparations, you will be set for the "cross country ski experience".
CATEGORIES OF SKIER
You know who you are, you take the sport of cross country skiing seriously. You think in hundredths of a second and individual grams are critical to you. You seek efficiency more than comfort, and speed more than anything. There are complete ranges of high performance equipment for you for race day as well as for the hard training days leading up to it.
If you use some faster skiing or you just get out of the house onto the snow whenever possible to stay fit, there are two options within the Fitness collection with the technology and designs to match your needs. The Sport (Running) collection of equipment and traditional-length skis is designed for skiers who usually stay on prepared tracks to enjoy some energetic skiing. A little speed and a focus on technique are part of their ideal day on the snow. The Exercise (Ski Hiking) collection of mid-length skis and equipment is for skiers who also enjoy a prepared track, with the goal of a relaxing or revitalizing ski session with friends. They appreciate control and stability rather than speed.
Many kids and young people discover enjoyment in cross country skiing from just playing around. They may discover ambition and talent for competition. The stars of tomorrow are being born today. They have fun moving on skis – they just need the right equipment, matched to their needs.
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING
Cross country skiing is viewed as one of the healthiest sports available. Large muscle groups are put to use and the cardiovascular system trained. In the fresh air, the enjoyment and pleasure are foremost – everyday pressures disappear when you‘re out on your skis. After a few steps you can definitely feel the relief for body and mind!
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING TECHNIQUES
There are basically two different skiing styles; the original technique is the Classic Style. At the beginning of the eighties, a new skating style was developed as a result of new technology in track preparation. The two techniques place different demands on the skier and the material.
The skating technique involves kicking with the inside edge as you push away from the ski with its edge turned into the snow. The skis are held in a chevron formation with the open end pointing forwards. The movement is similar to speed skating on ice and inline skating. There are various ways of coordinating the arms and legs, but we will not go into that much detail here. A smooth trail without tracks is required for skating. To be able to skate properly the skier needs to be able to ski on one foot.
The main movement in this style is the diagonal pace, which can be used on flat ground and slopes. The acceleration is achieved through the diagonal arm and legwork. The skis are held parallel in the track. In order to push off with the legs, it is necessary that there is adherence friction between the ski and the snow crystals. This can be brought about by waxing or with a mechanical assistance such as Crown (fish scale), Zero or Skin skis.
There is, of course, a great difference between the pace of a racer and a ski hiker and it is important to consider this when choosing the material.
Forwards motion (gliding on one ski) is generated by a dynamic kick given when changing from one ski to the other. Working with the poles is optimized to make a considerable contribution to forward motion. The relationship between legwork and armwork lies at 60-40.
A ski hiker is doing a walk with cross country skis. Hardly any one-legged gliding. The poles are almost solely for balance and hardly needed for forward thrust. The relationship between legwork and armwork lies at 95-5.
This group is in between the racer and the ski hiker.A fitness skier e is physically fit but due to technical deficiencies or lack of balance is unable to glide on one leg for any length of time. The training is supported by average pole work. The relationship between legwork and armwork lies at 80-20.
Identical surface coatings are used for both classic and skating skis. The difference lies in the function of the base underneath the central binding area.
A classic cross country ski has three zones – at the front and back gliding zones and in the middle the climbing zone (wax pocket). The gliding zones are necessary, as the name suggests, for gliding. The climbing zone establishes the contact with the snow in order to push off (climbing aid). This zone can have several different qualities.
A skating ski has only one gliding zone, which runs through the whole of the ski. A climbing zone is not necessary as the push off is produced by pressure on the edges.
SKATING AND WAX SKIS
The surface coatings of these skis are constantly flat and there are no mechanical climbing aids.The propulsive force from classic skis can only be produced with climbing wax (grip wax) which varies according to the outside temperature and snow conditions.
As mentioned before these skis have the same gliding zones as wax skis. The big difference lies in the climbing zone with various climbing structures featured in the mid-section of the base so that you do not need to apply grip wax.
Crown skis are the combination of Single and Double Crown for greater climbing and better gliding in all snow conditions. Single Crown is found in the front and rear section of the climbing zone whereas Double Crown runs across the entire centre section.
When waxing experts despair, Zero skis with there special roughened base are the ideal solution for temperatures around 0°C and much warmer. It is the ideal second ski when pure classic wax models have to stay in the ski bag due to difficult wax conditions.
