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Cross-Country skis are made in a wide variety of styles, each intended for a specific use and technique. We’ve stripped away the fluff and confusion to make buying the best cross-country skis a much more straightforward process.

Our list is filled with only the highest quality skis for cross-country use, whether you’re a recreational skier looking to stay fit or enjoy the outdoors, or a competitive personality that wants the extra edge when skiing for sport – we’ve got you covered here.

Remember to check out the Things To Consider section below for the low-down on all the specs you need to keep an eye on – don’t worry, we’ve made it as simple as possible!

Quick Note – You’ll see the word “camber” mentioned in a lot of the product reviews below. Camber refers to the arch in the profile of the ski. When it lays flat on the ground (with no additional weight), the ski will rise in the middle (where the binding is). This is designed to add a sense of “spring” to the skis for better performance. You can learn more about how to choose the right level of camber in the Things To Consider section at the bottom of this article.

For more of our top ski gear recommendations, check out the Best Downhill Skis.

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Quick Answer - The Best Cross Country Skis

  1. Rossignol Delta Sport Skate
  2. Rossignol Evo OT 65 Positrack
  3. Fischer S-Bound 112 Crown
  4. Fischer Twin Skin Pro IFP
  5. Black Diamond GlideLite 147
  6. Fischer Ultralite Crown EF Tour IFP
  7. Salomon Snowscape 7
  8. Rossignol BC 120
  9. Salomon RS 7 Skate
  10. Rossignol Evo Glade 59 AR

 

Comparison Table - Best Cross Country Skis

PictureNameStyleTerrainWeightGenderBindings IncludedPriceRating
Rossignol Delta Sport SkateRace & Performance - SkateGroomed1 lb. 6.2 oz.UnisexYes$$4.9
Rossignol Evo OT 65 PositrackMetal-Edge TouringGroomed & Ungroomed4 lbs.UnisexYes$$4.9
Fischer S-Bound 112 CrownMetal-Edge TouringBackcountry6 lbs.UnisexNo$$5.0
Fischer Twin Skin Pro IFPRace & Performance - ClassicGroomed2 lbs. 14.9 oz.UnisexYes$$4.8
Black Diamond GlideLite 147Metal-Edge TouringBackcountry2 lbs. 10.3 oz.UnisexYes$$$4.8
Fischer Ultralite Crown EF Tour IFPTouringGroomed3 lbs. 10 oz.UnisexYes$4.7
Salomon Snowscape 7Race & Performance - ClassicGroomed & Ungroomed3 lbs. 8.1 oz.UnisexYes$4.7
Rossignol BC 120Metal-Edge TouringBackcountry3 lbs. 1 oz.UnisexNo$$$4.6
Salomon RS 7 SkateRace & Performance - SkateGroomed3 lbs. 2 oz.UnisexYes$4.6
Rossignol Evo Glade 59 ARTouringGroomed & Ungroomed3 lbs. 4.9 oz.UnisexYes$4.5
PictureNameStyleTerrainWeightGenderBindings IncludedPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Skis for Cross Country

Rossignol Delta Sport Skate

Specs
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Style: Race & Performance - Skate
  • Weight: 1 lb. 6.2 oz.
  • Terrain: Groomed
  • Ski Camber: Double
  • Tip Width: 40 millimeters
  • Bindings Included: Yes
  • Base: Waxable
Features
  • Includes Race Skate Bindings For Best Performance
  • Double Camber Underfoot Reduces Friction When Gliding
  • Premium Quality Wood Used In Construction For Added Spring

BEST FOR: FITNESS-ORIENTED SKIERS

As the lightest pair of skis on the list, it’s no wonder that these “race & performance” skis are best suited for fitness-oriented skiers. To be clear, these are part of the “skate” category, meaning that your technique will differ slightly from those using a more classic cross-country race and performance ski. You can learn the difference between the techniques in the Things to Consider section below. 

At just 40 mm wide in the tips (43 mm wide in the waist), these are also the narrowest skis on the list. They are designed for speed and agility and would be a great choice for any skier, regardless if they are purely recreationalists or seek a performance ski for competitive cross-country skiing. 

