Each pair of cross country skis is unique. Two pairs of skis may fit or act completely differently even if they are the exact same model, length, and "flex number," which means getting your skis professionally fitted is vital to ensure they perform as well as they should. Gear West sells thousands of skis each year to everyone from first timers to professional athletes, and we use the same process to select each one of these skis and ensure that you get the same quality fit whether you come in the door or order online.
Our ski fitting work begins long before you ever visit gearwest.com or come in the store when we filter every pair of race skis in our inventory using our Signature Flex Tester. Each individual ski is tested at a normalized weight for its size and stickered with a flex graph depicting how the ski distributes pressure on the snow at 50% and 100% of the normalized weight. This graph tells us a great deal about fit and ski quality, and can later be used as a reference by our ski fitters.
Once you place your gearwest.com order, one of our ski fitters will pull several pairs of skis in the model and size that you selected; we may also call you to discuss any specific requirements for the ski or alternative models or sizes which might fit you better. We then find another employee of a similar size and weight to act as a body double for you as the ski fitter performs a traditional card test for each pair pulled. This test shows us the running length, amount of tip and tail splay, and bridge/kick pocket at your weight for each pair. It also allows us to feel any pressure concentrations or "hot spots" that may slow the ski down. Only after checking the fit for each pair is the best one selected, serviced, and shipped to your door.
This procedure takes time, of course, but it is necessary to ensure a perfect fit and best possible performance out of your new skis.