Skin skis with their skin strips arranged with variable base-depth integration provide smooth and balanced gliding. The mohair skins ensure reliable kick performance, especially in hard or icy conditions. Thanks to the unique Teflon coating of the skins, moisture absorption and subsequent icing is completely minimized.
When using the skin ski it is quite normal for the skins to pick up particles of dirt or wax from the track and become soiled over time. This results in reduced gliding properties and the risk of snow sticking. A certain amount of skin ski care will help here and guarantees you more fun in the differing snow conditions.
To clean the skin strips we recommend applying SKIN CLEANER and then cleaning the skins from the front to the rear with a cloth. In order to improve gliding and prevent snow from sticking we recommend you use SKIN CARE, which is likewise applied from the front to the rear.
Both products are free from hydrocarbon solvents which means that there is no negative impact on the adhesion of the skin glue. Be careful with products containing hydrocarbon solvents: excess amounts may lead to the skin glue coming undone.
Proper care and preparation is necessary to achieve optimum performance and extend the service life of Skin skis. However, depending on snow conditions and the strength of the kick action, the skins will show signs of natural wear after they have been in use for some time. The skins should be replaced if their kick action deteriorates considerably.
ADJUSTABILITY ON BINDING POSITION
With the advent of adjustable bindings, you can influence the performance of your skin skis by adjusting the binding. either forward or back. If you move your binding forward you have more grip and easier climbing. If you move your binding to the back you have more glide and better gliding properties.
LIQUID CARE & LIQUID WAX PRODUCTS
With the new Liquid Care & Liquid Wax collection everyone will enjoy waxing skis from time to time. The care products are used from recreational skiing to racing as a hobby. In the development process of liquid glide waxes, special attention was paid to easy use with no need for a separate room for waxing or special equipment.
CLEANING THE SKI BASE WITH LIQUID CLEANING PRODUCT
Cleaning the base of the ski is the most important step in ski preparation: Dirt, dust & wax remains are removed from the base with the all-in-one solution Clean & Glide. Gliding performance is also improved through the fluorine content.
PREPARING THE BASE WITH LIQUID BASE WAX
In the second step we recommend applying the liquid base wax to create a dirt-resistant coating and therefore a lasting basis for fast gliding waxes on top. For perfect performance we recommend brushing out the base from tip to tail with a nylon brush once it is completely dry.
FINISHING WITH LIQUID GLIDE WAX
Next, would require the application of the temperature-specific liquid glide wax. Liquid glide wax ensures a perfect finish providing durability and high speed. All-round liquid glide wax are ideal for recreational use with the option of LF, HF and UF for greater gliding properties depending on the snow conditions and the goals of the skier.
The requirements placed on a good cross country pole are stability and the lowest possible weight. Cross country poles are made of either carbon, fibre glass or aluminium. The top-grade material is carbon, which is mixed with varying degrees of fibre glass. Fibre glass or aluminium is used as the material for the lower price categories and are considerably more durable than the carbon poles.
The pole strap should be lightweight and easy to adjust. The new strap adjustments with velcro fixations are the perfect solution for sport and performance when the arm is stretched out to the back, hand open, and the pole continues along the line of the arm. Pole straps are likewise available in different designs with loop straps for ski hiking as you do not extend your arm as far when ski hiking.. Regardless of ski category, for optimum control and power transfer the hand strap has to fit perfectly.
The cross country ski boot is a very important element in the ski/binding/boot system as it provides the link between the skier and the ski. The ski is controlled via the boot.
The best possible fitting of the cross country boot is essential for function and comfort. Ski companies use a wide variety of technologies to enable an optimum fit for all target groups and requirements. While racers insist on a narrow last with a close fit, skiers in the categories Sport or Exercise, for example, appreciate a good heel fit and comfortable space in the toe area. .
The cross country binding is the heart of the entire Nordic setup. Transferring the skier’s power and dynamic action from the boot to the ski means a better experience on snow. Bindings are made for the requirements of cross country skiers of all age groups and ability levels. Intuitive and easy to use. The new binding systems give you a dynamic skiing performance like never before, enabling the ski to flex freely will providing optimal control.
We hope this helps in your pursuit for a winter sport that can be enjoyed in Edmonton and surrounding communities in Northern Alberta. In coming posts we will dive into ski technique and where to ski in more detail.
