General information for New XC Skiers
The key to cross country clothing is to dress in layers that are easy to add or subtract on the trail. XC skiing is a much warmer sport than downhill skiing because you work harder on the flat and uphill and build up considerable body heat.
Be sure that all of your clothing is synthetic or wool. Breathable fabric is best. Never wear cotton. It absorbs and retains moisture when you sweat and then chills you when it cools down. This can lead to hypothermia.
If you already hike in the winter you likely already have what you need. Costco, Marshall’s, and T.J. Max can be excellent sources for what you need as well as the pricier outdoor clothing stores.
An important clothing rule of thumb is that if you aren’t a little chilly when you start out skiing, you are overdressed.
Here are a few basics to know when you are ready to buy. (Look at the “equipment” section of the pull-down menu if you want detailed information.)
Ski sizes are determined primarily by weight. The fish scales of waxless skis grip the snow to give forward motion. They are in the slightly bowed part of the ski under your boot. If you are too heavy for your ski size the scales are pushed strongly into the snow and you won’t have much glide. If you are too light the scales won’t hit the snow enough to give you forward push or climbing ability. How fast you prefer to ski is also a factor if your weight is between sizes. A good salesperson will ask you your weight and the type of skiing you prefer ( e,g, hills or flat, groomed trails or back country) before recommending a ski size.