Learn Skiing

So you’ve just gotten into this whole skiing thing, and now you have a few questions! Whether you are a veteran master skier, high school freshman (or their parents), a runner/cyclist looking for a form of winter cross training, or anyone else, the nordic skiing world can be very confusing. At Finn Sisu, we have been working hard since 1978 to try and take the confusion out of this wonderful sport. Scroll through the following links, and hopefully you will find what you are looking for! If this doesn’t answer your questions, call us at 651-645-2443, and one of our friendly staff will try and answer all your questions, or point you in the right direction.

The Basics:

Check out our equipment page for a basic overview of necessary equipment.

For a great introduction and the answers to many basic questions about cross country skiing, check out these great articles from

Introduction to Cross Country Skiing

Classic vs Skate

Also, if you are skiing in the upper Midwest, get to know! Bruce Adelsman does a fantastic job curating trail reports, race results, photos, and other related ski news.

How do I learn to ski, or learn to ski faster?

There are many ways to learn how to ski. At Finn Sisu, we offer various training groups for juniors and adults to hone your ski technique and fitness.

Also, there are many organizations available in the midwest that have training groups for many different ages of skiers. A fairly complete list can be found here on Skinnyski.

What is waxing all about?

At its simplest, we wax our skis so that they either grip or glide better, which enables us to ski farther and faster with less energy! Waxing can get very complex, which for some people is great! Thankfully there are also many ways to make it simple if you so choose.

At Finn Sisu, we offer free wax clinics on monday nights, check the events portion of our website to see what the topic of the night will be. They are usually fairly low-key, with plenty of time for questions. Plus, by attending, you get 10% off all wax and wax related products that evening!

Glide Waxing-

Glide waxing is done to the entire length of a skate ski, as well as the glide zones of a classic ski, in order to make the skis glide more smoothly. This is best done using some sort of hot wax product, using an iron to melt wax onto the ski, and then scraping and brushing away the excess. Dan Meyer, the founder of Fast Wax, has made this nice video detailing a simple glide wax process.

If you want a simple option that is very durable, Optiwax Glide tape is a fantastic new product that we have been very happy with, and is no doubt the simplest way to hot wax a pair of skis. It is even very fast! Many of our staff regularly use it as a race wax during their podium chasing exploits.

We also provide many different waxing services, some can be found here, but give us a call to discuss how we can best meet your needs!

Kick Waxing-

Kick waxing is done in the “kick zone” of a classic ski – generally near the midsection of the ski, in order to enable the ski to grip the snow when the ski is compressed, enabling the skier to gain traction and propel themselves forward. This is usually done by applying a kick wax that suits the temperature and snow conditions of the day. There are many different kinds of kick waxes, but most skiers can get by with 3 or 4 different tins, and mixing layers of each wax to suit the day’s conditions.

If choosing the correct wax seems daunting to you, but you still want to have the gliding speed of a racing ski, check out skin skis, or consider using Rex Tapegrip.

Informational video about how wax works: How Cross Country Skis and Wax Work

Where do I find a good place to ski?

If you are in the Midwest, the go-to place is In addition to their great archives of race results, photos, ski news, and other important info, users upload Trail Reports of the conditions at their favorite ski venues. Also available is a wonderful map of trail systems that are available for cross country skiers.

Where can I find used gear or sell my old stuff?

Here at Finn Sisu, we don’t deal in any used gear aside from the occasional ski swap that we host. We feel like there are plenty of good outlets for skiers to find quality used gear, that our resources are better used in other areas of our store.

If you are going to buy used gear, please, please, please make sure that it fits you well! Ski boots should be comfortable, poles should be the right lengths, and skis the correct flex. If you don’t get a good fitting set of equipment, you most likely won’t have a great experience with the sport! Check out our equipment page for a basic overview of necessary equipment.

If you are looking for gear for a high school skier, check with the high school team. Kids are constantly outgrowing equipment, and many veteran ski parents are happy to assist a younger skier getting into the sport if the equipment fits.

In the fall, many stores and ski organizations host ski swaps, where skiers can bring their used gear to try and sell to other skiers. They typically start up at the end of October, but check in the fall for a schedule of swaps.

Also, many Play-it-Again Sports shops carry a small selection of used gear, and savvy skiers can sometimes score a good deal there, provided that they know what to look for.

If I’m a spectator going to my first ski race, what do I do?

Bundle up and bring a thermos of your favorite warm drink. All the skiers in their spandex suits may look cool, but they’ll be jealous of your practical down jacket and warm mittens.

Ski races can be quite the event. From a small high school race to a major marathon such as the City of Lakes Loppet, spectators main goals should be to stay warm, cheer loudly, and have fun! You’ll see people with cowbells and strange hats, but if you get to know some of the people out there, you’ll soon realize that the nordic community is full of some of the nicest people around.

For more useful links to U.S. Cross Country Skiing information and news, Click Here!


Are we missing anything? Did we say something that you feel is incorrect? If so, please email us at, and we will try and straighten it out!

About Us | Shipping | Returns | FAQ's | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Security Policy

© 2019. All Rights Reserved.