Cross Country Ski Sizing

On the surface, Nordic skis seem pretty straightforward. There are only two types, classic and skate and fit is determined primarily by length. Right? Not so fast. In reality, finding a Nordic ski is a dance between the perfect mix of tip flex, camber height, residual camber and yes, length. For that you need qualified experts, like those at Jans, to interpret your precise set of requirements.

Betsy Bothe | Park City, UT | Photo: Eric Schramm

To get you started, this is a primer on how to choose a Nordic ski. But don’t stop there, come in and meet with us, or if you are out of town, give us a call. We’ll make the process a whole lot less intimidating by listening to your needs and working through the technical stuff with you.

What’s Your Preference?

While skate skiers propel themselves in a skating motion, classic skiers use more of an elliptical machine type motion. This means that while the types of Nordic skis look similar, they couldn’t be more different. So, when purchasing a Nordic ski you must first start with the basics. What are looking to do? Classic skis are amazingly versatile, says Paul Clark, Manager of White Pine Touring Center. You can ski in the woods, on the track, or across mountains. The whole family can do it together or you can get an early morning aerobic workout since you are only limited by how far your legs will let you go.

Unlike classic, skate skiing is limited mostly to a groomed track or trail, of which the options in Park City are numerous. This technique entices the skier with the push and glide of covering more ground in a shorter period of time and the cross-over to alpine skiing (as in, “skating up to the lift.”) Diehard skate skiers have been known to use classic to complement their skate technique, but either way, it’s up to you. You just have to know which you want to do before we can offer much help.

Length Matters

Once technique and ability have been determined, the Experts at Jans consider the biometrics, such as height and weight, to help determine a ski’s length and the all-important flex.

Flex Is The Thing

Flex is a big word for such skinny skis but it is the key in all things Nordic. It is the numerical value assigned to flexing the ski into the snow and determines the stability and ease of use. It includes tip flex (how much the tip of the ski flexes), camber height (how high the ski is off the snow) and residual chamber (how much height is left in the ski after you compress your weight into it.) Some Nordic ski manufacturers, such as Rossignol and Atomic, provide residual camber values. Others prefer to use a simple flex rating.

While residual camber is more important for racers, every Nordic skier can benefit from it. And that’s where the experts at Jans come in. They can interpret flex, both the quantitative and qualitative values, to take the guesswork out of the process and help you find the best ski possible. These charts will help get you started.

Atomic Skate Ski Sizing

99-132 lbs172 cm Medium
121-154 lbs172 cm Hard
110-143 lbs178 cm Medium
132-165 lbs178 cm Hard
121-154 lbs184 cm Medium
143-176 lbs184 cm Hard
165-198 lbs190 cm Medium
187-220 + lbs190 cm Hard

Atomic Classic Ski Sizing

88 - 121 lbs184 cm Medium
99 - 132 lbs191 cm Medium
110-143 lbs184 cm Hard
121-154 lbs191 cm Hard
132-165 lbs198 cm Medium
154-187 lbs198 cm Hard
154-198 lbs205 cm Medium
176-209+ lbs205 cm Hard