Take note, the base of these are waxable, meaning they will need to be maintained with a coat of wax for the best possible traction. For help on how to grip wax your skis, check out the Things to Consider section below.

Rossignol Evo OT 65 Positrack

Specs
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Style: Metal-Edge Touring
  • Weight: 4 lbs.
  • Terrain: Groomed & Ungroomed
  • Ski Camber: Single
  • Tip Width: 65 millimeters
  • Bindings Included: Yes
  • Base: Waxless
Features
  • Partial Metal Edges Provide Both On- And Off-Track Skiing
  • Premium Wood Construction Blends Strength With Light Weight
  • Waxless Base Is Low Maintenance While Providing Both Grip & Glide

BEST FOR: VERSATILITY

As one of the few single cambered cross-country skis on the list, these are the most versatile skis we’ve found. With a tip width of 65 mm, the Rossignol Evo OT 65’s are just slim enough to be used on groomed runs (where the tracks are a maximum of 70 mm wide) but also versatile enough to also be used on ungroomed runs.

The metal edges, while typically a staple of backcountry skis, help give the Evo OT’s the extra edge necessary (see what I did there?) to grip better in icy conditions. The skis also feature a single camber profile, which is normally found on backcountry skis, and provides a greater ability to carve when making turns on ungroomed and backcountry terrain. 

The slight downside to having single cambered skis is that when you’re on groomed runs (in the tracks), you’ll lose some of the ability to glide when heading straight downhill the way you would with a classic Nordic (double) camber.

Fischer S-Bound 112 Crown

Specs
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Style: Metal-Edge Touring
  • Weight: 6 lbs.
  • Terrain: Backcountry
  • Ski Camber: Double
  • Tip Width: 112 millimeters
  • Bindings Included: No
  • Base: Waxless
Features
  • Climbing Skins Can Be Added For Extra Traction
  • Metal Edges Hold Grip Superbly Well In Icy Conditions
  • Classic Double Camber Profile Creates Extra Buoyancy In Deep Snow

BEST FOR: DEEP SNOW & STEEP TERRAIN

Spring snow just begs for a pair of cross-country skis like the Fischer S-Bound 112’s. Their width is known to make others jealous because of how much “float” it adds when skiing in backcountry powder. 

Although these are by far the heaviest pair of skis on our list, weighing in at a whopping 6 lbs. for the pair, their weight is justified by how well they handle deep snow and steep terrain. If your backcountry treks end up taking you into some hard to reach areas because of the terrain, you’ll be in good hands with the S-Bound 112’s. 

The double camber also provides a nice pop when exiting turns and reduces the friction point underfoot when gliding downhill. These skis are also waxless, meaning you won’t have to fuss with applying a coat of wax for traction. However, it is advised that you at least wax the tips and tails for best results. 

It’s also worth noting that these skis do not have bindings included, meaning you’ll have to buy them separately.

Fischer Twin Skin Pro IFP

Specs
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Style: Race & Performance - Classic
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 14.9 oz.
  • Terrain: Groomed
  • Ski Camber: Single
  • Tip Width: 41 millimeters
  • Bindings Included: Yes
  • Base: Waxless
Features
  • Skis Balance Both Grip & Glide
  • Waxless Base Is Low Maintenance And Is Perfect For A Variety Of Conditions
  • Bindings Can Be Easily Moved Forward Or Backwards To Achieve Desired Results

BEST FOR: RELIABLE EVERYDAY PERFORMANCE

Cross-country skiers looking for reliable, everyday performance on groomed runs with  traditional tracks are in for a treat. The Fischer Twin Skin Pro skis are an absolute classic model with no frills, relying on a basic but perfectly executed construction.

With the 2nd narrowest tips on the list (by just a millimeter), the Twin Skin Pros are lightweight, stable, and come with bindings! The bindings can be mounted in multiple places to achieve specific results and are easy to manipulate without tools. Those needing more traction can mount them closer to the front for increased grip whereas skiers who desire more glide can mount the bindings closer to the rear. 

