5 Best Backcountry Cross Country Skis

If you’re looking for the best backcountry cross country skis, you’re in the right place.

Cross country skiing is the perfect activity for those who crave the types of adventures that only the wilderness can provide. For lovers of skiing and backcountry adventures, cross country skiing represents the best of both worlds. With this said, having the right backcountry cross country skis is essential to making the most out of this thrilling experience.

It is important to know where to turn for the best cross country skis available on the market. The right pair of cross country skis will help you to successfully tackle the wilderness and they will encourage you to keep coming back.

This guide is designed to assist you in your goal of finding the best backcountry cross country skis currently available this year. When you have the right pair of backcountry cross country skis, you can head out into the wilderness with confidence.

UPDATED March 26th, 2021: Updated the post for 2021. Replaced skis that are no longer available to buy.

These five products that we are featuring have been tested by cross country skiing enthusiasts who have taken them out into the depths of the backcountry’s toughest terrain to see how they perform. The results have confirmed the quality of these products. With this said, these are the top 5 best backcountry cross country skis.

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Best Backcountry Cross Country Skis

  1. Rossignol Evo OT 65 IFP Positrack XC Skis
  2. Madshus Epoch 68 Skis
  3. Atomic 2021 Redster S7 Skis
  4. Alpina Discovery 68 XC Backcountry Skis
  5. Whitewoods OUTLANDER Cross Country Skis

1) Rossignol Evo OT 65 IFP Positrack XC Skis

The Evo OT 65 IFP Positrack XC Skis from Rossignol lead off our list of the top 5 best backcountry cross country skis. They are a highly versatile option that is good for all-around backcountry cross country use.

This pair of cross country skis is known for its outstanding durability that is combined with ease of use. Though they perform well in the rough terrain of the backcountry, they can also be used on well-groomed ski tracks as well. The performance of these skis comes from factors such as their partial metal edges as well as their wide dimensions.

Features and Specs

  • Plate: IFP
  • Core: Wood – Air channel
  • Partial metal edge
  • Active cap
  • Positack soles and tuning
  • Sidecut at 65/53/60


Q: How do you determine the length you need for these skis?

A: You need to determine length by considering the weight of the skier.

Q: Are these skis designed for downhill use or cross country?

A: They are designed for cross country use.

Q: What type of binding do these skis come with?

A: They come with an NNN binding that will fit any standard NNN boot.


  • Great for recreational skiers at the intermediate level
  • Great for a wide variety of terrain types
  • Great on backcountry snow


  • Wide design limits their speed
  • Not an ideal option for beginner level skiers

2) Madshus Epoch 68 Skis

Our next featured pair of are the Epoch 68 Skis from Madshus. They are among the best skis available on the market for backcountry touring use.

These skis excel in ascents and descents as well as working great on flat terrain. They include metal edges that are full-length and they also have a progressive sidecut that makes it easy to go across rough backcountry terrain.

Features and Specs

  • A great ski for going anywhere that you choose
  • Sidecut: 99/68/84 cm
  • Full-length edges
  • Wide skis for extra flotation


Q: Do these skis work well on low-angle downhills?

A: These skis do work great on low-angle downhills and any other type of terrain.

Q: Do these cross country skis glide well?

A: This pair of cross country skis is notable for how well they glide.

Q: Is this a good choice for cross country touring?

A: These skis are designed to excel in cross country touring but they are great on a wide variety of terrain types.


  • Highly versatile skis
  • They perform great for cross country and for basic downhill skiing
  • These skis work great on ice, steep terrain, and in deep snow


  • Though these skis are versatile for many types of skiing, they are not the best option for any specific type

3) Atomic 2021 Redster S7 Skis

The next item on our list are the 2021 Redster S7 Skis from Atomic. These skis are a great choice for intermediate skill levels. They include a narrow tail as well as a wide tip. This helps to give these skis excellent speed. They are also notable for their excellent glide.

Features and Specs

  • Great for carving
  • Good skis for intermediate and advanced levels
  • Tip/Waist/Tail: 117/79/98.5
  • Bindings are not installed
  • Camber rocker


Q: Are these skis good for speed?

A: These skis are designed to perform well at racing speeds.

Q: What is the core of these skis composed of?

A: The core is composed of an ultra-high densolite material that provides a flex pattern that is smooth as well as a solid rebound.

Q: Do these skis work well with Grip Walk and Alpine boots?

A: These skis do work well with these types of ski boots.


  • Great cross country skis for speed
  • The narrow tail and the wide tip help to provide efficient speed


  • These skis do come with a significant price tag
  • The skis come bare and you have to select your own bindings

4) Alpina Discovery 68 XC Backcountry Skis

Our next pair of cross country skis is the Discovery 68 XC Backcountry Skis from the team at Alpina.

These backcountry cross country skis are ideal for the skier that wants the option to go wherever they want to in the wilderness. They include full metal edges that will assist you in downhills. These skis also help you in traversing difficult terrain.

Features and Specs

  • Sidecut 68/60/65mm
  • Slight tip rocker
  • Wood core
  • Full metal edges
  • NNN-BC step-in bindings included


Q: Are the ski bindings already installed on these cross country skis?

A: The NNN-BC bindings are already installed and ready for your ski boots.

Q: Are these skis good for use on downhills?

A: They are excellent for both downhill uses and for tough backcountry terrain.

Q: Is the rocker helpful in initiating turns and breaking trail?

A: The slight tip rocker assists the user in both of these areas.


  • Great skis for anyone that wants to be able to tackle difficult terrain in the backcountry
  • The NNN-BC ski bindings come pre-installed
  • Great for explored trails or for creating your own paths


  • Not the best option for non-backcountry uses

5) Whitewoods OUTLANDER Cross Country Skis

The last entry on our list of the are the OUTLANDER Cross Country Skis from Whitewoods.

These skis are notable for their easy grip and for their stability. They are good for slow, controlled turns and include a non-metal edge. The skis also include an ABS sidewall and they are notable for being lightweight and offering a snowshoe floatation.

Features and Specs

  • Gender: Unisex
  • Color options: Orange/Black/White
  • 96mm tip width
  • Parabolic shape
  • ABS sidewall
  • Lightweight skis


Q: Do these skis provide a stable glide?

A: These cross country skis are notable for offering a stable glide.

Q: Are the ski bindings included with these skis?

A: The ski bindings come as a part of the package.

Q: What skill level are these skis good for?

A: These skis are great for beginners but will also work well for higher skill level skiers as well.


  • These skis come with the ski bindings included
  • They are great cross country skis for new skiers but work well for higher ability levels as well


  • These cross country skis come at a good price for their level of quality

What To Look For

One of the main points to remember is that there are two primary types of skis used for cross country. Classic skis utilize a striding motion the goes back and forth. It resembles the motion used to walk or run. Skate skis, on the other hand, utilize a technique that is similar to speed skating on ice. You need to understand which style of cross country skiing you plan to do when purchasing a pair of skis.

Beyond knowing which type of backcountry cross country skis that you are going to purchase, you also need to make sure that you get the right size. You need to remember that longer skis tend to go faster than shorter options. Your skill level will play a large role in helping you to decide which size of cross country skis to purchase.

What To Avoid

One of the biggest mistakes that are often made when purchasing backcountry cross country skis is the failure to ensure that the skis work with the boots that you plan on using. It is important to purchase ski boots that will fit into your skis and it is also important to purchase ski boots that are designed for the type of skiing that you will be doing in the backcountry.


Final Thoughts

I hope you liked this post on the best backcountry cross country skis. If you liked this post, you may also like our guides on the best backcountry skis and our guide on the best backcountry hunting packs.