Top 7 High Performance Classic Cross Country Skis 2022

The best race classic cross country skis for the ambitious XC ski racer - a view

Classic cross country skis are still fabricated to apply grip wax. For the more serious XC skier, waxable classic skis are still faster than mohair skis.

However, skiing efficiently on "Classic Race" skis requires you to have clean kicks, explosive power development as well as the appropriate level of fitness. 

These class cross country ski models are consistently tuned for high speed, which goes together with a short and proportionally hard pre-tensioned wax pocket. If the ski tension and your level of training are right, these skis are absolutely the fastest the ski industry can offer you.

The application of carbon, high-quality plastics and complex processing technology in classic cross country skis rises the price and reduces the weight to ensure fatigue-free skiing.

And as far as the finish of the skis is concerned, the top Race Classic ski models are usually tuned at the factory with excellent finishes for the respective aim.

I did the ski testing alone on a weekend with hard packed snow conditions and an air temperature of -6° Celsius. Every pair of skis received 3 layers of blue hard wax which worked perfect for these conditions.  

Tested were the - downhill-, turning-, -kick-, insertion behavior, as well as its smoothness, handling and gliding ability.

All classic cross country skis tested here would suit a skier like Allan, who is a recreational XC ski racer.

Name: Allan

XC Ski Experience: Good technician with racing experience. Classic is his specialty

Fitness Level: Already fit for the Classic Loppet season. Endurance type with a small deficit in terms of speed

Hi I'm...

Allan, I am known as an old hand when it comes to classic cross-country skiing. So far, as an avid competitive master XC skier, I've always been into grip wax ski models.

From time to time I also ski on skins, especially during training and in difficult snow conditions. As a convinced traditionalist, I prefer to ski classic-style long-distance races to skating.

I'm really excited for the winter and will soon plan to enter races like the Marcialonga, La Diagonela, Vasaloppet, Koenig Ludwig Lauf or in the USA, the Birkebeiner Classic or Kortelopet Classic etc.

I want to have the best possible material for this. What classic cross country skis should I suppose to get? Budget - I don't care!

Atomic Redster C9 Carbon

Atomic Redster C9 CarbonThe Atomic Redster C9 Carbon is Atomic's best grip wax race ski. The tip is a bit wider, which increases the gliding surface

Category: Race Classic

Weight / Length: 1168g / 202cm (inclusive binding)

Length / Skier's Weight: 187cm (soft) - 207cm (hard). 12 variations / from 45 - 100kg

Width Tip/Middle/Tail: 43 / 44 / 44mm

Technical Specifications: Nomex Featherlight RaceConstruction: Race Carbon World-Cup Use Area of ​​application

Recommended Binding: Atomic Prolink Shift-In Pro Classic

Selling Price: From Euro 583.95 / $ 699.95

What Rene says: The Atomic Redster C9 Carbon is the lightest and fastest of all classic cross country skis of Atomic's collection. It's also one of the fastest to go on the pro racing circuit.

The key to that much speed is a Race Carbon World-Cup insert, where the carbon is used as efficiently as possible for the optimal power-to-weight ratio.

In addition, there is a "BI 6000 premium ski base" with 10% special gliding additives. This is tuned in with a World Cup finish for super-fast gliding in all conditions. The ski also has a new binding system with a glued binding plate for even more direct power transmission.

Its slightly wider "Nomex Featherlight Race" core also gives the ski stability, so you can accelerate freely without falling.

This ski test has shown the Redster C9 Carbon consistently is an excellent race ski with markes of 9 out of a max of 10. Only on the downhills, the ski was a bit unstable, but this did not lead to a devaluation in the test result.

Conclusion: The slightly wider shovel increases the gliding surface. The  Atomic Redster C9 Carbon is a solid racing ski with a consistently good rating that has almost no weaknesses.

Overall Grade

Fischer Speedmax 3D Classic Plus

Fischer Speedmax 3D Classic PlusThe Fischer Speedmax 3D Classic Plus is the most used grip wax racing ski of Worldcup and Visma classic ski racers.

