When I (Stella) had lived in Wisconsin, classic cross-country skiing was my passion sport – I loved it! However, my love for this form of skiing had fizzled shortly after moving to Colorado four years ago when I noticed the difference between the two different types of terrains. I had become discouraged by all of the hills, and really struggled with them. After skiing a few times at some Nordic centers in Colorado, I had decided to focus on backcountry snowshoeing instead.
This winter, however, I decided to give it a try again. I took a refresher lesson in classic skiing, and a skate skiing lesson. And although I liked skate skiing, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to whole-heartedly pursue it. A stirring in my heart told me to give classic skiing another chance. After doing some extensive research about all of the different types of cross-country skis, I have finally found a solution that would help make classic cross-country skiing more enjoyable in mountainous terrains.
Classic cross-country skis are broken into three categories: (purely) classic, touring and back country. My old skis are the Rossingol EVO Glade 176cm (length), which are at least nine years old; they are labeled as ‘touring’ skis. The kick zone possesses a fish scale pattern, which is now smoothed from years of use. I had those skis and bindings fitted specifically for me at a ski shop, and they had worked great while skiing in Wisconsin. But they are truly inadequate for skiing in mountainous terrains.
TYPE: After thorough research, I decided upon the Fischer Spider 62 Crown Cross-Country touring skis, and I am beyond thrilled with my choice! These skis are highly versatile because they allow users to ski within groomed tracks, and outside of groomed tracks for light off-trail use. This will come in handy when we want to ski in parks or other places that do not have groomed tracks, and when groomed tracks start to thin out the Nordic centers. This ski is 62mm wide, so they fit perfectly within the groomed tracks at Nordic centers. (The other set of skis that I was considering are the Rossignol Evo OT 65 Positrack, which are the skis Larry purchased).
SIDE NOTE: This is a waxless type of ski, which means that you do not have to apply kick wax. However, do not underestimate the value of applying a glide wax every time before you use them! We especially like Swix F4 All Temperature Universal Glide Wax.
LENGTH: (purely) classic skis tend to be very long and narrow, which provides users with the advantage of speed. Touring skis are often fitted to be a little shorter, and sometimes wider than the (purely) classic skis. And even though my old skis were fitted specifically for me, they had always felt quite long. When you look at the manufacturer’s recommendations for touring skis, they are based upon weight (rather than height). I learned that a touring ski between the lengths of 165-169cm is ideal for me.
You may be wondering how much of a difference a few centimeters can make, and I can tell you that the difference is HUGE! The advantages of a shorter touring ski includes: better control going down hills, more effective herring bone traversing up steep hills, more control going around corners, and an overall lighter ski allowing more ease of use.
I had a lengthy discussion with the REI retail specialist about whether I should get the Fischer Spider 62 Crown in 169cm or 179cm since I had been accustomed to a longer ski previously. He affirmed that if I went with the 169cm, I would end up sacrificing glide/speed due to the shorter length. Instead of following the manufacturer, and my gut instinct, I went along with the retail specialist’s advice and purchased the 179cm – it had been the wrong choice! I promptly returned them and ordered the 169cm, and the difference is nothing short of astounding. (I plan to go into detail about all aspects of this ski, and will break it into sections). This first section discusses the length:
- Glide: While skiing on the Fischer Spider 62 Crown 169cm ski, I no longer ‘feel’ the length of the ski dragging behind me like I had before with the other longer skis. This shorter ski is so light that it is significantly easier to kick with, and my glide has actually improved because there is less ski that needs to move underneath me. Having an efficient glide and stride with these skis is effortless.
- Traversing up steep hills: I also notice a difference with this length of ski when I need to herringbone up a steep hill. Previously, it had always been very difficult for me to do this because the back of my skis had always crossed over one another – because they were just too dang long! Here in Colorado, where most of the trails at the Nordic centers have lots of steep hills, being able to do this with ease is critical! And this is the biggest reason why I had given up on cross-country skiing shortly after we had moved here. That problem is now solved!
- Down hills and turns: This shorter ski provides me with so much more control when going down the steep hills, simply because there is less ski to contend with. This means that my knees do not have to invert so much into a snowplow type of position in order to gain control. This same notion is also applicable for turning within and outside of groomed tracks. Everything is so much easier now than it has ever been.
DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION: I will break this into two sub-categories, and will then explain how they affect different aspects of cross-country skiing.
