Your cross country ski does not really care which gender you belong to – just like the slopes, you will be skiing on. As long as you are the right body type for your ski and know how to maneuver it, you should be good to go. However, many gender-specific cross country skis are being marketed and a majority of women skiers go for them.
The reason for women explicitly purchasing and using women’s cross country skis is because it is always helpful to use a product specifically designed for you. As compared to men, women have a different type and weight range (generally) of the body. Although women can ski using men’s ski, yet women are generally lighter, and their feet size is different. So, why not go for the gear that is exclusively designed keeping women in mind?
Women’s vs Unisex
Cross country skiing used to be a male-dominated sport, but time and evolution have changed it. Now you can not only find more and more women and even kids enjoying this sport, it has become a competitive sport in skiing competitions. The question is: why can’t women use the same skis as men do? Is this just a marketing gimmick or do women actually need to have skis designed specially for their gender type?
So, what is the Issue?
If you have noticed that the hard-charging skis are not available in shorter sizes, you would realize that women have comparatively shorter shoe sizes than most of the men. This is one of the many reasons why women need special skis that are just right for them. In fact, even men who have a petite structure can go for the women skis to have a firmer grip and a much better and confident ski experience.
What is so Different About Women Skis?
There is more science involved in designing and manufacturing women’s skis than aesthetics. While as a woman you may be tempted to put your hands (or feet!) on feminine color or girly designs on your Nordic skis, it is better to know that these skis are often designed keeping women’s other preferences in mind – the general structure, lighter weight, and built.
However, when Fischer introduced its Ranger 102FR for women skiers in a hot pink color, there were many men who wanted it too. Does that call for a unisex ski manufacturing and marketing system? One that is more focused on the structure that both men and women could enjoy, and less on attaching some gender to the skis.
Unisex Skis, Anyone?
So, if men are also interested in some of the women-labeled ski structures, why not go for a unisex ski approach? For example, a Nordic ski that is gender-neutral and unisex – a unisex ski that could be used and appreciated by both men and women. Is it only the colors and graphics that are making men go for the macho male skis even if they want to try out the ones that are designed for women?
6 Best Nordic Skis for Women
Whether you are trying Nordic skiing for the very first time, or you can ski with your eyes close, if you are a woman you must be curious to know what women skis are available in the market, and what they can offer you.
Here are our top 6 Nordic skis for women that you must have a look at. One of these is the right one for you.
1. The Turnamic Step-In: Fischer Mystique My Style
The Turnamic Step-In Fischer Mystique My Style women skis are in fact a blessing for cross country women skiers. They feature Integrated Fixation Plate – the IFP – and have a core of Air Channel Basalite technology.
The Step-In Fischer Mystique My Style skis are ergonomically designed. The turn lock system prevents any unwanted openings while you are on the slopes. The lever has a soft but secure grip that makes stepping in and out a breeze.
The best part is, you do not need a toolbox to mount and set its positionings. Thanks to the double lock slider, the bindings can be fixed and adjusted safely on the IFP plate. The Flow Flex feature makes sure that the two-part plate and the latching (that have 2 pins spaced closely) provide extra security and fixes the bindings at a single point.
2. The Lightest: Fischer 2020 Inspire My Style
The ski features IFP binding plate that you can move forward or backward depending upon your comfort level and terrain. The ski has an elegant finish and is great for tracks as well as out-of-track performances.
The Lightest Fischer 2020 Inspire My Style XC skis are great for intermediate level as well as fitness enthusiastic women skiers. These skis are light in weight and have a solid base of Air Core Basalite.
3. The Beginner: Fischer Affinity
The Fischer Affinity EF Cross Country Skis for Women is ideal for in-track or off-the-track skiing. It features the Integrated Fixation Plate (IFP) and is pre-mounted with Turnamic Tour step-in binding. The reduced length size facilitates better control and maneuverability. With the help of its Efficient Forward construction, the women skier can enjoy an easy kick and an even easier and smoother glide.