The latter would be especially useful on these skis considering they have a single camber. Adding more glide would help offset some of the glide lost with a single camber while retaining the grip qualities associated with single camber for a truly balanced ski.

Black Diamond GlideLite 147

Specs
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Style: Metal-Edge Touring
  • Weight: 2 lbs. 10.3 oz.
  • Terrain: Backcountry
  • Ski Camber: Single
  • Tip Width: 125 millimeters
  • Bindings Included: Yes
  • Base: Waxless
Features
  • Wide Design Floats Exceptionally Well In Deep And Soft Powder
  • Single Camber Construction Provides Best Grip For Backcountry
  • Includes Integrated Skins In The Base For Extra Grip When Climbing

BEST FOR: WINTER SNOW TREKKING

Toeing the line between cross-country skis and glorified snowshoe, the Black Diamond GlideLight 147 Snow Trekkers are perfect for rugged backcountry touring. 

At a whopping 125 mm wide, these are the widest skis on our list and provide an amazing amount of float in deep powder and unpredictable backcountry terrain. They really do perform like a hybrid, allowing you to access more remote areas than you would with traditional cross-country skis.

The Snow Trekkers offer glide as well as any other ski while also sporting integrated climbing skins on the base so you can hike up any hill. The middle third of the underside of each ski has a special material designed to grip exceptionally well when climbing.

Fischer Ultralite Crown EF Tour IFP

Specs
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Style: Touring
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 10 oz.
  • Terrain: Groomed
  • Ski Camber: Double
  • Tip Width: 49 millimeters
  • Bindings Included: Yes
  • Base: Waxless
Features
  • Includes Bindings
  • Waxless Design Is Low Maintenance
  • Double Camber Is Classic For Groomed Track Skiing

BEST FOR: CLASSIC TOURING

For the most classic of cross-country touring skis, the Fischer Ultralite Crown EF Tour skis are the cream of the crop. They sport all the characteristics of a classic touring ski, including double camber.

The double camber profile provides extra height and “spring” to the middle third of the skis which prevents the base from touching the ground while gliding (with your weight evenly distributed). Only when putting all of your weight on a single ski will it then flatten, in order to provide grip when pushing. 

The Ultralite Crown EF Tour skis also feature a waxless base, minimizing the maintenance required. It is a good idea to wax the tips and tails for best results, however. The “waxless” moniker means that the middle third needn’t be waxed nor do you need to worry about changing weather conditions that would affect the wax application.

Salomon Snowscape 7

Specs
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Style: Race & Performance - Classic
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 8.1 oz.
  • Terrain: Groomed & Ungroomed
  • Ski Camber: Double
  • Tip Width: 59 millimeters
  • Bindings Included: Yes
  • Base: Waxless
Features
  • Premium Wood Is Both Strong And Light
  • Shorter Than Average Length Increases Maneuverability
  • Waxless Bases Have Textured Grip To Assist Push/Kick Movements

BEST FOR: RECREATIONAL RIDERS EXPLORING COMPETITIVE SKIING

Recreational cross-country skiers who have their sights set on stepping up to competitions will be well equipped with the Salomon Snowscape 7 skis. Great for both casual and competitive skiers alike, these skis have all the features required of a race and performance cross-country ski. 

It’s important to note that these are in the category of “classic” race and performance skis, not skate. The difference is primarily in technique but each type of ski has its particular nuances which assist with the technique being used. 

The double camber in the profile of the Snowscape 7’s provide outstanding glide and is perfect for racing on both groomed and ungroomed terrain.

Rossignol BC 120

Specs
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Style: Metal-Edge Touring
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 1 oz.
  • Terrain: Backcountry
  • Ski Camber: Double - Tip Rocker
  • Tip Width: 120 millimeters
  • Bindings Included: No
  • Base: Waxable
Features
  • Waxable Base Performs Much Better Than Waxless
  • Maneuverability Is Effortless Thanks To Tip Rocker Profile
  • Climbing Skins (Not Included) Can Be Added For Increased Traction

BEST FOR: LIGHTWEIGHT BACKCOUNTRY TOURING

Explorers craving backcountry expeditions while staying light on their feet should strongly consider the Rossignol BC 120’s. Their mega-wide tips will help keep you afloat in even the deepest powder. 

