There are two types of skiing and thus two types of skis: CLASSIC and SKATING. Classic skis are meant for the traditional skiing in the groomed tracks. Skate skis are meant for the new freestyle method that mimics rollerblading and skating. Assigning skis to an athlete is dependent primarily upon the athlete's weight. Essentially, the higher the weight the longer the ski. Generally skate skis are slightly shorter than classic skis for the same person. The high school program has rental skis of all qualities (beginner to racer) and first year skiers have first dibs on one pair of skates and one pair of classics. When buying new skis, always tell the store you are on a high school ski team. There is usually a discount.
The two formats of skiing also leads to two pairs of poles. Skate and classic poles are mechanically identical except for the length. Skate poles are generally longer than classic poles. The following are the general rules for pole length: Skate poles: come up to between the athletes' nose and mouth. Classic poles: come up to the athletes' armpit.
The one point to make about poles is the grip straps. As a skier increases their skill, they will come to dislike one-loop straps. It would be worth the money to invest in straps that tighten around the hand. These noticeably improve pole and athlete performance.
First year skiers are required to purchase one pair of Skate Pilot boots. Ski boots must be "Salomon Pilot" compatible. They cannot be NNN, Profil, SNS or combi. Be sure to check the used equipment links elsewhere on winonanordic.weebly.com. Skate boots will satisfactorily serve athletes for both skate and classic techniques so long as they fit on their feet. If an athlete wishes, there are skate- and classic-specific boots. Generally, fifth and sixth year skiers benefit most and are more prone to having two pairs of boots.
Ski boots don't contain much for insulation. The activity of cross country skiing generally keeps feet warm, but one added measure would be purchasing a pair of over-boots. These go over the ski boots and add dramatic temperature protection. I strongly recommend the Yoko ski boot cover. They are the warmest and the cheapest.
**Buying skis? This page talks about buying skis and bindings
**Need boots? This page lists used boots for sale