- KICKZONE: The kickzone is the area underneath the ski, right in the middle, that has some form of gripping/textured pattern. The material pattern of the kickzone will vary from ski to ski. The kickzone material on this ski feels kind of rubbery, and is raised like little square bubbles. The kickzone on this ski has completely changed my skiing experience.
- Glide: The pattern and material allows the ski to grip the snow so that I can perform an efficient kick, which then allows me to have an efficient glide. My old skis possess a smooth fishscale pattern (which is worn), unlike the raised, rubbery, bumpy pattern that these have. My stride/glide has improved two-fold. Also, when I ski outside of the groomed tracks (ex. in the skating lane), I still have complete control, and am not sliding all around , like I would have on my old skis.
- Traversing up steep hills: The pattern and material of the kickzone is also vital for traversing up hill. In fact, the kickzone on these skis is so superior that I often can just step ski right up the hills, versus having to do a herring bone formation. This is because of the ‘grip’ that the kickzone provides. I could never, in my wildest dreams, be able to accomplish that with my old skis, as I would be sliding backwards at the even the slightest of hill unless I used a herringbone formation. Not having to always herringbone has saved a great deal of wear/tear on my knees.
- METAL EDGES: Here is where things get really interesting. I was unfamiliar with metal edges on skis until I had begun my research. Some skis have partial metal edges, while others have metal edges that run the full length of the ski. What is the purpose or advantage of having metal edges? In one word: control. Metal edges are often used on touring and backcountry skis because of the stability and control that they provide. And once you’ve cross-country skied with metal edges, you’ll never want to ski without them! The Fischer Spider 62 Crown skis have full-length metal edges, which I love with a fiery passion. Skiing up and down the steep hills is now an enjoyable experience!
- Traversing up steep hills: Metal edges are extremely useful for the herringbone formation when going up very steep hills. The herringbone formation is when you invert your knees (pull them inward), dig the inner edges of the skis into the snow, and cross the back of your skis in a v-shaped pattern. Think of it as the opposite pattern of a snowplow position. With metal edges, it makes this formation so much easier because the metal digs into the snow to provider users with more grip and stability.
- Down hills: When I had skied in Wisconsin, I feared going down any hill because my skis had zero control, even when using a snowplow formation. And I often find people who walk down steep hills with their skis because of this issue. With a metal-edged ski, you will never have a problem again, regardless if the ski has a partial or full-length metal edge. And not only do I have complete control in a snowplow formation while going down very steep hills, but I often don’t even need to engage in a full snowplow because of the control that these edges provide.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Fischer Spider 62 Crown Cross-Country touring skis have renewed my love for cross-country skiing because I now have a ski that functions ideally for the terrain that I am in, and they provide so much more versatility of use. I actually love cross-country skiing now more than I had before, and it is all because I have found the right type of ski for me. They are nothing short of perfect. And because of my experience with trying this ski in two different lengths, I have to urge you to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation based upon your weight.
End Note: Stella has paired her Fischer Spider 62 Crown IFP Cross-Country Skis with the Rossignol X-6 SC Combi Boot. Click link for her review.
See the review for our Madshus Panorama M78 Backcountry Nordic skis.
Overall: Excellent Purchase
Price paid: $299.95 with Turnamic Bindings
Place Purchased: REI
Link to REI website: REI
Note: This blog receives no payment or other compensation for reviews of products or services. If I/we did not pay full retail price for a product being reviewed, I/we will explicitly state that in the review. Unless explicitly stated, I/we have no affiliation or relationship with the product being reviewed.
27 thoughts on “Fischer Spider 62 Crown IFP Cross-Country Skis”
I too am looking at the Fischer Spider Skis and the Rossignol EVO 65. With the Fischer I am debating between the 169 and 179. I really need about a 175 which is why I’m looking at the Fischers. I’m wondering how much you weigh and how tall you are. I’m 5’3” tall and just about 142 lbs. But with clothes and gear, I would be over the 145 limit for the 169s. Would love to compare with you!
Greetings – thank you for your interest in the review and skis! My weight fluctuates between 115-120 pounds (although my ideal weight is around 105); I am 5’1″. The 179’s are recommended for weight between 145 – 195, which is a pretty large gap. Given that gap, I would also take your height into consideration. If you are around 5’5″ or taller, that combined with your weight may make the 179’s more ideal for you. With skis, the longer they are, they faster they are. However, longer skis can also be a bit more challenging to maneuver, as I mentioned in my review. It sounds like you could go with either size, which is why if you are taller and will be carrying gear, I would consider the 179’s.
