Nordic skier here... cheap sport honestly but you have to live near snow.
The best nordic skiers are freaks. I think at the top they are 100% bad ass.
You should have seen how cheap it was thirty years ago back when people still gagged at a $45 lift ticket for downhill? I buy skis, boots and poles at garage sales and swap meets all summer long. I buy them up just like a vacuum cleaner, mostly in kids sizes and then sell them off come wintertime, (although the verb "to sell" implies a certain level of effort on my part that's clearly absent here.) A nice cold snap in early December usually cuts my inventory right in half and I've even had people drive 130 miles each way to get them. Once you have a nice assortment of boots and mostly the same bindings on all the skis then the word starts to get around. There was a time when I needed the money but that's very much in the rear view mirror now.
So it really disturbs me that what was first promoted as the dirt cheap winter sports alternative in my own youth now costs $400 per child minimum at 2018 retail. Before trail fees and travel expenses, no less. How on earth did that happen??
Most of the families that I sell this stuff to show up in 8-10 year old cars and they are so grateful that it's downright embarrassing. I've never sold a complete rig for more than $80 and I derive great satisfaction from the fact that the kid probably would not be skiing at all but for my little hobby, even more so when he has two little brothers or sisters to pass the stuff down to.