Getting comfortable with waxing will have an extraordinary impact on a skier’s development. A good approach takes waxing seriously both before and after skiing.
Good waxing technique starts before you get on the snow.
Posted practice information includes which Nordic skiing technique we will be practicing – skate or classic. Because the forecast temperature influences both the choice of technique and the recommended wax, we aim to post updates one to two days prior to each practice. We encourage skiers to check regularly for updates, especially on the day prior to practice. Knowing what technique is planned is the essential first step in arriving to practice with your skis correctly prepared—as some preparations cannot be done last minute.
When the technique is classic, we ask that skiers arrive to practice about 20-30 minutes early. Before you arrive, the “kick zone” area under the foot and binding should be cleaned, sanded and marked. When you arrive at a classic practice, please come to the area around the waxing tent. Some of the “wax experts” will determine the correct stick or klister wax for the day, and a team of wax volunteers will apply the stick or klister wax for you. Any parent that is not coaching is encouraged to help with the classic waxing. Please jump in and learn how!
Don’t wait until you arrive at a classic practice to remove old classic wax. We need to have this time to get the new wax on as fast as possible and get the skiers out on the snow.
Skate practices require no extra “homework” beyond what is described below for “Glide waxing”.
The approach to waxing depends entirely on the technique we’re teaching.
For skate practices, skis should be fully waxed with glide wax from tip to tail. For classic practices, the “kick zone” should be cleaned and sanded, and glide wax applied to the remainder of the ski. The wax team will apply the kick wax or klister. After practice, you will need to clean off the kick wax or klister. The location of the kick-zone depends on the skier’s weight in conjunction with the flex of the ski and should be marked when you get your skis or with the help of a coach.
Glide wax is, as its name implies, for gliding. For skate skiing, glide wax is applied to the whole ski. For classic skiing, glide wax is applied to the tips and the tails of the skis, i.e. the area outside of the kick-zone. There is no need to change glide waxes for every practice. EMBK encourages skiers (or their parents) to maintain their skis according to the following recommendations:
- For most Weston conditions, one type of glide wax will be fine for club practices (Toko or Swix Universal White Wax). As a rule of thumb, you might redo your glide wax every six practices, or after a few weeks.
- For the few club races, parents/kids may opt to applying more temperature specific waxes. However, please note that the choice of wax is based on snow temperature, which for early morning races is often a little colder than the air temperature. Fear not. For these races, the club will usually publish specific glide waxing recommendations a night or two before the race.
For classic skiing, stick or klister waxing is applied to the “kick zone” underneath the foot. Its purpose is to grip the snow so that the skier can push off into a glide. The wax team will apply the stick wax or klister on classic practice days. Be sure to arrive early at practice with your skis prepared with a clean, sanded kick-zone (see above and below).
Good wax technique ends after you’ve left the snow.
The following should be done at home or after club practices in the waxing tent. In the tent there is a red box with all the necessary tools to wax and clean your skis. Please see someone on the wax team at practice to get the combination so that you can use the equipment when it’s convenient.:
- Glide wax the skis. (Skate skis: the whole ski. Classic skis: tips and tails. Combi skis: wax according to the planned technique)
- Clean the kick zone to remove the used classic wax from the classic practice that just ended. (Classic or combi skis). We suggest doing this as soon as you can after a classic practice so there is not a last minute rush to prepare for the next practice.
- Sand the kick zone with 120 to 150 grit sand paper to lightly roughen up the kick-zone so the stick or klister wax can adhere better.
A small investment in waxing gear will maximize your child’s time on the snow. By arriving at the ski track with skis prepped and waxed, your child will have less waiting in line, and the freedom to get out on the snow outside of structured club practice times. Families planning to wax at home will want to have:
- Waxing iron, this is the wax iron we recommend if you plan to wax in a cold environment. The handle and knob can be used when you are wearing a heavy glove. There are less expensive irons available, but they do not work well in the cold. Clothing irons do not work well because the temperature fluctuates too much and you can potentially burn the wax and or ski base.
- Glide wax, any non-flouro Toko or Swix Universal Wax
- Toko Base Green Gripwax, the man made snow presents us with unique snow. We will often just use Toko Base Green Gripwax on the man made loop. If there is new snow then we will have to mix in or use the other color Toko Gripwaxes.
- Rex 2901 Liquid Base Klister, if you want to simplify things before coming to practice. You can use this as a base for either regular kick wax or klister.
- Wax scraper
- Groove scraper
- Nylon brush
- Synthetic cork for kick wax
- Paper towels
- Wax remover (e.g. Goo Gone)
- Painter’s masking tape
- Sandpaper (medium, 120 grit)
The below will come in handy, too, when you get serious about waxing:
- Something to hold the skis
- Ski Vise, these are great for first timers and families with small children. The parts that support the tips and tail can be made to hold skis as short as 80cm. They can clamp on to any work bench or counter top.
- Wax bench and ski profile, this is great to have if you have the space and if you want to wax on site at the BKL Festivals. But shorter skis for smaller kids are hard to mount to the bench. It is the most costly option.
- Ski Profile, if you have a workbench at home and want more support than what the ski vise will offer. But like the wax bench and ski profile it’s difficult to do shorter skis. If you have access to a wood working tools, here are plans to build up your own ski profile. This was designed with shorter skis in mind. Click here for the PDF.
- Klister Paddle, you can use a thin metal putty knife as well. But take care not to gouge the base when you use it.
- Copper or bronze brush
- Nylon Polishing brush, does a better polishing job than the basic nylon brush.
- Horse hair brush, to be used with colder waxes if you are using temperature specific waxes.
- Heat gun
The best way to learn waxing technique is to watch.
The club has produced a (very) home-made video introduction to XC ski waxing for new parents. This demonstrates the basics of what to do and complements the presentations made by the Wax Team to new parents and the article below. The video is now available in seven parts on YouTube, thanks to former EMBK coach Bob Haydock.
- Waxing basics
- Making a wax bench
- Applying glide wax
- Scraping glide wax
- Applying klister, updated video
- Taking off klister, updated video
- Applying kick wax, updated video
- Taking off kick wax, updated video
Helpful links for new and returning members:
- This great video from Swix’s waxing school is useful for both beginners and advanced skiers