I really struggled with deciding between the Fischer and EVO’s (which are the ones that Larry got). But because they are a bit wider, I theorized that they might impact my over speed and stride since I am so short to begin with – every little bit makes a difference. However, with width also comes more stability. So a beginner might find the EVO’s a bit more comfortable. My other fear with the EVO’s was that they could be too wide for some of the groomed tracks, which so far, has not been a problem anywhere we have skied. On another note, because they are wider, I think they handle off-track skiing a bit better than my Fischer’s.
Has this information helped?
Enjoyed your review. I have been XC skiing for the better part of 47years (am 72 yo). Started in Montana with bare wood bottoms, learned all about pine tar and wax hardness/softness. Retired from the Air Force and moved to Colorado, now living in Parker.
Loved being out in the woods so purchased a set of 188 cm BC skis with a 88mm tip and headed out in the woods along Peru Creek Drainage. But alas, time and skill caught up with me and I broke my leg in 2012. Went out off and on the next few years, but not until I retired in 2019 did I try to get out regularly. But health issues resulted in a balance issue, so decided to stick to groomed trails.
The broad base skis were more sideslip and glide versus step and glide, so I decided to get some skinnier skis. I did my research and wanted the largest width that would fit in grooved tracks yet give me the option to go off-trail on the skate ski track or in the woods.
Your article provided me with the perfect ski that I needed! I’m 6’3” @ ~ 220 lbs, so I purchased the 189cm set. This one versus the 199cm as it was a shorter ski yet was within the recommended weight range. Going out this week to test it on some ungroomed trails near Loveland, then onto the groomed trails.
I do hope that you were not severely impacted but the recent fires. We travel through that area quite often, and cannot imagine the devastation. Best wishes for you and the members of your community!
How well did the shorter skis work for you?
Great review with the perfect level of tech vs technique in your discussions. My wife and I have been downhill skiing and boarding for over 40 yrs and, like everyone else here in CO in 2020/21, looking to get out of the crowds. Unfortunately no stock in our sizes available nationwide so maybe we will have to wait until Fischer get inventory back up after the factory fire this year.
We live on open space with miles of fields and hilly single track. How do you think these would compare to the Rossi’s BC 65 in cutting fresh tracks off the groomed trails? You often compared to your old gear. Can I ask what type of XC skiing and gear you were coming from?
The Rossignol BC65 skis that you referenced are a similar concept to my Fischer’s. I think they would provide a solid off-track/cutting through fresh snow experience for you as long as the snow is not too deep or wet/heavy. Another great ski to consider is Larry’s Rossignol EVO OT 65, although I suspect these may be just as difficult to find, as they are the most popular Nordic ski in this category.
My old skis are the Rossingol EVO Glade. They were solely used for in-track classic skiing; they do not have any metal edges; the kick zone has a fish scale pattern that did not provide good grip, although the kick zone had been worn down. (I recently gave them away to someone who is just starting out in the sport).
The issue with too long ski is my concern also. Where was the 169cm at on the low end of your height /weight chart when you went with the 179cm the first time? Where does the 169″s come up on your body (head level, nose level, chin level etc) compared to the 179’s?
The length of the ski is dependent upon your weight (NOT height). I am 5’1 and my weight fluctuates between 115-125 lbs (although my ideal weight is closer to 105 lb). But to answer your question, I do not recall where the length of the ski came up to on my body. The salesmen did not know as much as about the skis as he had led me to believe, which is what had resulted in me first purchasing the 179’s. If I had followed my gut instinct and the manufacturer’s recommendation, I would have purchased the 169’s the first time around. I realize my reply does not directly answer your question, but do I hope that this will be helpful. The weight is important because that is what impact the ‘float” of the skis.
On another note, if you are interested in a really cross-country short ski AND plan to do backcountry cross-country skiing in deep powder (versus at nordic centers) another ski to consider is the Madshus Panorama M78. These are short and wide, providing superb stability combined with a full length metal edge as well. (These are not to be used a nordic centers). We both recently purchased a pair of these and are head over heels with them. We will be using them more in the next few weeks and then will post our review for them. These are very special skis! Now, with both sets of skis, we have the best of both worlds. 🙂