Guidelines For What To Choose And Why.

[Editor Note: Thanks to Roger Lohr, publisher of, for this review of the latest in XC skiwear that was printed first on that site.]

Wearing the right apparel for cross country skiing can keep you warm and comfortable.

I’ve often wondered why there isn’t more hoopla about cross country skiwear. I’m not talking about the suction suits worn by cross country ski racers; rather, I mean the recreational garb, which is versatile, functional, and fashionable.

Currently, I cross country ski wearing apparel from vendors like Craft, Sporthill, Swix, and others.  What is important is that the products that I select to ski in fit a number of personal parameter preferences.

Comfortable Pants For XC Skiing

XC Ski pants with zipper all the way up the leg.

The Craft AXC Touring Pants (about $80) that I wear have zippers along the entire length of the legs, and, at the ankle, there is an elastic area closed with a zipper and a snap.

I feel that this pant ankle set-up is the most significant aspect of the pants. It tightly fits around the boot and keeps snow out of the boot top, avoiding wet socks while skiing.

And if you’re worried about losing your keys, the zippered side pockets are comforting to lock away your valuables.

The comfortably lined material of the Craft pants is also enough to stay warm with or without a base layer underneath.

Craft Cross Country Ski Jacket

Sporthill, Craft, and Swix jackets have most everything I want in a jacket, except few have pit zips to provide an extra way to cool off and transport perspiration away. These jackets have a mesh liner and material that is comfortable when you zip up the collar on a very cold day.

Look for jackets with cuffs and neck closures, mesh linings and, if you can find it, under arm zippers.

I’ve used the packable hood on the jacket quite a few times when it suddenly got cold out on the trail. The high-hip fit keeps you warm, and the zipper side pockets can be closed to avoid losing pocketed items. The jacket arms might have extended fleece cuffs, which are a nice touch to keep snow out of your glove. The inside chest pocket has a zipper and a hole for an earbud cable from my phone or iPod for the times that I want musical accompaniment on solo trail outings.

Socks And Gloves

Socks, gloves, shirts, and base layers are an entirely other matter that will need to be covered in a separate article. In short, parameters for selecting socks include thickness, space for your toes, and height of the sock on your leg. Expect to pay as much as $25 or more for quality socks these days.

I have a few different pairs of gloves so I can adjust to the temperature ranging from heavier, insulated, three-fingered gloves for the really cold days to lightweight gloves for springtime. I also have base layers in various thicknesses to correlate to warm and cold days. Moving perspiration away from the body is very important, and I use very lightweight underwear on those nice winter or spring days, but on the coldest days I use a heavier or thicker base layer pants and a top that has a turtleneck.

Problem: Limited Inventory In Stores

One of the challenges that confronts cross country skiing apparel availability is the fact that there is a limited inventory of these products in retail outlets. Because the cross country market is smaller than Alpine, there are relatively few sales in the stores. Retailers react by purchasing fewer items offering less selection in the following year. So let’s break this cycle. Go out and purchase more cross country skiing apparel!

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