Fast Trax's collection of skis has everything from Skate skis to Classic skis to roller skis for summer training for every level of athlete. And we’re happy to provide some tips for choosing the right ski.
Skate or Classic - "that is the question"
Cross-country skiing relies solely on your own muscle power for forward movement, so it’s an ideal combination of strength and conditioning training. You can work out as hard or easy as you like, even on mostly flat terrain.
This is the traditional technique, somewhat similar to an accelerated walking stride. It almost always takes place on prepared ski trails, or tracks. Classic skis move smoothly and efficiently through snow because of these characteristics:
New skiers typically start with Classic skis due to its relatively easier movements. Fitness Skin skis are an example of a ski optimized for beginners to learn good technique. Our Junior Crown skis are designed for young skiers who are just starting out and want to develop good skiing habits.
This faster, more athletic technique involves a sideways, rearward push-off phase to generate forward movement. It is, in fact, a similar motion to ice skating or inline-skating. It is more physically demanding, incorporating greater movement and higher cardiovascular demands. Skate skis do not have the traction, or climbing, zone in the middle that Classic skis have, so they are more demanding on uphills.
Fitness Skate skis are beginner-friendly skis if this technique appeals to you. For slightly more advances skate skiers, the Sport Skate skis are a good recommendation. For skilled or even competitive skiers, the Perforamnce level skate skis are the best match.
Choosing skis for beginners
The more familiar and less energy-intensive motion of Classic skiing is a safe bet for absolute beginners. In addition to the models mentioned above, the Exercise skis are our most efficient skis, featuring a design that offers a more forgiving and effective push-off. Within the Exercise category of skis Fast Trax offers a new entry into the boot market, Urban Boots. Fischer’s exciting new Urban line is for passionate Nordic skiers who want a ski boot that also has comfortable off-ski walkability. Subdued, contemporary styling makes this a boot in which they can feel relaxed and confident before and after skiing. The Urban line challenges the way traditional cross country ski boots look without compromising the performance required on the snow.
What to look for when buying cross country skis
The length of your skis is very important. Shorter skis offer better handling and control, while longer skis are faster and are generally more for experienced skiers. We use the Fast Trax sizing chart to help you find the correct length ski for you.
Keep in mind that Skate skis are more dynamic, and require more technique at any length, than Classic skis. In general, if you find yourself choosing between two possible lengths, choose the shorter ski if you are not completely confident in your technique.
Classic skis rely either on a textured base, typically in a step or “fish scale” design, for traction in the push-off phase; or they rely on removable “skins”, which are dense, rough fibers positioned to grip the surface yet still glide easily. Fast Trax offers different versions of a scale base as well as unique skin options for every level of skier.
The Skin Skis offer a user friendly option for all levels of skiers. The offset, variable depth design of the Skin strips are designed for consistent, efficient grip on extremely hard snow and glazed tracks. Skin technology features mohair, which resists icing for consistent glide. Also with the advent of quality liquid glide waxes at all levels of performance classic skiing has never been easier.
Cross country skis require consistant maintenance for smooth, enjoyable performance. As a guideline, if you ski in good snow conditions every day, you should wax your skis every two or three days. In more abrasive conditions, more frequent waxing will be required.
There are different types of wax for different parts of the ski, Grip wax, Skin wax, Crown wax, Cleaners and Glide wax;
Grip Wax - classic skis only
Skin Wax - classic skis only
Crown Ski Wax - classic skis only
Glide Wax - classic & skate skis
Skiing without snow
Dedicated cross-country skiers can stay in form year round, no matter where they live. Roller skis simulate the feel, ride, and demands of actual cross-country. Skate and Classic models are available, with specialized poles to match. Now it’s easy to be in better shape and better condition when the winter season starts.
Skis for kids
Not until they are three to four years old do children typically have the necessary motor skills and coordination to learn to ski. Of course, it’s up to the parents to decide when and how to teach their children to ski, and what kind of investment in gear they find appropriate.
We offer authentic performance skis for juniors, which are light enough for easy use, with a full range of top technology for young skiers to really enjoy skiing and racing.
Be confident with Fast Trax
At Fast Trax our mission is to inspire cross-country skiers to fall in love with their sport and go beyond their current personal limits. We enable skiers to enjoy their sport and excel to the next level by introducing the most innovative, reliable and easy to use products.
Enjoy your cross-country skiing, or training, to the maximum with the help of Fast Trax.