Marginal Conditions are a Breeze with Back Country Skis

Back Country Ski Cross Country Ski Headquarters

“The snow is always perfect if you have the right skis.” – Benjamin Franklin

Okay, maybe not always (and maybe Ben Franklin didn’t really say that). But when the staff at Cross Country Ski Headquarters gets a rare day off, no matter what the ski conditions are, there is no question what we are going to do: go skiing.  While nothing beats a perfectly groomed ski trail through snow-covered pines, there are times when Mother Nature just doesn’t cooperate. Anyone who lives in Michigan can testify to how unpredictable the weather is, and consequently how unpredictable the ski conditions can be. That is why, more often than not, we grab a pair of metal-edged skis on our days off.  For everything from groomed trails to icy boilerplate, from deep woods exploration to frozen lake trekking, these skis take the cake.

Cross Country Skiing in Northern Michigan
No grooming? No problem when you have back country skis!

Metal-edged or “back country” skis are extremely versatile, and offer a range of benefits for various conditions. They are traditionally wider than average touring skis, giving them more stability and better flotation in deeper snow. With a stainless steel edge, they cut through crusty, icy snow and track exceedingly well; they “track without a track.”

In the ski industry, “BC” typically stands for “Back Country”. We think it also stands for “Better Control”. When skiing down hills, especially when turning, the steel edge makes all the difference in control. Think of a downhill ski, and how much of an impact that edge has on the skier’s ability to turn. The same goes for cross country metal-edged skis.

Every BC ski we carry also has a parabolic shape similar to downhill skis, which offers further steer-ability. This shape is exaggerated in the Rossignol BC 65 and Rossignol BC 80, which are ideal for everything from packed-down, multi-use trails to fresh powder, and offer exceptional control all these conditions. They glide surprisingly well given their width, but not as as well as skis with less “shape” that are more of a hybrid style for on- and off-track skiing (see below).

For skiers who love the idea of more control in the groomed AND ungroomed snow, look no further than the Fischer Spider 62 and the Salomon Outpath 60. Both offer exceptional stability on icy, packed trails, and provide enough flotation for light trail-blazing as well. The Salomon Outpath 60’s are cut longer and narrower for maximum glide, while the Spiders are cut shorter for maneuverability.

At the end of the day, many cross country skiers reside in locales where they occasionally experience marginal ski conditions. Rather than gripe about imperfect snow, we should embrace what snow we have, and not let marginal conditions keep us from enjoying the great winter outdoors!

Check out our full selection of back country ski packages, or give us a call at 800-832-2663 to speak to a ski fitting expert. If you’re in Michigan, come see us and demo some metal-edged skis for free. No matter where you live, after trying out a back country ski, you might find out that conditions aren’t so marginal after all!

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