How to wax cross country skate skis…the basics

How to wax cross country skate skis…the basics

Okay, so everyone knows that you SHOULD wax cross country skate skis but how many people do? We get a lot of people coming in to get their skis waxed by us, which is an easy way to do it, but if you want to learn how to do it yourself, the rewards are endless!

We always recommend taking a wax clinic with an expert; reading about how it’s done is no substitute for seeing it in action. We have waxing clinics on January 7 and February 24 from 7-9pm with our expert, Bob Putnam which you can call us at 604.987.2202 to register for. For those who can’t make it, or just want a bit of a taste before committing – here is our guide to waxing your cross country skate skis. We’ll do another on classic skis as that involves a lot more technical detail! You can also check out the Swix School website too for great instructional videos.

Why do you wax?

The base of all cross country skis are made from materials designed to repel water. Over time, they lose that ability – in order to maintain the base of the skis and to increase the efficiency of the skis water repellency it is essential to wax them. If you ever see the bases of your skis looking slightly white the base has oxidised, and no amount of waxing can return it. To prevent that, make sure you wax your skis at least every 4-5 times you ski.

Necessary equipment (all of which you can get from Deep Cove Outdoors!!)

  • Waxing table (to support skis properly)
  • Iron
  • Wax (which wax will be dependent on conditions and type of skis – another post to follow on which wax to choose)
  • Groove/pencil scraper
  • Ski Scraper
  • Brushes (minimum two – one medium and one fine)

We offer a discounted wax package of gear for $136 – check it out online or in store.

Waxing

Skate skis are easier to wax than classic skis because they don’t have a grip zone under the boot. It’s all smooth waxing from tip to toe. Make sure you have clean skis – if they are dirty clean them off with citrus cleaner before waxing.

Bulk hard waxes for cross country skiingHeat your iron to the desired temperature – a digital iron will allow you to set the temperature exactly to what the wax requires – and drizzle a small stream of wax onto the ski on one side of the groove, from tip to toe and back again on the other side, by holding the wax against the base of the iron. Move quickly but smoothly to ensure even distribution.

Wax table and profiles for cross country skisDigital iron for cross country ski waxing Iron the wax onto the ski to cover the base, again moving from tip to toe. ALWAYS work from tip to toe. Wax will fill the groove too, don’t be concerned about that. Move quickly but evenly, holding the iron flat against the ski. There should be a wet patch of wax behind the iron approximately 2” long as you go, but be careful at the ends of the skis where they are thinnest as the material can warp or burn here if you hold the iron on too long.

Let the wax cool completely, and then iron the wax again. Let the wax cool again. Use a groove or pencil scraper to scrape the groove. Move from tip to toe and press firmly but not too hard, if you slip you can damage the ski. Make sure all the wax is removed before proceeding.

the correct way to angle a ski scraperUse a ski scraper held across the ski at an angle approximately 45° towards the back of the ski. Again, press firmly but not too hard – you are only scraping away the soft wax, not the base of the ski! Use long, smooth strokes to ensure even scraping and keep the scraper equally pressing across the width of the ski.

Swix combi brush for cross country ski waxingOnce as much of the wax has been scraped off as possible it’s time to bring out the brushes. First a medium stiff brush, a bronze brush is a great go to. The brush also melts the wax into the skis, and the tiny bristles work the wax into the ski to a greater degree. Brush 8-10 strokes along the ski, doing each part as much as your arm can reach. Once you’ve done both skis, change to one with a fine finish like a nylon brush and do the same. The finer brush will work the wax further into the ski.

And…you’re done. Just wipe off any curls of wax and you’re ready to go. Until the next time.

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