Op-Ed: I Am Amateur Skier But I Always Buy Top Line Gear

EDITORIAL COMMENT BY THE DAILYSKIER: We neither endorse nor disagree with a point of view expressed here. But we believe that the author ( who insisted on anonymity) had some interesting things to say. Published with minimum editing, trimmed for length. Enjoy

What you about to read are personal observations and ideas, not an attempt to show off or some kind of trolling.

I shall not waste your time with my personal story of coming to cross country skiing because I don’t think anybody really cares. Or maybe I will one day – anyway, I’d like to talk about something anybody could associate with – buying skiing gear & accessories.

There will be no specific advise and no brands or models mentioned by name – first, it’s not an advertorial, infomercial or product placement; second – I came to believing that there is not much of a difference between similarly priced products of different manufacturers.

I’m a recreational skier. As long as a company is right, the sun is shining and body generally responds to my commands – it’s good enough for me. Result in competitions matter very little as long as I’m not the last one. In fact, when I’ve started a few years ago, I didn’t even think about competitions or even mass marathons – I was saving myself from a sedentary office life and all that everyday stress that comes with a career at a large international company.

So I went to shop to buy my first skiing gear (still remember the day – felt rarther weird). I had not much of a point of reference and, therefore, fell under the spell of the salesman guy in there

Well, as you know and everybody knows, manufacturers of skiing and rollersking equipment these days have several tiers, “lines” that are supposedly catering to different skill level – novice, amateur, “advanced amateur” and, finally, “professional/elite gear”.

What does good, honest salesman do? He or she takes one look at you and thinks: Oh, this guy is a novice, we can’t possibly sell him top-shelf stuff – let’s sell him entry-level.

So, I’ve got that entry level kit – boots, poles, skis and rollers for a good measure and went out on the tarmac.

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…I’ve tried by myself ( funny, eh?), I’ve tried in a group, I’ve signed for personal lessons with a trainer – it just did not work for me. Coordination wasn’t there, balance was non-existent. I’m not a quitter by nature, quite the opposite – but I was about to give up on cross country skiing, when by chance I got to try the kit two levels up from then-mine.

Needless to say, I did not become Petter Northug – but I immediately felt…I don’t quite how to describe it – like changing from a 20 year old car to a modern make, perhaps? Suddenly a balance was there ( at least comparatevely) and the poles somehow found that position my coach wanted them to find from the start…I was sold right at the spot.

In the movies in the situation like that people just go and buy what they now know they need – and live happily ever after. Things are not as simple in real life. Coming from less financially demanding recreational activities ( a bit of running and trail walking) I first found prices of professional skiing gear shocking – and those of elite level gear shocking-XXL!

But every cloud has a silver lining. They say that hitting a tender age of 40 man either buys a Harley – or a Porsche. They simply don’t know about xc skiing gear! For years now all of my extended family knows how to please this man on Christmas or his birthday – a gift voucher of a known ski shop is the best present ever!

Through the last few years I slowly but surely got myself kitted out. Just to be clear – I’m still not chasing the very latest, “first limited edition” boots or exotic skis – it may or may not come later, but a this stage I’m still looking for bargains. Which means “sonething that Petter Northug used to run on/wear a season or two ago.

There’s a flip side to it. When you arrive to your local rollerski path or ski trail, it wouldn’t do to be seen “dressed for success” but struggling with every move, would it? So, I went back to that trainer, joined a ski club – and started practicing 5-6 days a week instead of 2-3. No need to boast, but my weight went down while my Ownindex measured by certain popular sports watch went seriously up. I run big ski marathons as well as local races. Would I find strenght to do the same without skiing/rollersking in fancy gear? Unknown. But feeling that all of my favorite toys can’t just be left to collect dust in a corner certainly helps me to force myself out of bed nearly every morning.

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Another thing that I’ve noticed: while my less “fashion concious” training pals seem to be going through a pair of boots each season ( especially on rollerskis), my fancy Carbons look almost as they were bought yesterday. Could be an individual thing, of course.

Enough of me blabbing. Just wanted to repeat the same point: if you’re serious about getting yourself in shape via doing cross country skiing – you have to go for the best gear your money could buy – it lasts longer and it makes things better. Including you feeling better about yourself.

Yours, X

Comments that the DailySkier got from people involved in manufacturing and selling the skiing gear:

Patrick McCarter, Marketing Manager – Rundle Sport
– I have no doubt that a recreational roller skier will benefit from buying a top model roller ski. A top model roller ski will give the user a smoother ride whether he/she is a recreational roller skier or high-performance athlete. For a recreational roller skier though, I’m not sure the cost difference between a traditional aluminum roller ski and a top model composite roller ski is worth it.
Rundle Sport has an entry-level priced roller ski named VELOX and a top model roller ski named FLEX. I think FLEX is one of the few roller ski upgrades that is justifiable for a recreational roller skier. FLEX roller skis use a patented rubber-damped suspension system, TrueSki Technology, that makes them dramatically smoother than traditional roller skis including those made of composites. FLEX roller skis also come with a lifetime warranty. If someone is looking for a low-cost option then VELOX’s mix of performance and low price can’t be beat, but for everyone else I recommend FLEX.

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Hans-Jürgen Siebenäuger, cross country ski coach and designer/producer of ComfortskateS rollerskis:
– We’re trying to increase the popularity of rollerskiing in general. Our ComfortskateS rollerskis are clearly a unique product when you compare it with other offerings. It tries to resemble xc skiing as close as possible. That is a special benefit for people that have never used a skirollers before, but have done xc skiing in winter. For absolute beginners it is better as well, because training with the ComfortskateS is much more comfortable than with traditional roller skis. So why buy twice?

Bjorn Hanson, owner of Out There: Nordic Sports & Camping Gear Rice Lake, Wisconsin, USA.
– I think top end skis are only good for racing. Jrs & anyone focusing on technique needs to use a slow stable ski. Drop shaft skis provide the most stable & most resistant role. This way you can focus on technique. Straight shaft skis, full carbon etc are made for speed. The straight shaft & rigidity moves the power down the road. You can feel like you are skiing good because you are going fast, but if you can not ski SLOW correctly then you will never ski as FAST as you can. Similar to snow, top end models are made to perform with technique, entry models are to be forgiving. It is not Cycling where a $10k big is lighter and rolls better. Driving a formula one race car for someone who just got their driving permit is not wise

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