Spectator Guide

Remember: When buying ski equipment from a store, be sure to mention you are a high school skier! You usually get 10-15% off.

Required Ski Gear

  1. Skis: Classic and Skate Style

  2. Bindings: Note that binding and boot styles must match

  3. Boots: "Combi" boots serve for both classic and skate styles

  4. Ski poles: Classic and Skate Style

  5. Jacket suitable* for winter aerobic activity

  6. Pants suitable* for winter aerobic activity

  7. Ski bag for care and transport of skis and poles.

  • High school has limited ski equipment for new skiiers.

  • * Suitable: ideally water resistant and breathable material and not cotton.

Important Personal Gear

A. Long underwear (top and bottom)

B. Warm socks (not cotton)

C. Gloves or mittens

D. Neck gaiter / buff / scarf

E. Goggles / sunglasses

F. Winter hat

On Required Ski Gear:

  • Classic skis - these are the skis associated with what most people think of when they think of cross country skiing. Ski's remain flat and have a mechanical "stick" on the bottom that allows forward motion.

  • Skate skis are different from classic skis in that they do not have any mechanism to "stick" to the snow to create forward motion. Skate skiiers push - just like ice skaters - to generate power and momentum.

  • "Combi" boots are designed to be used with both classic and skate skis/techniques. One pair of combi boots can therefore be used with two different sets of skis, as long as the boot/binding systems are consistent.

  • Boots and bindings can be either SNS (Salomon Nordic System) or NNN (New Nordic Norm) and the must match. If you are buying used gear, make sure you are taking the boot/binding system into consideration

  • Combi boots/skate & classic boots: These should be sized by a ski shop professional (once you know the size, you could look on Craigslist or hit a ski swap)- boots are in European sizes like “36”

  • Skis, poles, boots: These can be from the school, former skiers, ski swaps, ski shops, Craigslist, eBay, etc. Again, remember to pay attention to the boot/binding system.

  • Ski Bag: If you get skis from the school you will likely get a ski bag too.

  • Winter workout clothes: Appropriate apparel is important both for skiing as well as for preseason, outdoor workouts such as running, when there's no snow.

On Important Personal Gear:

  • Wool and synthetics (good) versus cotton (bad) are important materials because they do not absorb and hold moisture, be it sweat (working hard) or snowmelt (falling down).

Where to Find Equipment:

Information About Equipment:

Skis (classic and skate + Bindings)

  • Skis are fitted to weight.

  • Bindings are either “NNN” or “SNS”. If you have NNN boots, they won’t work with SNS bindings and vice-versa. Bring your boots when you buy used skis to make sure they work together.

  • Combi boots are a good way to save money. However, combi skis are significantly worse than separate skate and classic skis and should be avoided if possible.

Poles (different heights for classic and skate)

  • These are fitted to your height.

  • Most skiers who are new to the sport should be using a classic pole height that comes up to their armpits/shoulder and skate pole height somewhere between the chin and eyes. The height needs to be considered as if the skier is standing in boots on snow.

  • Your classic pole height cannot be more than 83% or your height in the Minnesota high school league.

  • Velcro grips are better than just loops you stick your hands into because the skiers should “fling” the poles away from them as they pole forward.

Ski Boots (classic and skate or “combi" boots which can be used for both)

  • Your boots must match the type of bindings you have on your skis. SNS bindings do not work with NNN skis and visa versa, see the bottom of this page to learn the difference between SNS and NNN boots.

  • Many skiers enjoy using a “Superfeet” insert to make their ski boots more comfortable (available at sporting goods stores, REI, Hoigaards, etc).

Ski Wax

  • Kick Wax: This is the stuff that makes your classic skis grip the snow. Ask for a starter set of kick wax (wax + cork for applying it) when you get your skis so your skier can start to assemble their own “wax box”. Different waxes are needed for different temperatures and different ski conditions. Your coaches and captains will help teach you how to apply the kick wax. You MUST have your kick wax on you when classic skiing because there will be no sharing of wax this year due to COVID-19! You don't want to stuck without any kick!

Winter Workout Clothes

  • You can get basic, decent quality sweat wicking "base layers" at Target, and you can find many fleece products, windproof shells, hats, and sometimes even ski pants at stores like Marshalls or Midwest Mountaineering.

  • For higher prices, you can get high-quality base layers from any ski shop. They will last longer, feel better, and be warmer –but they do cost more.

  • Look for ¾ zip necks to help you regulate heat without having to remove a layer.

  • Windproof (test them by blowing through the fabric) shells and pants are great for warmth.

  • Winter biking gear can also be used for skiing. Multiple light layers work better (they trap air) than big bulky down jackets, which will become very warm, very quickly).

  • Gloves (rather than mittens) work best. Make sure they fit through your skier’s hand grips on their poles.

Ski Bag

Bags are critical for transporting, protecting and keeping track of your equipment. Most ski shops sell cheap canvas/nylon bags and you can look for used ones online.

What kind of boots do I have?