The beauty of cross country skiing – classic or skating – is that you can decide your budget to purchase your ski gear and enjoy the surroundings as well as the sport.
Cross country skiing is not an expensive sport, unlike the impression most people get. While you can always invest in high-end brands producing technical gear, cross country skiing can certainly be enjoyed with a minimalist approach. You can also rent the ski gear at a very low cost as compared to Alpine or Downhill skiing where you also need to purchase the lift tickets.
Gear Cost Analysis
The basic gear that you need to do XC skiing with, includes the cross-country skis, boots, bindings, and ski poles. The price of the ski gear can add up quickly, but if you have a budget in mind, you can have a win-win situation by going for the basic functionality. The quality and brand name of your skiing gear can directly impact your cost. You can spend more or less so there are different ranges of ski gear for different types of skiers. As a beginner, you can go for economical gear and then bump your gear up when you feel more like a pro.
If you are getting started with cross country skiing, there is no point in emptying your wallet on something you are not sure about. Will you do it next year too? or perhaps you will give some other snow sport a try. You can go for entry-level ski gear which may have the department store quality – enough to last for a season or two.
You can purchase your entire ski gear package (skis, boots, poles, and bindings) for around $400. You can purchase cross country skis that have fish scales for better grip but have more weight in general as compared to the expensive skis.
The ski boots can cost you less than $100 and will give you a moderate level of ankle support as well as no out-of-the-way insulation, but it would be good enough to give you a start. You can find many ski boots around $65 or higher – the higher you go, the better the quality gets, generally.
If you are looking for economic ski poles, you can get the aluminum-based poles which may be heavier than the fiberglass or carbon fiber ones but are more cost-friendly (less than $50).
Purchasing an economical ski gear (that will cost you between $350 to $400) may be a great idea if you are on a budget and want to start cross country skiing for pleasure. Once you develop a deep bond with it, you will notice that investing in better-quality gear will be beneficial for you in the long run. It will not only give you a superior ski experience but would be more comfortable and enjoyable especially during long hours of skiing.
If you have a budget between $500 to $800, you will notice that as the prices increase, so does the quality and performance. You will find the ski equipment getting lighter and stiffer. You can get a narrower cross country ski when you bump up the price a bit, which will give you a faster pace. You will also notice that the ski gear at middle price ranges has a better hold on glide wax. You will also be open to more ski options such as going for a waxable ski, a fish scale ski, or a skin one. Your ski can cost you around $350 to $450.
You can find a middle level ski boot starting at a price range of $200. This ski boot will be stiffer as compared to the economic ones and will give you more control for steering. You can be a beginner and go for middle level ski gear because your mid level ski boots along with skis will give you a better speed with less efforts.
You can find fiberglass or carbon fiber ski poles which are lighter and have a glove-style strap between $50 to $100.
Normally beginners start with learning traditional cross country skiing, but if your budget is in the range of $600 – $700, you can go for freestyle skating. These skate skis are race-oriented and you will find them to be stiffer and lighter.
The cross country skis that cost more than $700 can be considered for a better quality experience – whether as a sports enthusiast, a fitness buff, or a professional. You will find some of the nicest ski gear for $1000 to $1,200 that includes good material skis which are generally made of lighter material like carbon fibers. You can feel the difference not only in terms of money but also in terms of speed and glide.
If you are looking for the best and nothing but the best, you can purchase the best cross country ski equipment for somewhere between $2,500 and $3,000. While many beginners will question the price range, the professionals and serious skiers will understand the quality that comes with the price. These ski equipment are specially designed keeping weights, snow conditions, and your long hours on the slopes in mind.
As compared to other forms of skiing, such as alpine skiing, cross country skiing is quite affordable. You can find many free trails including the skiing area in national parks. Let us have a look at the extra costs if any, that cross country skiing involves.
The ski tracks in Norway are free and you can find free ski trails in many countries where cross country skiing is a major sport. In places where it is not free, the prices are pretty low. In winters, a majority of national parks are used for skiing and other snow activities in colder climate countries, which gives the XC beginners a great place to start their learning and practice.
Day pass / Ski pass:
The good news is that as compared to an alpine skiing day pass, a cross-country skier will have to spend less. For instance, in Italy and France, a day pass for using the cross country trails will cost you around 10 pounds, which equals to roughly around $13. However, for alpine skiing, the trails can cost you around 50 pounds (around $65).
Unlike the contrary belief, getting a membership for your cross country skiing adventures is also quite cost-friendly. The ski clubs have to charge an amount for maintaining and grooming the trails, but the rates are quite minimal for XC trails. These rates vary from one country to the other, or one ski club to the other. They also give you the option to hire cross country gear if you want to. You can hire your cross country ski boots, skis, and poles for only 10 pounds per day, whereas for alpine skiing If you want to hire skis and boots, these items will cost you about 33 pounds (around $43) on a per-day basis.
It is natural for any sports gear to undergo basic wear and tear. In XC skiing, your skis may need maintenance due to the friction with snow and rocks. If you are using waxable skis, you will have to spend some time waxing those skis on a regular basis to protect the base and give you a better grip. Many beginners, fitness-oriented skiers, and recreational skiers go for fish-scale base skis that do not need waxing.
Other than the skis, there is not much involved in the maintenance. The ski resorts or ski clubs take care of the maintenance of their trails, for which they charge you a very minimal amount which is included in your membership plan or daily pass.
Conclusion: Is it Expensive?
Compared to alpine skiing, cross country skiing does not require a lift ticket which can be a constant expense just to enjoy a couple of hours of snow. If you have a pair of XC skis, poles, and boots, you are ready to enjoy the sport and the weather at no or minimal cost.
Even the ski gear can be rented at a low cost.
Other than the ski gear that involves your skis, boots, bindings, and poles, you need to make sure you are properly dressed for the slopes. Alpine skiing requires you to purchase proper ski jackets and other clothing that make sure you are protected from wind and the weather while you are spending your time on cold chair lifts. But in cross country skiing, you do not have to go through much expense – you will have most of the items in your cupboard as part of your winter clothing. It is best to layer up. Start with a breathable base layer, then a middle layer (which could be a sweater, wool shirt, or a fleece jacket), and the top layer which needs to be a jacket to protect you from wind and snow.
The XC ski boots are also less expensive than alpine or downhill boots which are harder. With your snow gloves, hat, and sunglasses, you are all set to enjoy the XC trails – without causing any blow to your wallet. Cross country skiing is not expensive – it is exciting and affordable. Try it and see for yourself!