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Since cross country skate technique involves picking the ski up off the ground with each forward stride, in general, cross country skate skis are shorter and lighter than touring skis. However, they must be long enough to provide sufficient glide and stability.
Because of a need for maximum push off, skate skis have little or no side cut. In fact, most skate skis are wider at the waist. This provides a solid edge for skating movements. Skate skis are also relatively narrow, which makes them built for speed. They are also similar to alpine skis in that they have less pronounced camber than touring skis. This allows for a more efficient push-off. Since skate skiing is performed on hard pack snow, cross country skating skis are usually stiff-flexed.