What makes the BC 120’s so unique is that they feature double camber, which is somewhat unusual for backcountry skis (they are typically singe camber for increased carving ability). However, the double camber is also (unusually) paired with a tip rocker, meaning that the tips of the skis are upturned. This unique combination means that what is lost in carving ability by the addition of the double camber is made up for by the rocker tips. The upturned fronts allow greater maneuverability and float in fresh powder. 

It’s also worth highlighting that these are the only skis on this list that do not include bindings, which will need to be purchased separately.

Salomon RS 7 Skate

Specs
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Style: Race & Performance - Skate
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 2 oz.
  • Terrain: Groomed
  • Ski Camber: Single
  • Tip Width: 45 millimeters
  • Bindings Included: Yes
  • Base: Waxable
Features
  • Pre-Mounted Bindings Are Easy To Clip In And Out Of
  • Slightly Wide Shape Helps Beginners Learn Proper Technique
  • Specially Designed Camber Balances Glide, Acceleration, & Stability

BEST FOR: GROOMED SKATE SKIING

Cross-country skiers who prefer the nuanced technique of skate skiing will love the Salomon RS 7 skis. Built to perform best for skate skiing on groomed tracks, these are an elite caliber cross-country ski for both athletes and recreational riders alike. 

The single camber profile on the RS 7’s are perfect for increasing traction needed when skate skiing. These skis also feature a waxable base, meaning that they are a little higher maintenance than their waxless counterparts. 

This is fine when conditions don’t fluctuate wildly and are stable above or below the freezing point, as they will perform much, much better than waxless skis. However, when the temperature is right at 32°F/0°C, you’ll find it’s quite troublesome to apply the wax.

Rossignol Evo Glade 59 AR

Specs
  • Gender: Unisex
  • Style: Touring
  • Weight: 3 lbs. 4.9 oz.
  • Terrain: Groomed & Ungroomed
  • Ski Camber: Double
  • Tip Width: 59 millimeters
  • Bindings Included: Yes
  • Base: Waxless
Features
  • Tool-Free Binding Is Extremely Easy To Adjust
  • Bindings Are Beginner Friendly And Easy To Use
  • Able To Use Both On Ungroomed And Groomed Runs (Tracks)

BEST FOR: TRUE BEGINNERS

Newbies to the sport of cross-country skiing are in for a treat with the Rossignol Evo Glade 59 AR skis. Their smaller than usual design makes them more accessible for true beginners with no experience and make them easier to control and maneuver. 

Even better, the Evo Glade 59 AR’s are a versatile ski, allowing you to take them off the groomed tracks when your skills improve. The classic double camber will familiarize beginners with the most common profile for cross-country skis. Double camber provides easy gliding when one’s weight is evenly distributed across both skis while providing ample amount of grip when weight is fully transferred to a single ski.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING CROSS-COUNTRY SKIS

STYLE OF SKIS

Cross-Country Skis are offered in 3 different styles, each with their own unique characteristics for a specific result.

Touring

  • Best For: All Riders – True Beginners to Expert
  • Touring skis are built to be used on groomed trails (trails with cross-country tracks). They are generally quick due to being lightweight and are also long and skinny.

Race & Performance Classic / Race & Performance Skate

  • Best For: Intermediate Beginners and Up
  • For the Intermediate and Advanced Beginners looking to get into racing, these skis require better technique as they are less forgiving and have less flex. There are 2 styles of Race & Performance skis: Classic and Skate. They are essentially the same but differ in the technique used to ski.

Metal-Edge Touring

  • Best For: Advanced Beginners and Up
  • These skis are designed to handle “out of track” cross country skiing and are better at handling steep terrain. Characterized as shorter and wider than Touring skis, Metal-Edge Touring skis can handle softer and deeper snow as well as icy conditions.

