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Geared up for cross country

14 February 2019

The right gear can greatly increase the fun factor of cross-country skiing. We asked an equipment expert for his top recommendations. 

Robbie Ortner is the manager of the GO-IN sport shop. He often uses his lunch breaks to ski on the Engelberg Tailloipe cross-country trail, which runs right across the valley. We met him there to get his advice on what gear is needed for this invigorating sport.  

Clothing and glasses
"We recommend decent cross-country skiing socks that are not too thick and not too thin. It’s good to wear windstopper trousers, and on cold days a pair of quilted over-trousers. Team those with a functional long-sleeved shirt and a windstopper insulating jacket. I also find it useful to take along a neck warmer. When it’s very cold I can pull it up over my nose and breathe through the fabric. You also need to keep your ears warm with an active-wear hat or headband. You’ll also require a pair of sunglasses, not too dark, to cope with the rapid alternation of light and shade."

"It’s best to have two different pairs of gloves for different temperatures. Those who like gadgets and assessing their own performance should wear a sports watch, too."

"Ski poles are a different length for skate skiing than for the classic style. As so often, the really important thing is to get good advice from the specialists."

"Your skis must be the right ones for your weight. Otherwise, there are many different options. In the shop we notice that people tend to go for a specific brand or colour. Every good winter sports shop offers a range of skis so that you can choose the right ones for you, depending on how seriously you take your skiing. It is important to wax your skis regularly. That prolongs the life of the skis and makes skiing more enjoyable."

"The important thing about shoes is that they are comfortable."

"Personally, I recommend carrying a small bag so that you can take along everything you need. In mine I keep an energy bar, my phone, a second pair of gloves, and a thin jacket."

Take your time
"Allow yourself plenty of time when purchasing your gear. It might make sense to visit several shops, and it’s best to consider in advance what you want. The goal should be to get good, appropriate gear and not simply the cheapest. One important consideration is what you want to achieve in the current ski season. You will need a whole different standard if you plan to take part in the Engadin Ski Marathon, for example."

Fun and fellowship
"I recommend beginners take one or two hours of lessons before starting out. And then: don’t forget to enjoy yourself! It’s even more fun if you go with friends or colleagues."

Text & Images: Andrea Hurschler
Andrea Hurschler is well kitted out with good cross-country skiing gear thanks to the excellent advice she receives at Engelberg’s sports shops. Her latest acquisition is a pair of sports glasses that are particularly well suited to night-time and evening skiing. Her next purchase will probably be a bag recommended by Robbie.


In Engelberg you can find the right cross-country skiing equipment here.
Courses for beginners and tips for more advanced skiers are available here.
Cross country in Engelberg