Nordic Waxing

 

Fast Skis and Skiing

As the ski season approaches, we receive questions about how to wax skis and what is the proper waxing technique. Remember, waxing skis can be as much art as science and is constantly changing with time and new technologies. So, before we start waxing let’s look at what makes for fast skis and fast skiing.

  1. Checking Questions

    How’s the training going, Skiing is a technique driven sport, having good technique and being able to ride a flat ski are keys to fast skiing…it’s never too late to sign up for some ski lessons or to join a training group.
  2. Do your Skis and Boots fit correctly?

    Skis and boots that do not fit correctly will make skiing difficult. Purchase the best fitting boots first and then the bindings and skis.
  3. Base Condition

    How’s the base condition, now is the time to check your ski bases for possible repair. Look for gouges and glazed spots as these are areas that may need repair.
  4. Waxing Technique

    As in good skiing, waxing takes practice — some lessons may be helpful. Take the time to attend a waxing clinic at your local shop or stop by for some pointers. If you answered "yes" to everything, we are ready to wax skis.

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Waxing Instructions Basic / Recreational

Here are some helpful tips on waxing skis for training and recreational skiing.

  1. Always work the ski from the tip to the tail. (never in the reverse direction).
  2. Brush out the ski base with the Fast Wax Super Fine SS Brush
  3. Melt wax for the current conditions onto the ski base and iron in from tip to tail
  4. Allow the ski to cool for about 1/2 hour or until the ski is cool to the touch
  5. Scrape with a plastic scraper
  6. Brush out with the Fast Wax Superfine SS Brush 2 to 3 passes
  7. Follow with the Fast Wax Horsehair Brush
  8. Polish with the Fast Wax Nylon Brush
  9. Ready to ski

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Race Waxing

  1. Open the Skis Base

    Brush the ski base from tip to tail with the Fast Super Fine Stainless Steel Brush. This will open the ski base clean out the old wax and dirt and allow better penetration of the new wax.
  2. Remove Base Hairs

    Brush the ski from tip to tail using a White Scotchbrite Pad wrapped over a Speed Block or a flat cork. This is to keep Scotchbrite pad flat and prevent it from rounding of the ski edges. Next, use a razor tool held at a 90° angle to the ski and lightly scrape the ski several times to remove the fine base hairs. Check the razor blade after each pass and repeat until no gray fillings are left on the razor.
  3. Hot Wax Process

    Using a digital ski waxing iron, drip a generous amount of Fluoro Base Prep wax onto the ski base and iron in from tip to tail. The wax will act as an insulator, a generous layer helps keep the iron off the ski base, use about one drip every 1/2 inch, more if you are inexperienced. When ironing in the wax, draw the iron down the ski holding a molten bead of wax about 2 to 3 inches behind the iron, and always keep the iron moving. Make a second pass at a little higher speed than the first pass this can pick up any places that are missed.
  4. Scraping

    Scrape the groove with a groove tool and clean off the edges while the ski is still warm. Then let the ski cool slowly to room temperature before scraping the base. Scrape the wax off using short easy strokes, again working from tip to tail until all wax is removed. Use a sharp scraper and keep it sharp. A scraper sharpener makes it easy to have a sharp scraper, just give the scraper a few passes over the sharpener each time before scraping.
  5. Brushing

    Use the Fast Wax super fine SS brush as the first brush after scraping. Start with 2 to 3 passes with the Super Fine SS brush followed by 3 to 5 passes with the Fast Wax horsehair brush. Follow this with the Nylon polishing brush for final shine.
  6. Wax System

    The Fast Wax system is to layer up the ski with wax starting with Base Prep and go to an under layer of the Fluoro Base wax followed by Low Fluoro or High Fluoro waxes depending on conditions. The layering of the wax conditions the ski base to match the snow conditions.
  7. Flite Speed Additive

    For maximum speed top coat with one of the Flite 100% Fluoro speed additive
  8. Structure the ski base as necessary (see structure recommendations)

    Race Wax Example

    • 1 to 2 Layers Fluoro Base Prep
    • 1 Layer of HSLF-10 Teal
    • 2 Layers of HSF-10 Green
    • Flite Cold ironed in using the Fast Wax Base Saver
    • Structure Fine Linear Cold Weather Grind

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Flite Application using the Fast Wax Base Saver

The Fast Wax Base Saver is used under the iron  when applying Flite Fluoro top coats to prevent iron burn, it also results in a faster more durable application.

