How to Glide Wax Cross-Country Skis

Just like kick wax, glide wax is selected based off of snow temperature, weather conditions and humidity…yes, I store my cheaper glide waxes all together in a ziploc bag. No judging from the wax tech’s out there!

We recommend a good waxless touring ski for beginning skiers but even if you invest in a waxless ski, the tips and the tails of that ski need regular maintenance. With regular maintenance and waxing ski’s become better and faster.

On Monday we talked about applying kick wax to grip the snow and allow us to get a good kick. Today’s blog post is all about applying glide wax to the tips and tails of classic skis to get a good glide. Glide wax is important because while the ski base may appear smooth, it isn’t! There are teeny tiny pores and imperfections that need to be filled in to allow the ski to glide effortlessly over the snow.

It’s relatively easy to apply glide wax to a pair of cross-country skis. We’re just going to cover the basic’s here.

Here are a few tips:

1) In junior high and high school I used an old iron without holes to wax my skis, then I used a travel iron and it was difficult to maintain a constant temperature.  I’ve even used a blow dryer to melt glide wax before. All of those worked, but from the start I wish I would have invested in a good wax iron and protected my bases.

2) A wax bench is great to have, you can also buy ski vices that mount to a table. When I was using cheap iron I also used clamps from a hardware store and it was just a nuisance.  If you can, it’s worth it to spend a bit of money on your initial waxing set-up, it will save a lot of time, effort and swearing.

3) Always start with a waxing session with clean bases. I like to apply a layer of warm wax and then scrape it off (and the dirt that the wax attracts) while the wax is still warm. Others prefer to clean the base with a few drops of base cleaner.

4) Most people like to drip on glide wax. I like to rub it on. Rubbing a wax on makes less of a drippy mess, ensures that all of your ski base is coated in wax before you run a warm iron over it, and saves wax. A harder wax (blue or green) is more difficult to rub than a softer wax, so I won’t judge if you drip a cold wax on.

5) I don’t like to leave my bases without a layer of glide wax. I typically keep them waxed and then scrape and brush them before I go skiing. If I’m leaving my skis for a long period of time, like the summer, I always label them with the wax I used so I know if they will need to be rewaxed based off the snow conditions before I ski on them.

6) Try to avoid getting glide wax in your kick zone. Glide wax and kick wax don’t mix!

A lot of skiers put a lot of time, money and effort into waxing skis. We’re not going to get into fancy grind patterns, super secret wax combinations, brushes, and high performance wax here. For most recreational skiers, a simple wax setup with simple waxes is more than adequate.

And stay tuned, later next week I’ll show you what to spend your Christmas money on, a basic wax kit.

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