A guest post from Roger Lohr, founder and editor of XCSkiResorts.com and a prolific national cross-country skiing writer.
While I love to cross-country ski, I’m still skiing on the same old skis, using the same old boots and wearing the same old clothing, that I’ve had for at least 10 years.
So when Roger Lohr offered to write an update on 2015-16 women’s cross-country gear, I accepted. He’s an expert and an authority, who follows all things cross-country skiing.
Within the last few years, cross country (XC) ski companies recognized that women’s products need to be different from men’s, so they are designing skis and boots that will work better for women. This includes re-designed boots to accommodate more narrow female feet and skis with different flex to complement a woman’s lower center of gravity.
Mariah Frye-Colie, co-owner of Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon, Michigan, explains.
“The Nordic ski manufacturers have woken up to the demand and it’s great to have more feminine equipment and clothing. We want products that flatter a women’s body but are also functional and comfortable.”
Nordic Skis and Boots
After analyzing 2,500 female feet, Alpina Sports designed a line of women’s XC ski boots to the “ideal” proportions. Alpina women’s boots have a dramatically different fit than the typical men’s boots that women are often sold. The flex patterns are totally altered, the heel pockets are much narrower, and the cuffs are redesigned for the slightly different calf/ankle configuration of a woman.
And Alpina is not the only company making changes. Rossignol manager Ryan Green commented.
“We’re seeing an increase in women’s specific boots in all categories – touring, backcountry and race – throughout the industry. A few years ago the ratio was heavily skewed towards a unisex boot, but that is not the case today. This is due to more options for women’s specific fits and it’s due to an increase in participation in the sport by women.”
The Rossignol X1 Ultra FW Nordic ski boot is an easy-to-use entry-level women’s touring boot for beginning recreational skiers. The Lock Down foot wrap and Active Control heel provide a customized fit along with an external lace cover and simple lace-up design for comfort, warmth, and quick entry and exit. Thinsulate® lining, and a Thermo-moldable fit add comfort, durability, and warmth while exploring off-trail.
Fischer has a line of XC skis and boots for women called the My Style Collection.
Fischer’s Peter Ashley said, “These skis are configured lower than their unisex counterpart to account for lighter body weights and they’re designed to require less effort for the classic technique.”
“The ski camber is adjusted to a lower height so it will accommodate the skier who can use less energy to get the ski base waxless grip pattern on to the snow. And there’s a new specially developed, very light binding for fitness-oriented women, that is very user-friendly with an automatic step in/out mechanism.”
Nordic Ski Apparel
SportHill has been selling its black Traverse Pant in many different lengths for many years and it’s a perennial winner. Their soon-to-be available Houndstooth Swiftpro overskirt is also a hit, as are similar products from other companies.
Swix is adding more color to its popular Romsdal line of Nordic ski jackets. Look for the Windstopper Anorak with three layer Gore Tex fabric, pit zips, cuff tighteners, and a side zip for easy on/off.
The Craft light softshell touring jacket has soft material on the front and down the arms, with thermal material on the back for insulation and ventilation. The Craft EXC High End jacket also has welded zippers, laser cut holes under the arms and on the back, and is lined with super light mesh which moves moisture away from the body and cools as well.
According to Snowsports Industries America (SIA) data, women’s specific Nordic equipment sales were up 25% in dollars and 22% in units sold through November 2014. Another jump is projected in the first two months of 2015.
About 2 million women Nordic ski in the U.S. This is 45% of the Nordic skiing population.
More Cross-Country Skiing:
- Dog Sledding, Skiing, Tubing and More at Colorado’s Snow Mountain Ranch, November 17, 2014.
- Recommended Family Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Destinations, October 27, 2014.
- Biathlon: The Yin and Yang of Winter Sports, February 14, 2014.
- Why Cross-Country Ski? January 11, 2013.
- Cross-Country Skiing Etiquette: No Mean Dogs, March 21, 2012.
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