Cross country skiers don’t know what they don’t know about cross country skiing and we don’t know who doesn’t know that either… Folks often assume that what they know about the Nordic world is common knowledge. Everyone knows that! But this is very much not the case…
If there is one thing I do know about the Cross Country skiing business is that one person’s “given” is another person’s dawning of a new age!
With that in mind here are few XC items that may go overlooked but shouldn’t. Here are a few of our favorite essential Cross Country skiing accessories.
- Fischer BCX Variolite Cross Country Pole $89.00 – Here is an adjustable (don’t say collapsible) pole with a Nordic touring grip. The grip is key on any pole. A touring grip vs. an alpine grip is so much more comfortable to use while cross country skiing. It allows you to extend your poling action through the length of your glide. Alpine grips tend to only let you pole straight up or straight down and inhibit a natural arm swing through your poling. This is a cork grip, too. Cork won’t send cold through your gloves into your fingers like a plastic grip can. Plus, the adjustability of this pole allows you to lock in the ideal length depending on snowpack or the hill you want to climb or descend. Sweet poles!
- A Swix Knit Hat $32.00 +/- – Ok, any knit hat will do and you will want to select a hat according to the weather and temperatures you’ll be skiing in. A very frosty windy day will require a heavier knit hat. Mild days with only moderate cold are perfect for a thinner or mid-weight knit hat. And maybe, on a very warm Spring day with tons of sun you may want to skip the knit hat for a sun hat. The point is hats protect you from the elements, keep you warm or cooler depending on the day, and wick moisture from your scalp keeping you dryer, too. We are very partial to the Swix XC hats with tassels because they express a Norwegian roots panache that all can love.
- Buff Neck Gaiter $20.00 – How can something so simple and thin be so significant? Buffs are a microfiber tube of cloth. A week or two back I skied Walton Peak on Rabbit Ears Pass. Down in the valley the sun was out and snow was melting. Up on The Pass the remnants of a quick moving storm was dropping snow and a North wind was blowing little ice crystals into my face. A little tug-up on my Buff had me smiling and skiing and singing (to myself) up the trail. Buffs can be worn in a multiple of styles including a simple neck gaiter, a headband, balaclava style to be layered under your knit hat and on and on…
- Maxiglide Quick Wax $12.00 – Yes, you’re no wax skis need to be waxed. Maxiglide is simple to use and is the perfect wax to use between hot waxes. The “no wax” pattern on your skis can ice up and collect a nice brick of snow on it. Applying Maxiglide full length, from tip to tail, on your ski base will ensure no icing and a better gliding ski. Remember to hot wax the tips and tails of your backcountry skis occasionally and use Maxiglide frequently. This product is a surface wax and it doesn’t last long but it does help protect your ski base and it definitely enhances the gliding of the ski. A little Maxiglide goes a long way. Apply conservatively, let air dry, buff with a clean cloth, and ski!
- Toko Thermo Race Windblocker Gloves $49.00 – These are a mid-weight glove that can easily handle mild days but with the layer of windblocker in them they can worn on pretty cold days, too. The Windblocker is not a thermal layer. It does block the wind but that is key. Keep the wind out and warmth in. I do wish they took the “race” name off these gloves. They’re probably too heavy to be considered a true race glove. I wear mine as a very versatile, mulit-temperture backcountry xc skiing glove. I also use them as a Spring biking glove.
- Darn Tough Nordic Socks $23.00 – Darn Tough socks are great fitting and feel real good on your feet. A Nordic sock is a crew length sock. We don’t need shin protection so there is no need to be xc skiing in knee high alpine socks. Make sure your socks come to the top of your boots and no more. One way to reduce bulk from your layering system is shorten your socks. Darn Tough Nordic socks are made with Merino wool and long lasting. Get a fresh pair and don’t be surprised how they add a few miles to your tour!
A new pole, a new hat, some great new gloves, comfy socks, a little bit of wax on your skis, and a tiny thin layer of fabric can add a brand new dimension to your cross country ski day. Get out and have some XC fun!