It boasts a hybrid air channel core and a Vario Crown waxless base. The Vario Crown is the latest in Crown technology. It is a combination of Single Crown, Double Crown, and Gliding Crown technologies that enable an even more efficient power transfer and optimum glide.
The core has air channels integrated into its fiberglass wooden core that make these skies light in weight but heavy in performance, which means, they provide hardcore resistance towards breaking. The air channels also ensure a better distribution of pressure.
With a side cut of 60/ 52/ 58, the Fischer Affinity XC ski weighs around 1360 (for S-196 cm sized ski). The Fischer Affinity EF XC Skis for Women are elegantly designed and come in different sizes: Medium (174 cm), Small (169 cm), and even Extra Small (164 cm). This step-in IFP binding blue and white ski has a cost of around $139.95 and $199.95.
4. The Fishscale: Salomon Snowscape 7 Vitane
The Salomon Snowscape 7 Vitane offers you an excellent grip and a very consistent glide. Whether you want women ski for recreational purposes or competitive sports – this is the one for you. Its G2 Synchro base is proven to provide skiers the grip they need to conquer any slope. With the help of its S-CUT shape and shorter length, you can enjoy maximum maneuverability whether you want to glide down a slope or climb uphill.
The Fishscale Salomon Snowscape 7 Vitane is ideal for women skiers as it has a durable and lightweight Densolite core. The Densolite 1000 core is created using uni-directional fiberglass from the outside, and a specially shaped Densolite foam from the inside.
This elegant blue fish scale women ski does not need you to go through the fuss of waxing. With a side cut of 59/ 55/ 51/ 55 and an average weight of 1.45 kgs, your skis are pre-drilled at the best position. All you need to do is take a screwdriver to mount any SNS/ Prolink binding, and off you go!
This women’s ski is great for all on-track as well as off-the-track performances. It is available in three sizes: small, medium, and large.
5. The Best Maneuverability: Salomon Women’s Snowscape 7 Siam
The Salomon Women’s Snowscape 7 Siam Ski provides the best maneuverability on the slopes. It features a side cut of 59/ 55/ 51/ 55, and a pair of these elegant women skis will weigh around 1250 grams.
Some of its features include the Digital Dynamic Flex Control (DDFC) and a super helpful climbing aid technology. The G2 plus along with Densolite 2000 core make sure you are as confident on the slopes as ever.
The weight of these Salomon Women’s Snowscape 7 Siam XC skis, on average is around 1.36 kgs. To make things easier for you, the manufacturer recommends your ski length according to your body weight. If your weight is less than 40 kg, between 40 kg and 45 kg, or even between 45 kg to 50 kg, the small size (S) is recommended. For weights between 50 kg to 65kg, medium size (M) is recommended. For women weighing between 65 kg to 80 kg, go for the large size (L).
6. The Metal-Edged: Alpina Discovery 68W Backcountry
The Alpina Discovery 68W Backcountry Cross Country Women Skis are elegant, functional, and everything you will need on the slopes. This pink-colored metal edged beauty features smooth gliding by combining the on-trail functionalities of a narrow XC ski with the off-track performance of a backcountry ski.
The Alpina Discovery 68W has an impressive width of 60 mm from the ski waist, making it narrow enough for showing the best gliding performance on groomed tracks. And if that is not enough, these narrow skis are stable and strong enough to explore the unchartered powdered snow. So, no matter what your skiing terrain is, this elegant pair of skis can take you on a fun ride.
For hard snow, the metal edges of these skis give you the much needed performance that you need. In short, the Alpina Discovery 68W Backcountry XC skis are a work of science and arts!
The ski base is Sollte SS810 waxless pattern base which provides you with excellent grip especially when you are climbing. And while you are going downhill, the Speed grind features on the tail and tip of your skis give you the glide you always dreamt of.