 

LENGTH

Choosing the proper length of cross-country skis will be determined by your intended use/style of skiing. Refer to the sections below on how to find the right length, as each type/style of skiing has a different formula.

Touring Skis

Getting the right length of Touring ski is typically determined by how much you weigh, but can be altered depending on your skill level and preference.

If you’re likely to be on more rugged terrain, then choose a length slightly shorter than suggested. Athletic skiers who are able to increase their skill level quickly should choose a length slightly longer than suggested. Beginners who fall in between sizes should size down.

Use the chart below to determine the right length for your Touring Skis.

Skier 

Weight (lbs.)

Length 

(cm)

Less than 140 lbs.

Small: 160 – 165 cm

135 – 185 lbs

Medium: 170 – 175 cm

175 – 210 lbs

Large: 180 – 185 cm

Greater than 210 lbs

Extra Large: 185 – 195 cm

Race & Performance / Skate

Use the following formula to determine the proper length ski for race and performance skate skiing.

[Your Height in Inches x 2.6] + 5 = Approximate Ski Length

Example: For a skier with a height of 5’ 10”

5’ 10” = 70”

70 x 2.6 = 182

182 + 5 = 187

So, a skier 5’ 10” would need a ski approximately 187 cm

Metal-Edge Touring

Sizing systems are proprietary and vary from maker to maker, refer to the manufacturer’s sizing specifications.

 

WIDTH/DIMENSIONS

The width of skis are measured at 3 points: the tip (front), the tail (back), and the waist (middle).

If you’re looking for a classic touring ski, the width of the tips should be no wider than 70mm since that is the maximum width of ski tracks. If you want the ability to ski both backcountry terrain and groomed tracks without buying two sets of skis, you can do this by purchasing a Metal-Edge Touring ski that, again, has a maximum tip width of 70mm so it fits the tracks. Just realize that your backcountry performance won’t be as easy going as it would be with a wider ski.

Performance and skate skis are usually narrower than 70mm to reduce friction with the ground.

 

CAMBER

Camber refers to the arch in the profile of the ski. When it lays flat on the ground (with no additional weight), the ski will rise in the middle (where the binding is). This is designed to add a sense of “spring” to the skis for better performance.

Camber is also directly related to your weight and it’s important to choose the right size so that the camber will perform as prescribed. There are 2 types of camber found on cross-country skis:

XC Double Camber

Most cross-country (XC) skis are Double (Nordic) Camber. There are two key reasons for being designed the way they are.

  • When standing on the skis with equally distributed weight, double camber skis will still have a slight arch to reduce friction when gliding.
  • When all of your weight is placed on one of the skis, it will flatten completely and touch the ground to provide the necessary grip to push forward.

XC Single Camber

Single Camber, although much less common, can be found on some Metal-Edge Touring skis for backcountry use. The arch is less pronounced in order to provide more even weight distribution for smoother turns when carving.

 

BASE

In order to propel the skier forward, friction is necessary. Cross-country skis have either a waxless or waxable base (underside) to achieve its intended results.

Waxless

Waxless skis are able to grip the snow with a textured pattern in the middle third of the skis and is the most popular kind of base available. Although the middle of the ski doesn’t require wax, the tips and tails of your skis do require wax for the best results.

Waxable

Waxable skis require more maintenance and stable temperatures (either above or below 32°F/0°C) but will perform much better than waxless skis. For this reason, waxable skis are best suited for those who want to compete against others and need the performance boost.

However, if temperatures fluctuate a lot or are right at the freezing point, then applying wax becomes very difficult and the skis will not perform as well as a waxless base. Check out this article to learn how to apply a coat of grip wax to the base of your skis.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

BINDINGS

Bindings are the device that keeps your boots mounted to your skis. They feature a mechanism that holds you in place and can be switched to spring your foot free.

TIPS / TAILS

The front part of the ski is called the tip, while the back part of the ski is the tail.

XC

Stands for “cross-country.”

READ MORE

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