Here's how it works.

The soft Teflon surface backed by the cushioning pad presses the Fluoro top  coats into the ski structure using  high pressure and lower heat for  faster  more durable application. Very new and unique process.

  1. Make sure the ski base is complete brushed out before starting and your iron surface is clean.
  2. applying powder Apply the Fast Wax Flite Fluoro top coat to the ski, either sprinkle the powder on the ski or rub the block on the ski base to get an even application of the wax.
  3. flite corked in Lightly cork in the Flite with the Speed Block (ski surface should be evenly coated and a light gray color) Tip: It is easier to add several light layer and cork in each layer rather than working with one heavy layer.
  4. flite apline basesaver Place the Base Saver on the ski (Teflon, tan shiny side down).
  5. flite alpine iron on ski Place the iron on the Base Saver, using a moderate iron temperature of 260°F to 275°F or 126°C to 135°C.
  6. Absolute Key Step. Place both hands on the iron and press down hard on the iron (about  the same pressure used for structuring a ski).
  7. In one pass, move the iron in a slow steady speed down the ski and watch to make sure the top coat is pressed into the ski base. Hold the back side of the Base Saver against the iron to keep it in place under the iron.
  8. Cork in the extra Fluoro top coat from the stability grooves
  9. Let the ski cool for 1/2 hour, then brush out the ski with Fast Wax Horsehair Brush.
  10. Be amazed at how little wax is removed from the ski base and how fast your skis are.

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Race Pro Fluoro Top Coat Application

 The preferred application method for added speed and durability is to iron Race Pro in using the Fast Wax Base Saver. For short races (5K) an alternate method is the Rub-on and Buff out with the Fast Wax Speed Block.

Both processes are very effective with excellent speed

 

1. Rub on using the enclosed applicator, apply a smooth thin layerrace pro app

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Place the Base Saver on the ski with the Teflon side down (dark side down -  white side up) Base Saver on Ski

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Place the iron on the ski - temperature settings are listed Iron on Ski
    Race Pro Warm 130 C or 260 F
    Race Pro Cold  130 C or 260 F
    Race Pro Arctic 130 Cor 260 F

4. One time down the ski with a smooth steady motion
     Press down on the iron as if you were structuring the ski.

5. Allow the ski to cool to room temperature

 

 

 

 

6. Brush out with a Nylon or Stainless Steel Brush Race Pro Brush

7. Polish with a Horse Hair Brush

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rub on and Brush out Process

1. Rub on using the enclosed applicator, apply a smooth thin layer race pro app

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

racepro speed block2. Allow the wax to set up for about 5 minutes and buff in with a Speed Block
    Work the Speedblock back and forth with speed and down pressure to buff the wax
    into the ski stop when the ski is shinny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Brush out with a Horse Hair Brushrace pro hh brush

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ski Structure and Stone Grinds

Structure Background

Just as one wax will not work for all conditions neither will one base structure work for all conditions. Base structure is the pattern on the bottom of the ski used to manage the moisture under the ski improving glide. This section will cover the options and instructions for adding and removing ski structure patterns.

Too much structure in fine-grained cold snow will result in excessive drag referred to as dry friction. Too little structure in wet snow will result in drag from wet friction caused by suction.

Managing the balance between dry and wet friction along with ski flex are 2 of the more difficult items to understand in the ski the ski waxing process.

Here are some examples of popular of popular structure patterns.

fine linear

Example of Fine Linear Grind for Cold Fine Grained Snow

broken pattern

Example of 0.3 mm Broken Pattern very popular for artificial snow and temperatures just below freezing

Pattern

Example of 0.75 mm Broken Pattern, very universal pattern for humid snow.

1 mm Broken Pattern

Example of 1mm broken pattern for sloppy wet snow.
 

There are 2 approaches to adding structure to the ski bases. If you have several pairs of skis you can stone grind different patterns in the skis and select skis based on the structure. The problem here is this approach will limit your ski selection at the the race site. Secondly, even with this approach it is very popular to fine tune you skis at the race site with a structure tool.

Structure Tools

There are several structure tools on the market most are plastic single or dual roller. Fast Wax indorses the tools developed by Aceco Sports Group out of Boise ID. These are the machined high quality tools used by the Elite Skiers and World Cup Teams.