The sidecut of 68 mm ski tip, 60 mm ski waist, and 65 mm of ski tail is great for all groomed and ungroomed territories. It has an Ultra Lite wooden core with long lasting cap construction, and not to forget the metal edges.
You can install NNN-BC bindings, 75 mm bindings, or cable bindings on your Alpine Discovery 68W women skis.
Weighing around 4.1 pounds and available in 4 sizes of 160 cm, 170 cm, 180 cm, and 190 cm – so, what are you waiting for?
How to Choose
Choosing the right women’s ski for you is not as simple as it may sound. If you are a woman who has ever been to a ski shop looking for the perfect ski and the salesperson convincing you to buy from the women ski section only, you know the feeling. While women ski may sound exclusively for women, may such skis do not have the length that most of the pro women skiers want – hence the popularity of unisex skis.
But not all women skiers want length – most of them want their skies to be relatively shorter so they can easily handle them on the slopes. It is not because women cannot handle longer skies – it is because the long ski skies are not in proportion with their height. The general height of women is relatively less than that of a male skier.
Whether you are a woman or a man, in order to choose the perfect ski for yourself, you need to consider the following factors:
- Type and structure of your body.
- Your skiing style.
- The ski bindings.
Many unisex skis keep in mind the above factors and work to eliminate the extreme readings of both men and women’s weight, height and other stats. This way, they come up with skies that may be slightly different from the traditional Nordic skies in terms of length and weight, but many skiers – both men and women – find them better than the conventional ones.
Let us have a detailed look into each of the above-mentioned factors.
It is not a hidden fact that the general weight and body structure of men and women are quite different. Women generally have less weight than men and their center of gravity and power generating from the body while skiing is from a different area than men (more on this later).
If a woman skier wants to flex her ski in the same manner as a man around 200 pounds does, the ski needs to weigh a bit lighter. For this reason, the ski manufacturers of women skis often thin out the metal or remove it completely. The women ski manufacturers may also change the dimensions of the skis to make sure women get the most grip, comfort, and angle out of their skis.
The skiing style of men and women is also different and for this reason, many women who go exclusively for women skis find that those skis help them in skiing.
It is also about the ramp angle as women’s center of gravity while skiing is different than that of men’s. When a woman skier is on the slope, the center of gravity is usually their hips, while for men, it is in their chest region.
That is the reason why some ski manufacturers add a bit of ramp angle on the skis to adjust. As a result, the women ski’s center of gravity is slightly moved forward. If you have noticed some ski manufacturers attaching the ski bindings a centimeter ahead, this is the same reason why they do that – in order to get the same angle effect on the skis.
Ski bindings are very important, to say the least, as they provide you with the comfort to ski while giving you a proper grip, making sure your feet do not dangle when you are on the slopes.
Women skis have women-specific ski bindings that are different than the bindings that men use. The shoe sizes of men are different from the women’s range of shoe sizes. Now there are exceptions with women having large feet or men with a petite structure, but generally women shoe sizes are always smaller than their male skiing counterpart.
If you go for women ski bindings, you would understand that these bindings have different high backs as well as dimensions as these are exclusively designed for women’s boots and calves.
To choose the right bindings, make sure your heel has a snug fit in the binding and you are able to flex your boot but the binding should not sway it away. The ski bindings should have a comfortable grip on your boots without providing you with unnecessary play.
The concept of “shrink it and pink it” to sell women skis do not work anymore. Women skiers need performance and not just aesthetics. It is about their weight, structure, and preference of ski length.
While women skiers have been using men’s skis in the past, it is best to go for a unisex or a women’s ski that is exclusively designed keeping the target audience in mind. You can use a male ski and totally ace it. But if you are looking for comfort, control, grip, and enjoyment – why not buy the women’s cross country ski that is specially designed and manufactured keeping you in mind?
From the six best women cross country skis that are reviewed above, which one is going to accompany you on your next skiing adventure?