What To Look For
Cross-country skate skis differ from classic touring skis in that they are shorter, lighter, narrower, stiffer, and have waxable bases.
Skate skis generally are faster and lighter than classic cross-country skis.
Boot and binding interfaces for skate skiing are brand specific.
New Nordic Norm (NNN) bindings are compatible with boots manufactured by Rossignol, Alpina Sports, Mashus and Fischer.
Salomon Nordic System (SNS) bindings are for boots by Salomon, Adidas, Atomic, Hartjes and Botas.
Where To Buy
Most full-service ski shops and cross-country ski areas sell skate skiing equipment.
The Cross Country Ski Areas Association (CCSAA) provides a list of specialty retailers at www.xcski.org
Package deals including skis, boots, bindings and poles range from $300 to $900.
Try before you buy. Most cross-country ski areas will have demonstration equipment available. Manufacturers and retailers may offer "demo days" where a customer can try dozens of skis, boots and bindings before choosing the perfect package.
Specialty bags, packs, hydration systems, headlamps, sunglasses and waxes are available. In addition, modern synthetic layering systems will keep a skier warm and dry in a variety of weather conditions.
Discontinued or previous year models can often be found online or at specialty retailers at discounts of 50 percent or more.
Denver-based Shan Sethna holds a Masters degree in journalism and has written for daily newspapers, wire services, consumer magazines and websites. His diverse background includes experience in public relations; higher education; at the Olympic Games; on Wall Street; at an African environmental non-profit; and as a ski instructor and wilderness guide.