Ski Tech Notes: Waxing 101
Who needs to use glide wax?
Any one who wants their skis to glide smoother with less drag.
What types of glide wax are there?
There are universal glide waxes that you can just rub on your skis, and there are waxes that you need to iron on your skis.
Which glide waxes are the best?
The most durable glide waxes are the kind that you iron in. Depending on the type of ski you have and the kind of skiing you are doing, will help you decide which wax is best for you. Glide waxes that are more specific to a given temperature, give you better performance. If you match the wax to the snow conditions, you will have the best glide.
In this article I’m only going to talk about how to apply iron on glide waxes.
#1 Heat iron to a temperature that melts the wax, make sure that the wax is not smoking. If it is smoking off the iron, you have the iron to hot.
#2 Touch the wax to the iron them chalk the wax on the ski. This does two things, it makes the wax softer so it can be chalked on and it insures a smooth base of wax on the ski before we apply the iron to the ski. Repeat chalking the ski from tip to tail until you have done the whole ski. If waxing a classic ski, do not put glide wax in the kick zone.
#3 When the whole surface is covered from tip to tail with wax then melt the wax on the ski with your iron. Do NOT stay in one place to long. Move the iron from tip to tail in one motion. If a spot doesn’t melt, go back over it so that it does melt. Always be careful of the temperature of the iron, so that you don’t burn your bases.
#4 Set that ski aside to cool and do steps 1-3 on the second ski.
#5 After doing ski #2 get ski #1 back; it should have cooled for about 5-10 minutes. (Some experts recommend 15-20 minutes cool time) Use your plastic scraper across your ski at a 45-degree angle scrape the ski from tip to tail. Be careful not to gouge the base of you skis. Clean the center Groove or grooves out with the round corner of your plastic scraper or use your fingernail. Always work tip to tail.
#6 Use your new Swix nylon brush. Brush the ski, tip to tail with medium strokes. The ski should look smooth and shinny.
#7 With new Skis repeat steps 1 through 5, 3-4 times more. (The more you wax scrap and brush your skis the faster they will be, some people will wax them 30-40 times before skiing them.) I say ski more wax less, unless you are racing. The goal is to have lots of thin layer melted into the base of the ski. The Ski should look smooth and shinny, no blotches of wax.
This is the very simply basics. Waxing can be more complicated if you want it to be. As you get into skiing more you will find that the more expensive waxes can improve your glide tremendously at certain snow temperatures and humedity. How you apply them can make a big difference in the amount of glide that you get. The more glide you have the more fun you have.
Other things that help improve glide:
1. Put the right structure in the base of your ski before you wax the ski.
2. Use the right wax for the temperature and humidity level that you will be skiing in.
Robin’s kick waxing 101
Kick wax is for classic waxable ski. If you have waxless ski you do not need kick wax. You have a pattern in the center section of your skis that helps you climb the hills.
Kick wax is what helps you more forward. Kick wax must match the temperature of the snow. (Not the air temperature) You are skiing on the snow not the air. A good snow thermometer can be a big help.
The best way to find out what wax you should use is to read the temperature on your kick waxes.
How to apply kick wax:
Crayon the wax into the kick zone.
Cork the wax in.
Make sure that each layer is almost invisible.
When you cork it in it should look smooth
Then do more layers. Lots of thin layer is better than one or two thick layers. This will improve kick and glide.