Category: Race Classic

Weight / Length: 1030g / 197cm

Length / Skier's Weight: 187 / 192 / 197 / 202 / 207cm (stiffness: soft / middle / hard 45 - 99kg)

Width Tip/Middle/Tail: 41 / 44 / 44mm

Technical Specifications: Air core HM" carbon, gliding sidewall construction, base / climbing zone: World Cup plus / wax. The classic 902 model is ideal for universal to wet conditions, klister

Recommended Binding: Turnamic WC Classic or Race Pro Classic

Selling Price:From Euro 593.95  / $ 799.95

What Rene says: Since you are very skeptical about skin skis, I don't have to persuade you of the advantages of classic cross-country skis. You already know how to kick wax your skis, but an experiment with "Fischer's Twin Skin 3D" would surprise you too.

The model here bears the "Race Code Seal of Approval". You can reduce the overall friction enormously with the liquid waxable Gliding Sidewall.

You will really appreciate that with this super-light core ski at the next ski marathons.

The Fischer Speedmax 3D Classic Plus is priced at the upper end in this category. It's the most used model of all the classic cross country skis of the top Worldcup and Visma Ski Classics cracks.

So, it's proved to be a solid and well-balanced racing ski with no particular strengths or weaknesses. In the ratings, I give it a modest 9 out of 10 in handling, smoothness, as well as insertion-, turning-, kick-, and downhill behavior and gliding ability.

Conclusion: Installing ski bases with gliding sidewalls is not only worthwhile in the World Cup races. But also for the recreational XC skier looking for top glide. Besides, I also really like the design.

Overall Grade

Kaestle RX10 2.0 Classic

Kaestle RX10 2.0 ClassicThe Kaestle RX10 2.0 Classic skis aren't known well in the USA. Despite that, it's a solide grip wax racing ski

Category: Race Classic

Weight / Length: 1090g / 206cm

Length / Skier's Weight: 188cm (soft) - 206cm (hard), a total of 8 variants: 41 - 91kg

Width Tip/Middle/Tail: 41 / 44 / 44mm

Technical Specifications: Lightweight honeycomb core, Paulownia-torsionsbox, UD-carbon-fiberglass, CAP-construction, UW1 / CW1 grind depending on snow conditions

Recommended Binding: Xcelerator 2.0 classic

Selling Price: From Euro 549.00 / $ only available in Europe

What Rene says: The new construction of the RX10 2.0 Classic ski is the most powerful that has ever existed in the cool Kaestle look.

Thanks to additional carbon inserts over the entire length of the ski and in the binding area, the traditionally designed tension curve is retained.

The ash-torsion-box protects the light honeycomb core and guarantees you maximum stability over many years to come. The perfect balance of climbing and gliding zones as well as the performance grind are made by hand.

However, the Kästle RX10 2.0 Classic ski was a bit dull during testing, which means I was missing that good gliding ski. Otherwise it turned out as a solid racing ski.

The ratings were all in the good to very good range. So, overall I would say that it's a solid racing ski with strengths in turns, smoothness and on the downhills.

Conclusion: The R10 2.0 is not the lightest of the high-performance classic cross-country skis. But the proportion of wood keeps the ski flex constant over many years.

Overall Grade

Madshus Redline 3.0 Classic Cold

Madshus Redline 3.0 Classic ColdThe Madshus Redline 3.0 Classic Cold is a hard wax grip ski and is suitable for flatter long-distance ski races

Category: Race Classic

Weight / Length: 900g / 187

Length / Skier's Weight: 182 / 187 / 192 / 197 / 202 / 207cm, 19 variations (30 - 90+ kg)

Width Tip/Middle/Tail: 43 / 44 / 44mm

Technical Specifications: PR100X with triaxial ski construction, Ski base: P300 Nano

Recommended Binding: Move Race or Move Switch

Selling Price: From Euro 479.95 / $ 654.49

What Rene says: The Redline 3.0 classic cold is for hard wax conditions and  classic warm for klister conditions. The sidecut and geometry are new and is wider under the foot.

