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First steps toward getting into cross-country skiing

If you're about to get out-fitted for cross-country skiing, here are some assorted suggestions you might want to consider. In the next three weeks we'll discuss skis, boots, and bindings and one wise expert's ideas on ''how to get into cross-country.''

Most beginners look for ''packages'' of recreational-level skis, boots and poles. Those of reasonable quality now generally run from about $110 or $120 to according to one retailer, who notes that over-supply has brought prices down modestly from a couple of years ago.

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Of course, you can spend between $300 and $400 for top skis, boots and poles, but new skiers are likely to be paying for more than they can use at this level. You want reasonable support from your boots and bind-ings and both glide and grip from your skis. High performance skis often will require more ''kick,'' or downward pressure from the skier's stride, than most beginners can muster.

Glide is important, however, to those who want to travel fast. Grip often is more important to nonathle-tic beginners who just want to be able to walk up a hill easily. Skis that do the latter but not the former so well are sometimes referred to as ''trucks.'' Don't buy a ''truck;'' it's better to get snowshoes. Tell a knowledgeable dealer who carries several lines that you want a ski with a decent glide besides a fair grip.

Waxless skis outsell wax-able, although in some areas waxable skis are making a comeback. One reason is promotion of two-wax systems, an attempt to simplify and make easier the arcane ritual of choosing, applying, and removing ''the right wax.'' A properly waxed ski unquestionably will outper-form the best waxless ski. But the key here is getting it all ''proper'' and having the time to do it. For those who don't want to worry about ''today's wax,'' some much improved waxless skis are on the market. A discussion of various waxless ski base patterns, new technical developments, and price options with a knowledgeable expert should help find the right ski for you.

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