At Bicycle Doctor, we talk about base quality, materials, and weight when you are considering a higher end ski.

But what are the perceived differences on the snow?
Jessica has been skate skiing for about three years. Her son and husband ski, too. She says, “We originally bought a cheaper ski package for me to ‘see if this would stick.’ It totally stuck. After one Kortelopet finish, I was ready to upgrade from my beginner skis to something for longer distance with better quality. The Salomon S/Lab was on my radar as a great ski."

After acquiring her own pair, Jessica says the biggest difference she feels in Salomon's S/Lab ski is greater stability and control.
Megan here! I skated my first 50k Ski Marathon this year at the Noquemenon. Like Jessica, I began skiing on entry level skis - Fischer CRS skis selected by Doc for their race-like performance and affordable price-point. I love my skis but the base is not constructed to hold wax for that many kilometers of skiing. 

I selected a Rossi Xium with perfect flex and took them on a test run at Iola Sports Center in Waupaca. I’m a beginner. I had been skate skiing for a season and a half. I worried I wouldn’t notice a big difference between the Fischer CRS and Rossi Xium. In just one blue loop, however, I had two immediate conclusions.
The Rossi Xium feels like part of your foot. When I first transferred my weight in the motion of skating, my feet felt like they were shooting out in front of me.

I had to be a better skier. If my homebase position wasn’t strong, the responsiveness of the Xium to the slightest change in the snow threw me off. On my Fischer’s I can just plow through that sort of discrepancy in terrain without me as the skier needing to adjust much.
With these lessons learned, I set out to improve my technique before taking the Xiums to the Noquemenon.

Peak Nordic Coach Mary Eloranta helped improve my homebase position. Dan LaBlanc’s downhill clinic helped me to balance my weight correctly to maintain control.

When demonstrating ski technique, both Mary and Dan illustrate how simple shifts of your weight and body position translate to a major difference in what goes on with your skis.
The Xium lived up to its reputation when it came time to ski the Noque. Once I finally got out of the conga line of skiers, I felt like I was flying... or at least efficient. My improved power transfer and professional wax from Bike Doc made for fast, easy skiing. The hills the Noquemenon is known for were no problem. The one negative was a cramped muscle in my ankle, so the roller skiing enthusiasts at Bike Doc are already excited for my new training regimen. Look for a roller ski review next year :)
Birkie Reminders
GU is an official Birkie sponsor. Train with GU and don't let nutrition trip you up on race day! Stock up on your favorite flavors at Bike Doc.
Get your Birkie Race Wax at Bike Doc! Drop your skis off by end of day Saturday, Feb. 15. Pick your skis up Wednesday, Feb. 19.