At the same time, the widest point of the shovel has been repositioned for a narrower tip profile. The new ski models have thicker materials at the tip and tail of the ski, to ensure better flotation in softer snow conditions.

By carefully tuning and positioning the camber in relation to the binding position, the ski exhibits dynamic compression as you shift your weight forward during the kick phase.

With the long, flat residual flexion and long contact surfaces, the "Cold" ski is perfect for thin layers of wax. In the test result, the Redline Classic Cold receives good marks in every sector - namely an 8 out of 10.

Conclusion: During the testing, I found the ski is easy to ski. However, I criticize at a high level the somewhat lacking dynamics of a racing ski and the flat tip. The ski improved a lot in compare to last year.

Overall Grade

Rossignol X-IUM Classic Premium C2

Rossignol X-IUM Classic Premium C2The Rossignol X-IUM Classic Premium C2 has a longer and stiffer camber and adaptes perfect in compact snow conditions

Category: Race Classic

Weight / Length: 990g /197cm

Length / Skier's Weight: 190 / 197 / 202 / 207cm ( with either soft/middle/hard flex) 

Width Tip/Middle/Tail: 40 / 44 / 44mm

Technical Specifications: Nomex honeycomb core, activ'cap, R-tipski construction, total edge technology with K7000 / universal 2.0 ski base

Recommended Binding: Turnamic Race Pro Classic Premium

Selling Price: From Euro 439.95 / $ 579.00

What Rene says: With the classic premium c2, you get an original waxable World-Cup ski. Considered the most versatile ski in the Rossignol racing ski range, this new Premium C2 adaptes to klister snow conditions. 

In comparison to the models C1 and C3, the C2 has a longer and stiffer camber and performs best in compact and transformed snow.

The transparent R-Tip ensures smooth insertion behavior. The Total-Edge sidewall reinforcement gives the ski optimal regulation in the grip wax zone.

Maximum values for gliding and smoothness as well as a lot of dynamics make the Rossignol X-IUM Classic Premium C2 a top racing ski.

However, these properties also requires you to have the appropriate skills. You must be able to ski them powerfully.

Therefore, this ski receives top markes for its gliding ability and smoothnes - a 10 out of 10. In downhill-, turning-, insertion-, and kick behavior as well as handling, I give it a 9 out of 10.

Conclusion: The "Rossis" are already known for their sporting orientation and definitely qualify as top classic cross country skis. So, in a World Cup setup, they suit best for recreational race skiers.

Overall Grade

Salomon S/LAB Carbon Classic

Salomon S/LAB Carbon Classic skiThe Salomon S/LAB Carbon Classic ski is a very stable and smooth ski and glides exceptionally well. The grip during the kick-off phase could be a bit better

Category: Race Classic

Weight / Length: 960g / 201cm

Length / Skier's Weight: 188cm  / 196cm (60 - 70kg), 201cm (70 - 80kg), 206cm (80 - 90kg)

Width Tip/Middle/Tail: 44 / 44 / 44mm

Technical Specifications: Nomex: An ultra-lightweight composite honeycomb core. It's combined with a carbon and fiberglass shell and a wood sandwich construction. This reduces weight and ensures maximum regularity.

The G5 Universal World Cup base offers optimal performance on all types of snow.

Recommended Binding: Salomon Prolink Race Classic 

Selling Price: From Euro 549.99 / $ 699.95

What Rene says: Like all classic cross country skis in this Category, Salomon's S/LAB Carbon Classic ski is designed for you if you're performance-oriented and want to push your limits.

A better acceleration and gliding ability like with this model is hard to achieve. The 45° binding specific to the Thin Ply construction increases the torsion/flexion ratio.

It thus offers better stability and more efficient energy transfer when skiing in the classic technique.

In the test results, I awarded a 9 out of a max of 10 in: - downhill behavior, - turning behavior, - handling, - gliding ability, - smoothness, and - insertion behavior. Only during the kick-off phase, the ski doesn't get as much grip and receives an 8.

Conclusion: One of the best classic cross country skis for fast races in all distances. It's also a very light and balanced ski.

Overall Grade

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