Madshus Nano Boots
The chief difference between the Nano and the full race version is in the cuff. The race boot’s is carbon; this one is injected composite. There might be a barely noticeable loss of power, but we can’t say for sure.
Rottefella Xcelerator Bindings
Shop for boots based on fit, then commit to a binding system. There are two, both equally good: SNS (by Salomon) and NNN (by Rottefella). Commitment matters, because you’ll want to keep older skis in your quiver for different snow conditions. These NNN bindings feature a metal closure system for a solid connection and enhanced edging.
Swix Carbon TBS Premium Composite Poles
Nordic poles are way more important than your alpine ones are. Prepare for sticker shock, but upgrade if you can. They need to be light and stiff, vibration damping, and the correct size. Of the poles we tested, the TBSs hit the sweet spot: plenty light, stiff enough for performance skiing, and not outrageously expensive.
Madshus Terrasonic Skis
It’s all about balance: too stiff and you won’t be able to de-camber them—you’ll be stuck with poor glide and a twitchy ride. Too soft and your weight is unevenly distributed, which saps power as you push through each stride. We ran laps at Eldora Mountain Resort’s Nordic Center, outside Boulder, Colorado, exchanging Madshus’ top-shelf race skis for its high-end but more affordable Terrasonics. What did we find? A minimal weight penalty but the same quality base material and a quieter ride will make for a mellower learning curve.