Clothing and equipment choices can make or break a skiing experience for any skier! Here are some
guidelines suggested by AVSC coaches and athletes:


  • Make sure your backpack is big enough to fit all of your schoolwork, ski gear, as well as plenty of
    snacks for after practice and an extra water bottle!
  • Layers of synthetic clothing or wool will help keep you dry, warm and happy. Never wear cotton
    while skiing. Cotton is only appropriate for changing into after practice.
  • Clearly label all of your gear with your name in permanent marker.
  • Wear your water carrier and bring water every day.
  • Look for ski poles with Velcro straps and small plastic baskets.
  • Boots are a very important part of your equipment set up. Make sure they fit like a running
    shoe and wear synthetic (non cotton) socks to avoid blisters.
  • Depending on your ability level you may have both skate and classic boots or a ‘combi’ boot that
    will work for both disciplines. Make sure your boots match your bindings- there are two types
    NNN and SNS.
  • How long should your poles be? While standing in running shoes on concrete classic poles
    should reach your shoulder joint and skate poles should reach a point between your chin and
    the bottom of your nose. Remember, if you are growing quickly, you can cut your skate poles
    down to become classic poles!

A few things Nordic skiers should avoid are:

    • Bulky gloves make hands sweat and then sweaty hands freeze. Use a mid-weight glove designed
      for Nordic skiing to keep your hands warm and dry.
    • Camelbacks restrict shoulder movement, use a water belt instead.
    • Goggles fog up, use sunglasses instead.
    •  Backcountry boots are not designed for track skiing- use a skate, classic, or combi boot instead.
      Gear Recommendations
    • Combi skis are designed for both skate and classic technique. They are appropriate for ages 5-9
      (One Day Base Camp) or skiers who weight under 60 lbs. The skis should be about as tall as the
      person skiing on them. If using for both skate and classic, parents must be willing to clean off
      kick wax before a skate practice.
    • Waxless (fish scale) skis are acceptable on classic days for athletes ages 5-9 (One Day Base Camp
      or Rec League). Fish scales are much slower than waxable skis and kids usually have more fun
      on a waxable pair of classic skis.
    • If you chose to use waxable classic skis you MUST clean off the kick wax before attending a skate
    • By age 10, we recommend skiers have two pairs of skis, skate and classic for all AVSC programs
      (except Rec League). Classic skis should no longer have fish scales.




Flex- Squeeze the bases together (scraped/brushed) with two hands. If the athlete can easily squish the
skis together, they are too soft. If they cannot compress the skis much, they are too stiff. If they are able
to close the skis together with a pretty good squeeze they are just about right. (Thanks to Goldilocks
and the Three Bears for this testing method.)
Ski length should be skier height.


Flex- Use the Goldilocks method above to determine flex. But, use one hand to squeeze the bases
together instead of two.

Ski length should be skier height plus 10 to 15cm.

Kick Zone- Place skis (brushed and scraped) on a clean, flat table. Have the skier stand on the bindings
and balance their weight equally on both skis. Slide a business card between the table and ski and mark
where the card stops: top and bottom. Then do the same with 100% of the skier’s weight on one ski at a
time. On a good fitting pair of skis, the card will slide approximately 16-22 inches from the heel plate to
the tip of the ski. You will have 4 marks on your ski. The actual kick zone (from top to bottom) is the
second mark and half way between the third and fourth mark. You can also tell by the way your kick
wax wears after an hour of skiing on cold snow.


The following items are good to have at home for waxing: plastic scraper, groove scraper, brush, base
cleaner, a rag, non-fluorinated wax, and iron. Your coaches will help with waxing for both classic days
and race days. You are responsible for coming to practice with skis that are clean; including glide wax
scraped and brushed plus kick wax removed completely. Your coaches will gladly teach you how to wax
throughout the season. Devo and Comp Team athletes should be waxing their race skis a couple times
each week outside of practice and leave them with a full layer of wax over the summer off season.

Important! Please note! Every AVSC Nordic skier needs at least two pairs of ski ties (one for each pair of skis!

You can purchase ski ties directly from us ($4 per pair) or at your local ski shops. Ski ties keep the
sticky side of the ski down and prevent damage to your skis and the skis of your teammates.
At races, we will often load our skis into group bags. This makes our transition time and
organization speedy and efficient. The ‘group bag’ system only works if everyone has their own set
of ski ties for each pair of skis.

Please do not become attached to your ski ties- you bring two- you take two. It’s a fun process to
see which ties you end up with at the end of the day- did you get a Jefe? How about a Koons or a
Randall? Maybe you can get a Ward at next practice?

The ‘communal ski ties/group bag’ is a great system- but, just like a team, it only works if everyone
contributes! Please be a team player when it comes to ski ties!


1. Aspen Cross Country Center (run by Ute Mountaineer)
39551 Highway 82, Aspen CO 81611
970-925-2145 (if out of season call Ute Mountaineer and ask for Paul)

2. Snowmass Cross Country Center (run by Ute Mountaineer)
446 Club House Dr, Snowmass Village CO 81615
970-923-5700 (if out of season call Ute Mountaineer and ask for Paul)

3. The AVSC Nordic Virtual Thrift Shop on the Blog: > Equipment Tab > Virtual Thrift Shop
Direct Link:

4. The AVSC Nordic Fit Night and Nordic Ski Swap in mid-September each year
(This is your best opportunity for great prices on high quality gear. Don’t miss it!)