Outfitting Your Nordic Skier Without Going Broke
Don’t run out and buy $1,000 worth of gear before your skier has even set foot in the snow.  You can take a measured and low-cost approach to start and begin to upgrade as your skier’s interest in the sport increases.Your skier may already own winter athletic clothing, etc. that can be used for Nordic skiing.
 
REMEMBER: FIRST YEAR SKIERS CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE SLPHS SKI LOANER PROGRAM, PENDING AVAILABILITY.
The minimum:
1 pr. Combi boots preferably sized by a ski shop professional (once you know the size, you could look on Craigslist or hit the 11/21 ski swap)- boots are in European sizes like “36”
 
Winter workout clothes
 
Borrow used skis and poles from school or former skiers or buy from ski swaps or Craigslist.
 
A bag for your skier’s gear (skis, poles, boots, waxes)

First year Nordic skiers need to have this equipment:  (mark EVERYTHING with your skier’s name. Brightly patterned duct tape can help, too. Lots of skiers have similar equipment):
 
-Skis (classic and skate or “combi”) + Bindings – Skis are fitted to weight If you can, coaches recommend purchasing a classic and skate set up, rather than a “combi”.  Bindings are either “NNN” or “SNS”.  If you have NNN boots, they won’t work with SNS bindings and vice-versa.  Bring your boots when you buy used skis to make sure they work together.
-2 sets of poles (different heights for classic and skate) – these are fitted to your heightMost skiers who are new to the sport should be using a classic pole height that comes up to their armpits/shoulder and skate pole height somewhere between the chin and eyes. The height needs to be considered as if the skier is standing in boots on snow.  Have the ski shop show you how to use and adjust straps (Velcro grips are better than just loops you stick your hands into because the skiers should “fling” the poles away from them as they pole forward).
-ski boots (classic and skate or “combis” which can be used for both) to match the type of bindings you have on your skis – in European sizes. Many skiers enjoy using a “Superfeet” insert to make their ski boots more comfortable (available at sporting goods stores, REI, Hoigaards, etc).
-Ski Bag (Hoigaard’s has cheap canvas bags or you can look for used ones online). This is critical for your skier to be able to keep track of his/her belongings.  Downhill ski bags work here as well.
Ski Wax (unless you have “fish scales”/waxless skis which are generally not recommended for racing) –  ask for a starter set (glide wax, kick wax variety, cork for applying) when you get your skis so your skier can start to assemble their own “wax box”Different waxes are needed for different temperatures and different ski conditions. Your coaches will help your skier learn about how to use them and also how to use a wax bench and wax iron.
- Winter Workout Clothes – a cold, wet skier is an unhappy skier.  You can get basic wicking/long underwear/ UnderArmour at Target (your skier should not be wearing any cotton), and you can find many fleece products, windproof shells, hats, and sometimes even lightweight ski pants at discount stores like Marshall’s or TJ Maxx or the Thrifty Outfitter above Midwest Mountaineering.  Look for ¾  zippered necks to help your skier regulate heat without having to remove a layer.  Windproof (test them by blowing through the fabric) shells and pants are great for warmth. Winter biking gear can also be used for skiing.  Multiple light layers work better (they trap air) than big bulky down jackets, which will become very warm, very quickly).  Gloves (rather than mittens) work best.  Make sure they fit through your skier’s hand grips on their poles.
Where to Find Gear
Current/former skiers: sign up to receive email updates from Park Nordic, which sometimes includes gear for sale.
MYSL Ski Swap: (used and new gear, clothing, etc). Saturday 11/21 (10:15-12:30) Location: Dunwoody College of Technology, Minneapolis - 818 Dunwoody Blvd. (near the Walker Art Museum) Get in line early (very early) for the best selection. Bring a book.  Bring your skier.  Bring cash or check (no credit cards). More details at http://mysl.org.
 
Craigslist:  www.craigslist.com
 
Skinnyski.com: ; (tends to be higher end / racing gear) - http://www.skinnyski.com/gear/ (click on “Gear” in upper right purple box)
 
Recommended Ski Shops
Ask about a High School skier discount—many will offer you 10-15% savings
 
Hoigaard’s – Excelsior Blvd, St Louis Park – see coupon in Nordic book
Gear West Bike and Ski  off Hwy 12 ( W. Wayzata Blvd, Long Lake MN) – see coupon in Nordic book
Finn Sisu  -   (not open on Sunday)  2436 Larpenteur Ave.  Lauderdale
Boulder Nordic - 8929 Penn Ave , Bloomington, MN 55431 (952) 303-5683