9 Best Cross-Country Skis for Skipping the Lift Lines

Whether you're skiing the classic track or touring the backcountry and blazing your own trail, these top-rated cross-country skis for men and women will get you there.

cross country skis
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Cross-country (Nordic) skis are more of a workout than your typical day at the resort, as they require the user to do all the uphill work. They all have some common features, such as lightweight construction and the ability to grip the snow for uphill ascents. Where they differ is that some skis are designed for speed in the classic track, some for adventuring and creating your own route, and others are meant to handle any terrain in their path. Read along to choose from this year's best cross-country skis for men and women, and head out this winter for some Nordic skiing.

Note: Most cross-country skis are unisex, unless otherwise specified.

1 Rossignol Evo OT 65 Positrack Cross-Country Skis

$218 BUY NOW

Don't confine yourself to the groomed track. These skis are a bit wider than classic cross-country skis, so they can explore backcountry terrain better than their thinner counterparts. If you need versatility and predictability for variable snow conditions and terrain, these will take you where you need to go.

More: Wear the Best Snow Goggles While Cross-Country Skiing

2 Salomon Snowscape 7 Cross-Country Skis With Bindings (Women's)

$190 BUY NOW

New to cross-country skiing? This set of skis, pre-mounted with bindings, puts you one step closer to your new favorite sport without the hassle and guesswork of buying your first pair. They're a bit shorter than traditional skis, which makes them easier to control and the perfect set for learners.

More: Check Out This Year's Best New Ski Pants

3 Atomic Motion Skintec Cross-Country Skis

$200 BUY NOW

When a day within the track just doesn't sound appealing, Atomic's Skintec has small features directly underfoot that act like climbing skins, providing extra grip to climb. This technology affords better hold than traditional skis, and also requires far less up-keep, so you can head out at a moment's notice.

More: The Absolute Best Skis for Every Type of Skier

4 Salomon Aero 9 Skin Cross-Country Skis

$300 BUY NOW

The Aero 9 Skin is the low-maintenance option for those who don't want to waste time with upkeep and waxing. The classic waxless base will stick to snow when you want it to, and it glides just as well. Plus, with so little upkeep required, you can head out on a whim.

5 Madshus Epoch 68 Cross-Country Skis

$248 BUY NOW

With a 68-millimeter waist width, these are about as wide as cross-country skis get. This ski is designed specifically for backcountry tours, whether it's a single-day excursion or a multiple-night getaway. The waxless base glides effortlessly on the uphill, a wider waist floats amazingly, and the full-length metal edges let you carve like Emeril as you rip through the turns you've just earned.

6 Alpina Discovery 68 Touring Skis

$230 BUY NOW

Sometimes you just want to head out the door without a plan, and for that you'll need a ski that'll have your back, no matter what. These versatile skis will be your one-ski quiver. They can handle everything from the classic track to the un-groomed areas, thanks to a lively and lightweight wood core, a 60-millimeter waist that's a bit wider than classic skis, and a traditional sidecut with metal edges for better grip on variable terrain.

7 Rossignol BC 90 Positrack Cross-Country Skis

$300 BUY NOW

If you have a ski-touring hut trip on your to-do list this winter, these skis will take you there. The company's Wood Air core makes for a super lightweight ski, so you can afford to stuff a few extra pounds of essentials in your backpack. Whether that means libations or warm clothes is your prerogative.

8 Fischer Outback 68 Cross-Country Skis

from$249 BUY NOW

This ski loves to climb hills and blaze its own path, then bomb downhill and carve effortlessly. The core is lightweight and distributes weight evenly, so you'll stay on top of the snow better, and the narrow steel edges provide constant edge contact for sharper turns, no matter the surface.

9 Madshus Propulsion Cold Cross-Country Skis

$775 BUY NOW

Madshus made this ski for speed in the track by evenly distributing pressure points across the entire base and giving these a relatively stiff camber profile, so you can pick up speed more quickly, glide more smoothly, and hold your top speed more easily. If you're serious about cross-country ski racing — or just like to move fast — these new beasts from Madshus are a no-brainer.