What’s the best cross-country ski gear?
Can you recommend a good cross-country skiing package that's suitable for both groomed trails and backcountry use? John Duluth, Minnesota
I think I’m up to the task. Basically, you’ll need to think in terms of backcountry use, as groomed-trail gear is only marginally usable when off-trail, while the off-trail stuff is a little clunky but works perfectly fine on the groomed.
For skis, a fine all-around ski is the Fischer Rebound Crown ($210). You’ll think it looks like a downhill ski, and it doesthe shaped-ski craze hit cross-country a few years ago, so the Rebounds have a deep sidecut that helps with turning. Full metal edges keep a grip when you’re on hard crud or traversing. They might be a little wide for some tracks, but I think, on the whole, they’ll be fine. A waxless base ensures you don’t have to think too much when strapping them on. You can spend more for skis (Karhu Dorado: $275), or less (Madshus Voss Multigrip: $150), and still get adequate performance either way.
Chances are you can shave 10 percent off the combined prices of these items if you buy them all at once. Then make the store give you a new daypack at their sale price. Make ’em earn your hard-won money!