/ XC Ski gear
I'm an OK skier on piste.. can comfortably ski reds, some blacks and could XC ski 30k routes when in Norway, but a lot of them were groomed..
what should I look for..
I'm after a cheap set, but don't want to have to buy again too soon so some quite versatile.. it'll mainly be for forest trails hilliest areas will be the harz or krkonoses in poland..
What is the decathlon stuff like? looks pretty cheap?
Doesn't really matter, being a good runner is far more likely to make you a good XC skier I'd say.
Fortunately compared to downhill, xc gear is dirt cheap unless you're wanting race kit. You need to decide if you want classic or skate-style. Most people will start with classic, but if you have good tracks nearby skate style is less hassle in terms of waxing etc, plus its an amazing work out which you'll love I'm sure! Probably best to borrow or hire both types of skis and try both and see what you want. Unfortunately, the gear doesn't cross over well, skis different, boots different, poles longer for skating etc. so if you want to do both, you'll need two sets of gear.
Probably what you want all depends on how much you do: how good your local tracks are, how snowy, cold the winters are etc. Don't know about Germany, but here if you buy now you'll get 30 - 50% off everything because its the end of season and they want to clear their stocks.
Just thought about this - are you saying that where you are now, there aren't groomed trails? In which case, you want different gear - touring gear: heavier boots, stronger bindings, heavier skis possible with metal edges etc.
I reckon around the krkonoses not much will be groomed trails.. not certain. I'm heading down there next week so may ask there.
I'll see what I can find on line about the harz region as well..
I'm basically coming at this from total ignorance, just did some with a mate in tromso and enjoyed the work out so fancied doing more..
Used to use bog standard cheap Fischer langlauf skis for the Harz. As you say, forest trails, then up the Brocken and ski back down and they were more than suitable.
In fact, if you tipped up with "ski touring" kit, you'd get some funny looks from the locals! Somewhere online, there is a trail that you can follow along the old West/East border and visit some of the old towers if they are still around.
Jealous you'll be near the Harz, fantastic place, great climbing, x country skiing, kayaking and always pop into Goslar, 3000 year old town and it is stunning. Enjoy Rostock!
Ooh, and Goslar Christmas Market, fantastic.
I don't mean full AT gear, more skis like http://www.telemark-pyrenees.com/en/fischere99crownxtralite1213-p-79156.html and boots like http://www.telemark-pyrenees.com/en/all/c-skiboots/skidiscipline-nordictouring/f/
Skis like that will still fit in prepared tracks, but will work where there are no tracks, whilst light XC skis are a bit of a 'mare off track.
I've just got into this myself as we have lots of tracks nearby and its a good alternative to running when there's too much snow and the running trails are too deep.
As TobyA mentioned, the (XC) kit cost is fairly low to buy, and as a result it also is to rent too. I thought of buying some end of line stuff from Decathlon but they don't have my sized skis left in stock. Backcountry/ski touring is obviously a whole different kettle of fish and is something I think I'm going to have to build up to.
In the end I've been renting from the ski place near us which is run by a local farmer. Because we've helped him out with a few favours over time he's pretty much letting me take the kit when I want for minimal cost - but even full price its 7 EUR a day to rent so I figured I would spend this season getting familiar on rental skis then be in a much more informed decision to buy next year. Realistically we've only got about 6 weeks of good trail conditions left at most.
Good luck - its a great change from running but still a huge CV workout - I went out with the dog yesterday at 5.30pm - now its staying lighter its viable after work, there wasn't a single person left on the trails and was treated to an amazing sunset. Great stuff.
> Skis like that will still fit in prepared tracks, but will work where there are no tracks, whilst light XC skis are a bit of a 'mare off track.
that's more akin to what I use at home, when I first break trail, after a few goes around, I can use the lightweight kit no problems at all. Then just break out the heavy stuff after another dump of snow.
The trick is breaking trail well, doing big sweeping curves downhill, too easy to make tight short corners when breaking trail, then you come back the next the day and glide out of the tracks you just made because they are faster now.
If there are no prepared trails then the mountain type ski with metal edges and a heavier boot is your best bet. Using a track ski off the prepared trails is of course possible but not much fun. If there are decent tracks nearby then i'd definately recommend classic or skating equipment. It's a lot of fun and you can train as hard as you like. Classic kit is more versatile if the trails are narrow and not well groomed, but skating is super enjoyable on wider well prepared trails.
