The Best Cross-Country Ski Touring Gear of 2022
Go where the groomer hasn’t
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Nordic skiing comes in many forms. Sure, it’s fun to zip down corduroy on a well-waxed skate setup. But there’s something special about just clipping into your bindings and going—around the backyard, down an unplowed forest road, or through the woods on a hiking trail that doesn’t see a lot of traffic. Those days call for different gear: a fatter ski, a slightly beefier boot, and clothing and accessories to keep you warm even if you’re moving slow. Here’s our favorite kit this season.
Fischer OTX Trail Boots ($149)
Nordic touring boots can be clunky. Not these, which are stiff and supportive enough for off-track endeavors in a surprisingly light (1.3-pound), svelte package, with a secure speed-lace system that locks the foot in place. The rubber outsole is more flexible and deeply lugged than typical nordic boots to keep you surefooted in icy parking lots.
Ortovox Berrino Jacket ($240)
The Berrino has fleecy merino on the inside and durable synthetic polyamide on the outside. It’s light, breathable, soft enough to wear over a T-shirt, and wards off flurries. (women’s XS–XL / men’s S–XXL)
Atomic Savor XC Skintec Skis ($335)
When it comes to off-track nordic adventures, skin skis, which use built-in alpine-style climbing skins under the foot to produce grip, are the way to go. They require minimal maintenance, so you can pretty much just slap them on at your back door and head off into the woods. Atomic’s Savor boasts a new silhouette designed with maneuverability in mind: it’s wider and shorter, with a gradual sidecut for a stable yet nimble ride that skiers of all abilities will enjoy,. At 46 millimeters underfoot, they’re also skinny enough to fit into groomed tracks.
One Way BC Vario Poles ($119)
Any old beater poles will do the trick for low-key woodland adventures, but touring-specific ones with adjustable shafts and powder baskets sure are nice. One Way’s aluminum BC Vario is adjustable from 95 to 160 centimeters, with a long cork-and-foam grip that comes in handy on angled traverses.
Mystery Ranch D Route Pack ($99)
The D Route has been one of our favorite resort-ski packs for years due to its low-profile design. Turns out it rocks for nordic touring too—it’s just big enough to hold water, snacks, and an extra layer or two, without getting in the way of an efficient stride. This year it got an upgrade: a waterproof front panel, 1.2 extra liters of storage capacity, and a two-ounce weight reduction.
Goodr VRG Sunglasses ($35)
Shield frames offer refuge from both sun and wind but look undeniably dorky. The VRG has those benefits (sans lateral protection) in a stylish silhouette.
Hestra Windstopper Wool Terry Split Mitts ($70)
Unfortunately for those of us with cold hands, mittens are a no-go for nordic skiing. You need full finger dexterity to grip and release the pole with each stride. The solution: hybrid gloves, which group your fingers into three slots instead of five individual ones. This pair uses a terry lining made of looped wool yarn, which generates a shocking amount of warmth with relatively little bulk (a windproof shell helps). That lining is almost as soft as fleece, minus the fuzz.
Daehlie Sportswear Conscious Pants ($200)
Daehlie’s latest uses a Tencel-wool blend—soft shell on the front of the legs and airy elastic mesh on the back—so you can stay warm on blustery days without getting sweaty, even when you’re working hard. We especially like the pants’ wide, flat waistband, which is covered in the same stretchy fabric found on the back of the legs—they’re almost as comfortable as yoga pants. (women’s XS–XL / men’s S–XL)
CamelBak Podium Flow Belt ($45)
If you’re just going out for a few hours, CamelBak’s Podium Flow belt is all you need. Its rectangular zippered storage pocket is just a bit bigger than what you’d find on typical hydration belts—enough to fit a phone, gloves, and snacks. The water-bottle sleeve holds a standard 21-ounce vessel (included).