Nordic Skis Improve With Technology

By Beacon Staff

Whitefish Golf Course wrapped up its season at the end of October, and now the Outback Ski Shack has slid back into its winter location in the parking lot. The Glacier Nordic Center course is prepped, just waiting for snow.

The cross-country ski shop specializing in high-end gear opened up for the winter season earlier this month. The Outback Ski Shack–which sells skate and classic skis, boots, bindings, poles, wax, ski tools, and Nordic ski clothing—brought in its new skis with the latest innovations. “Technology just keeps making skis better,” says owner Laura Nugent.

For one, skis are going lighter, Nugent says, picking up both a red Atomic and a yellow Fischer ski. Both companies revamped their top-end racing skate and classic skis to make them more like feathers on the feet. The Atomic Cheetah is the lightest ski on the market, weighing in at a mere one pound per ski. Fischer’s Carbonlite skis are nearly as light, made from the same type of fibers as golf clubs, fishing rods, and ski poles. “The carbon really adds snap and life to the ski,” says Nugent.

Carrying more than just the top-of-the-line racing skis, the Outback Ski Shack also brought in other innovations. One backcountry Fischer touring ski has a metal edge on both the tips and tails, but the edge underfoot is ceramic. “The ceramic is light and doesn’t ice up like metal,” explains Nugent. “It also flexes for better kick.”

Nugent also added the Atomic X Cruise classic ski to her collection, specifically targeted to the fitness crowd. “Nordic skiing is the best all-around exercise. It hits every muscle in the body including heart and lungs,” she says. “We found a ski that does the job. The X Cruise is a mid-size ski with a full-length performance.”

Even recreational skis are better now, says Nugent. “Entry level skis used to be slow dogs, like skiing on two-by-fours,” she laughs. “Now entry level is what high-end was a decade ago.”

The shop is open Wednesdays through Sundays, noon to 6 p.m. until the snow hits.