XC Trail Skiing Armor and Protection?
My pals and I ski mostly ungroomed trails and look for challenges there. So our needs are different from groomer-skiers. Our needs overlap a fair bit with tele skiers.
The topic of protection/armor comes up now and then. Skill makes it mostly unneeded, but everyone crashes, so we're thinking about it more. --For ourselves as we age, and for others coming along as "trail skiing" catches on as the mtbike form of XC (brace for wave of popularity, but don't strain that shoulder...).
We tend to hit our hips most often. Then forearms. Then there's thumb-tweaks and shoulder-yanks. Knees and elbows are at some risk. At some point of steepness a bike helmet is smart.
There are several easy fixes and a couple tough ones that we wonder about.
Padded shorts are easy to find. $27 gets you motorcycle shorts with just hip and tailbone pads -- thin, light, flexible. (Most moto shorts have thigh pads, unneeded.) Wear em under regular clothes. (Fly Racing Compression Shorts look dandy at $27. EVS UG shorts have removable pads, and padded crotch, for $42.)
Thinly padded forearm sleeves are easy, too -- used for football. (Nike and Under Armor, $15-22. SixSixOne Rhythm Elbow, $30.)
Thin elbow and kneepads are easy. (Tele hardshells are out there.)
Gloves are a toughy -- some of us think the whack-impact is what gets 'em, others say it's the bent-back injury. I side with 'bent back.' Maybe a glove that clips the thumb to the forefinger would help. (Leki slalom gloves have padded thumb/fingers, $150 -- likely too hot for XC.)
But then there's the shoulder... How to keep the arm from yanking back too far... We're thinking maybe some kind of hopefully-simple retention strap. The shoulder would need to be "anchored" to the chest somehow. But the chest is a tube and anything strapped to it could rotate if tugged on by the shoulder. Hmmm...