Cross Country Ski Waxing Basics

Cross Country Ski Waxing Basics
There are dozens of waxes for cross country ski bases and these can be divided into two main categories, kick wax and glide wax. Kick wax, a mix of paraffin and resin, is the main kind of wax you need to worry about. The hardness of wax you use depends on what the temperature and weather conditions.Though the art of ski waxing is a complicated science to some, these basics will cover the basics for those who just want to spend less time waxing and get out on the snow.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Cork block
  • Plasic scraper
  • Two to three waxes
Step 1
Determine what temperature-specific wax you need to use on your ski bases. In general the more paraffin in a wax, the harder it is and the colder the snow it can be used for. The more resin a wax has the softer and stickier it will be;softer wax can be used on warmer, older snow. There are tons of different kick waxes but luckily they can be defined by a general color code; cooler colors like green and blue being are for colder temperatures and red is for warmer temps and softer snow. Harder waxes will give you more glide and softer ones more kick.
Step 2
Use a harder wax before a softer one if you are unsure of which you will need. It is easier to layer a soft wax over a hard compared to putting a hard wax over a soft wax. So start with a wax on the hard side and if you aren't getting enough stick, then layer on a softer wax. Most people carry at least one hard wax and one soft, but depending on the season and your location, take with you what seems best. If you are going out in February in Northern New Hampshire for example, you may want to have a super hard wax (green) with you that is good in temperatures around 5 F.
Step 3
Apply the wax in the wax pocket of the ski. This extends (on the ski base) from about 10 inches in front of the binding and a few inches behind it. The quickest way to do this is to simply take the stick of wax and rub it on the entire area of the wax pocket and then use a block of cork to rub the wax. This heats the wax up, evens it out and allows it to adhere to the bottom of your ski better.
Step 4
Use the plastic scraper if you find you have used too soft a wax and the snow is clumping up on the bottom of the skis. Sometimes you can scrape it off with the edge of the other ski, you must simply start over and scrape it off clean with a scraper. Hold the ski down with the base facing up and use both hands to scrape off the layer of soft wax. It should furl off in waxy curls. Using a plastic scraper is not as fast as a metal one, but safer as these are less likely to cut into the base of your ski and cause damage.

Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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