Last spring I followed my own advice and coated my skis with a storage wax for the summer. Time to get that off and prepare them for the season. If you purchased new skis you should check out this article on Base Preparation from a previous season.
First I'll get my work bench is ready so I have an organized work area for skis.
Next I'll take stock of my waxing supplies. Usually I check what's in the wax box before putting it away in the spring. I'll purchase anything I know I'll need at the beginning of the next season and can often find good sale prices. But if there is anything in short supply that I know I'll be needing this winter now is the time to stock up.
Once the bench is ready I'll follow these simple steps which apply to skating skis and the glide zones of classic skis.
- First set up your waxing bench. If you don't have one just click on the "Shop on Line" link at the top of this page order one from Ernie.
- Clean the dust and dirt off your skis. If you kept them nicely stored in a ski bag they should be fairly clean. If not then use a rag to wipe them down and make them pretty.
- Scrape the storage wax off the base with a plastic scraper. Try to get as much off as possible but don't overdo the process.
- Melt on a layer of soft hydrocarbon wax like Toko System 3 Yellow or Base Prep Grey or Swix CH10 Yellow or Base Prep Glider. Iron the wax until it is all liquid and covers the base of the ski. These waxes melt at a low temperature so don't set your iron too hot! Then allow the wax to cool briefly.
- Once the wax has cooled to a solid (this should take only a minute or so) scrape off all the wax. This hot wax cleaning is perfect for getting the last of the summer storage wax off your skis and helps remove any dirt that might have accumulated on the base. Scrape carefully to remove all the wax.
- Brush the skis with a nylon brush to remove the rest of the wax. I follow up the nylon brush with a horse hair or fine nylon brush. These finer brushes get the last of the soft wax off the base.
- Next select a wax for the conditions you will be skiing in. If you are unsure then choose a soft to mid range wax. Iron in the wax, let the skis cool for at least 30-45 minutes or until the bases are room temperature. Then scrape and brush again.
- Finally iron in another layer of the predicted wax of the day. If you are not skiing that day or the next leave the last layer on the skis. I usually scrape and brush the evening before skiing.
I like to start the ski season using softer waxes. These penetrate the base quicker and form a good foundation for the rest of the season. As colder temps come I will work on hardening bases for better glide in cold abrasive snow. I'll try to cover that topic later in the year.
The steps listed above should result in nice clean bases that are ready for a season of skiing. A few more things should be done to the kick zone of your classic skis.
- Remove the grip wax you put on for storage. Use a scraper to get as much off as possible then consider using wax remover. This will get all the dirty wax off the base.
- Let the wax remover completely dry. This may take some time. In fact I'll often let me skis dry over night to make sure all the solvent is out of the base. If there is any stickiness or a greasy feeling to the kick zone they need to be cleaned again.
- Once the kick zones are clean and dry apply a couple of layers of cold wax in the brand of your choice. Put on a thin layer and cork it in. Do this two or three times to provide a good base for the wax of the day when you ski. Any of the warmer waxes should stick well to this base layer and your ski base will remain protected.
Now let's hope the weather forecast holds true. Let winter begin!