We couldn't do the Brocken when I lived there as it was in East Germany and had an electronic warfare station on the top.
That's interesting. All the big supermarkets here also sell basic xc kit (most kids have a set for PE lessons for example), but it's quite hard to find fishscale based skis, they are seen as bit rubbish, or perhaps the shops just like selling all the waxes too! :)
I've seen this kind of comment a few times and am quite frustrated that I don't find any of this in France, despite living in an Alpine area.
Decathlon have some fairly cheap gear but still pricey enough if you make the wrong call. Boots, skis and batons would take you above 200EUR.
What I most liked about the Harz was seeing small kids, super fit teenagers racing along and little old grannies just shuffling from cafe to cafe but all out enjoying the snow.
Sounds just like the forest parks here in Helsinki.
I know most Finns think that fish-scale bases are slow and noisy. Particularly since grip tape was invented waxing isn't too much of chore anyway, not unless you're at the world championship of course! http://yle.fi/uutiset/ski_problems_hamper_finnish_medal_hopes/6508305
I'm a bit further south, around Nürnberg, but in similar position to you. I can go from my back door through the woods and forest tracks and valleys round here, but that involves breaking trail myself (unless someone else has been out first, which does happen!), other than that, it involves a half hour drive to somewhere that's groomed.
I suspect you might be surprised at how much you find that is groomed. Certainly, around here, a lot of village football clubs have a snow machine which they use in the winter to make a couple of cross country trails. Certainly, the Frankenjura is not a skiing resort kind of area, but there are plenty of trails to go at, all all available to find (including current condition of the trail) on the internet. Going further to the Fichtelgebirge or somewhere like the Frankenwald, Rhön or Harz would almost certainly have groomed trails (normally for tracked skiing, or tracked and skating).
As for buying, there are plenty of options. If you're happy choosing for yourself, then big supermarkets often have them (Real near us does), but the chances are that these will be track skis with fish scales. It sounds like fish scales are more popular here than in Finland, but that might be because it doesn't get as cold here, or have something to do with different snow conditions. Going down this route, you could probably kit yourself out for €200 for basic gear. I went to a local running shop, that do xc stuff in winter, paid about €250 for my kit, got not totally bottom of the range stuff and decent advice. I think if I'd got for decent track skis - not racing, but I wouldn't go for metal edges wide things either unless you've got a great area on your doorstep where noone else skis (unlikely). I'd wait and see what's around to be skiied before you buy. I would avoid skating skis though, if you want to go of track sometimes. Skating skis will only work really on tracks groomed for skating. It might be something for you (particularly with your running background), and you might have tracks near you, but find out first!
Hope that helps, and if you fancy heading a bit south, we could find some skiing in the middle to do!
Just spend the weekend in the Harz.. Denni didn't see any border paraphenalia? just signs etc
But saturday was a 16 miler up Brocken, running on the trails, at the sides where groomed.. then headed into Braunlage and hired langlauf sets.. 12 euros/day.. then a 7 mile ski at dusk
Sunday was another 12 mile ski, then an evening run ip wurmberg.
Great weekend, loved the skiing. I almost bought a set but it was 280 euros and could get the gear much cheaper when I looked on line.. my hip flexors are destroyed from skiing.. is that normal?
I think I hired standard classic salomon ski's, elite grip 5 or something, 198cm, they seemed OK.. I was OK at climbing if it wasn't to steep and could snow plough down the steeper hills but did fall a fair bit..
It was certainly my experience. They quickly calm down though as you get used to it.
I managed to face-plant the other day going down a really steep hill to cross a bridge - it was sunny and warm and the snow was soft and sticky, and leaning too far forwards I basically had too much grip and my skis would stop sending me forwards. All part of the fun learning experience though.
Where have you found cheap gear online btw?
The link works - pretty amazing.
We've had a real thaw and now rain so our trails are a bit trashed but the pisteurs are putting in a brave effort trying to keep them skiable. Snow dump forecast for Wednesday so fingers crossed.
Good to hear that even your legs get sore Iain, I had you down as a sort uber-athlete who would never ache! Particularly not from just a little xc-ski. :)
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