Monday, January 14, 2013

XC Ski Wax tips for Tourists/ Training

New snow on the way, with and old, hard crystaline snow on the ground above 200m where there is still skiing to be had. Time for a wax in the non Brasilian sense.

The best tips for someone like me who wants to have a decent tour - to "smørebu" ratio are these: based on Swix range:

1) Clean off your skis from last year or last klister! 

To get clister off first take the skis into a warm room or better still upside down on a cable warmed floor. Or use a hair drier/ paitn stripper gun on low. Once warm scrape as much as you can then use the roll of synthetic cloth: lay on top a couple of layers and then use an old iron to heat off the klister ontop to cloth.This will take the stubborn crap off and then you can just use base cleaner and the roll to wipe down and take the rest. Do this end of season or whenever there is new snow and cold weather forecast! 

2) For a good base prep in the kick zone I tape off the edges and use Swix Green Base wax spray: this is a hard wax which will quite likely last a whole season up to stripping back for clister.It goes on easy and is smoothed out with the spatula and really seems as good as ironing on wax.

 Put the skis outside after you have an even layer, and after 10 mins , cork them down and reapply another layer. 

Green  Base Spray-On WaX  is also a killer good rust protector for screw heads and bald patches on car paint work. 

Then use a glider on the cleaned end sections outside the zone with the tapes moved inboard to the kick side. Roll on glider with flouride seems to be fine and helps for fast ice free skis without arseing about with melting wax.  ( Wet and dry sanding should be done I suppose on the skis each year before all this, and definietly when new)

You can leave your skis with this and glider on the glide zones over summer.

3) Principle of Layer (laminating) : Soft on Hard

When ready for use you can go by the rule of thumb on Warmer/softer wax on top of Colder/harder wax. To extend base layer life you can take either green solid or standard blue wax over the green base and cork on from hard wax whcih is at room temperature. Let the skis cool off outdoors before then taking the days coiver on.  

4) Do it all Top Wax ? 
I prefer Swix Lillac VR45 -6: +1 : it seems to cover a wide range of conditions right to the edge of clister conditions (which is like UHU for those who dont XC ski) However it does need reapplying on harder snow while on tour, and does maybe attract snow "clabbing!" in some conditions so Red or clister may be better. I must have a go with a VR flouride version of lillac, which is expensive but prevents "clabbing" . Lillac is a lot less messy than Red and so easier to put on in thin layers and I hardly ever use red now, going over to clister instead for hard or wet snow.

There is also a special V50 lillac which is nicer to apply than Swix Red and works lower than Red even though it is a very narrow range on the can: -2 /0 new snow, -1/ +1 on old. This was " a secret weapon" for snow melting and freezing around zero but probably you want a fluroide VR type for racing these days, or a set of smørefri or Zero skis for top performance.

5) For colder conditions as forecast, with old snow I would put another layer of green spray base on virgin skis with their two layers waiting for any top coats. For skis which have been out already, then I take several layers of blue from room temperature, cooling each time the night before while then applying wax kept inside the car once on site.

6) you can slap universal clister on top of wax and you can have a reserve in the groove of the ski : messy but it will keep you kicking if it gets mild or the spores bet icey hard. Just scrape off stuff and ice crystals underway and reapply or spread out from the groove.

7) for a long time of clister conditions forecast : you should clean the kick zone back to plastic by scraping and using roll and cleaner. Dry off in a warm room.

 Heat the clister tube in an oven at 50'C  if you dont have an old iron or dislike ironing the on. From the oven, it will be very runny so expect it to flow out  on the slightest pressure. Use the ski spatula to spread a thin layer on each side of the groove completely cover the kick zone. Cool off the skis and repeat. Clean off any excess on the edges of the skis or in the groove each time. Use then end straps or two ski straps each side of the kick zone / binding to hold the skis together so the clister doesnt stick to anything, whiole not compressing much of the "spenn" in the ski: 

8) Apply the clister of the day ( i just use universal for all this) using a slightly cooled tube of clister so it is easy to apply in small fish bone stipes. Smooth on with the too and take excess out of the groove and off the edges with the tool and roll if needs be. For very icey stuff oir longer tours,  let the first layer of this set in the cold and add a second layer. Scrape for gubbins under way and reapply very sparingling from the ends of the kick zone inwards when on tour,

9) Waxing Underway on Tour

 Remember than you cannot apply harder wax onto alot of softer wax left, but if it is hard conditions then a stripe of blue when you have worn down your top layers will help save the base layers you spent time at home on!  

For colder days or hard days when you need to reapply often, keep the day's top layer wax in a pocket which gets body heat. It makes it easier to get an even, thickish layer on, or a quick, even and thin layer.  in hard, -6 to +1 I just use lilac and as soon as I loose kick I stop and apply either two thin layers or more, or one big thick application to get me up a hill for example. Good excuse for a rest! 

As said above you can in principle put softer wax ontop harder stuff but  Swix RED does not site very well on the do-it-all  Swix Lillac: however if the lillac is worn off then red can go on and preferably onto a new application of blue.

10) Clister for Long Uphills and Melting/Freezing conditions: As above also, you can slap clister onto wax actually: messy but it will keep you going at easter time especically, when it goes wet or icey hard. Also you can use clister for long uphills of course : if you have a tour uphill a hut or the end of day is up to the car, then you can clister up the whole ski instead of using a skin as a "felle" : just be prepared to have a mess in the car and a lot of cleaning and reapplying of glider and wax layer. If the tour next day from the hut is mostly down hill then you can just leave it on and it will help you brake down hill!

11) End of season and storage: Back to square one, I lilke to prep up with green base wax. At the start of the season I also have a cheap pair of jumble sale skis which I leave tied up with base clister layers so I can avoid dewaxing the usual skis for days which will be rubbish anyway on ice or slush! 

Damage on the ski surface should be sanded out I guess for small stuff and "hairs" but bigger scores or worse should be taken to a  decent shop  or experty pal for advice. Damage  revealling the wood core is most serious and should maybe ne sealed up somehow temproarlity/ over summer before pixing.

NEVER leave a pair of skis compresses with a ski strap for any legnth of time: it is best to either have then loose or bound on each end, and the two new types of ski ties do this: the sponsor pro type holds the skis parallel, and then the stretch on end type you use on each end with a pad of neoprene in them.

Appendix on Other Stuff:

11) Old Waxless skis:  the scale pattern on waxless skis wear out eventualy . However this does not mean the ski is dead. You can have a pair then with a base of hard Green to protect them as above and even out a little of the old fish scales, and then use then as clister skis or a spare pair. You could also leave a set of skins (feller) on them , see below:

12) Feller / Skins: These are actually a very good idea to have with you for touring and for hard conditions. At end of the short season 2012 here, the trouble was lack of snow and quite cold conditions making for just hard packed ice. One spritely 50 year old girl was winging her way round "drivheie" on skins at a good pace : she did two rounds wiith all the spore being hard as steel and had good kick all the way uphill. I guess you can use "zero ski" flouride appl,kications to stop snow gathering on them in wetter or fluffy conditions. 

Skins brake you a lot down hill making for a juddery descent sometimes in plough, but do help for beginners too if the tour is just fish-boning up hill and ploughing down with few flat sectioins.

I don't know how they help or hinder telemark turning : I guess actually they make it easier on ice and maybe help you brake a little on steeper, soft or off piste hills on tour skis ?

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