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Five Useful Gifts for Nordic Beginners

Tips & Ideas Wednesday, November 30, 2022

With the holidays at your doorstep, we rounded up a few Nordic gift ideas to help with your holiday shopping. Whether you’re encouraging your partner, friends, or kids to join you on the trails or just want to give yourself a special holiday treat, these are great additions to any skier’s gear closet. 

Skin skis

Fischer’s Twin Skin Cruiser EF has been a game changer for all levels of skiers but is incredibly kind to those getting more serious about their Nordic skiing. And, a bonus, no need to get up to speed on the art and science of frequent waxing. The grip comes from two slightly offset mohair skin strips, stabilizing grip in various ski conditions. The price is entry-level friendly, starting in the mid $200s, but heads up—they are hard to find (supply chain), so if you find a pair, nab them.

Like the Fischer Twin Skin Cruiser, the Delta Comp R uses a built-in mohair skin to grab the snow during the kick phase of your stride. These skis have a large sweet spot, making it easier for those still working on their technique, but with a super-light core, they’re great for cross-training athletes or those looking to take their game up to intermediate levels.  

Nordic-specific mittens

For some skiers, gloves and even lobster mittens just aren’t warm enough for sub-zero winter mornings in the Rockies. That’s when a really warm mitten is your best friend—but bulky all-purpose or alpine mittens just don’t translate. So instead, opt for Swix’s Blizzard Heritage Mitt. They’re light and flexible, with a slim fit that allows you to get into your pole straps easily but with Primaloft to keep you warm enough for an easy-paced ski. (Feeling extra cold? Their Blizzard Mitt is a step warmer.)

Hydration belt or pack

Are hydration packs worth it? Yes—if you’re ever heading out for more than 10k, you need one and should have one with you even on shorter loops. Backpack-style winter-specific packs like the USWE Nordic 10 Winter Hydration Pack are insulated and allow for hands-free sipping—which means you’re not stopping and fiddling with mittens or bottles to rehydrate. 

A mid-range pole

Unlike beginner alpine skiers, poles for beginner Nordic skiers are less of an afterthought and more critical. Although inexpensive aluminum poles are sturdy and do the trick, you start to see increased stability and better energy return with mid-range composite poles, like the Swix Quantum 4, which are lighter, stiffer, and have a better swing feel. (Cheat sheet: Classic poles should come up to your shoulders or the hollow of your throat; skate poles should be between your chin and lower lip). 

Punch pass

It can take a while to find your “home base”—the Nordic trail system that hits your sweet spot with just the right amenities, challenging but rewarding trails, and in a destination you love. So grab a punch pass, mix things up to keep things fresh, and sample all options. Get 18+ trail passes at 10 Nordic resorts plus great lodging and rentals discounts at other resorts worth over $1,200 in savings.

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