Ski Structuring

  1. Ski structuring is very operator selective and takes practice. The key variables are the tool down pressure, number of passes and the sequence of the structure rollers.
  2. Structuring is the last step in the waxing sequence and can be done at the race site. Many elite skiers will structure a back up pair of skis as a test pair. Then when they have the structure optimized they will structure the race skis.
  3. Applying the structure is really quite straight forward. Place both hands on the tool as pictured. Press down with both hands per desired pressure and roll the tool down the ski.
  4. Determine the number of passes or if changing rollers and using multi rollers. Example: Some waxing technicians will use multiple passes with a a 0.3 mm tool versus a single pass with a 0.5 mm tool, or use both in sequence changing between a 0.3 mm and a 0.5mm roller.
  5. Final step is one pass with the smoothing roller to take any burs out of the ski. This can also be used to detune the structure.
  6. To remove the added structure iron in and warm scrape your skis once or twice after the race using Fast Wax Base Prep.

smooth roller structure tool down pressure

 

Stone grinding and structure suggestions

  1. Polish the base for cold conditions and be sure to keep the ski surface very smooth. Fine Linear Grind or 0.2 mm structure.
  2. For intermediate conditions, 15 F to 25 F, Universal or Universal Plus Grind and / or 0.4 mm linear grind.
  3. For conditions just below freezing Universal Plus Grind and / or broken pattern of 0.30 mm to 0.75 mm.
  4. Above 35 F, begin with a 0.5mm broken pattern, and increase the size of the structure as the temperature increases.

If you plan on having your skis stone ground, be sure to seek out a shop that specializes in stone grinding.

Manny of the top racers today custom grind their skis for peak performance then use a structure tool to fine tune the ski bases at the race.

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Binding Placement

The bindings on most skate skis are mounted on the balance point or between 0.5 cm and 1 cm behind the balance point. This may be fine for most skis but for some this location is not on the “sweet spot”. If this is the case you may experience poor performance where the skis just don’t feel right, they may plow when climbing, or the tips may grab on the V2 stride.

The skis may be improved by relocating the bindings. Although ski flex and binding placement vary from one manufacture to another; the key measurement appears to be the relationship between the binding clip, contact point, and distance from tip to tail. Specifically, the ratio to determine binding placement is the distance from the binding clip to the contact point to the back of the ski and the distance from the binding clip to the front of the ski. Ideally this ratio should be 2/1 with the rear contact point at or just under your heal when you transfer your weight to the heal of one foot.

If the measurement does not meet these criteria move the binding back on the ski 1 cm to 2 cm. Then re-measure the ski contact points to see how ratio and measurements change. You may also want to remove the bindings from the skis and confirm the original binding location as a reference point before making any changes. For most skis final binding location seems to work out best between 1.5 cm and 2 cm back of the balance point. However, in some cases the bindings was move as far as 3 cm and even 4 cm back of the balance point.

Once the change in binding location has been made you should experience a significant change in performance. Where the “wedge” is a subtle change and really only noticeable on climbs; the binding change will show a significant improvement on the flatter sections of trail. Slight changes in binding location can impact the overall feel of a pair of skis that previously just didn't feel right.

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Special Conditions

Here are some special conditions to double-check your waxing set up and adjust accordingly for peak performance.

Cold clear still night: The snow crystal will be colder and sharper than normal. Wax for colder than expected conditions.

Cold night and north wind: Expect low humidity and cold snow. Wax for colder than expected conditions

Overcast: The snow will be closer to the air temperature and more humid. Wax for warmer conditions with higher humidity add more structure. Fluoro waxes work well

Flite Warm is a must.

Race in the Woods: The snow will stay cold and have sharper crystals, wax for colder conditions.

Wet New Snow: Use Fluoro waxes, wax for warmer than expected temperatures, use lots of structure.

Fine Dry New Snow: Wax for colder than expected conditions and temperatures.

Low areas near open water: Colder and more humid than expected.

Old Dirty Snow: Use Fluoro waxes and add structure.

Cold race start below freezing and warming conditions above freezing Do not be fooled at the start, here skis without structure will feel fast at the start and slow dramatically as the temperatures warm. Add structure here at the start and wax more for the finish temperature. back to menu

 

Waxing for Artificial Snow

Waxing for Artificial Snow

Artificial snow has a different makeup than natural snow and requires a slightly different approach to waxing. Artificial snow is a solid triangular block of ice and tends to be more abrasive than natural snow. Artificial snow can also vary from a fine new blown snow crystal to large abrasive transformed “icy” snow crystal.
In either case the Artificial snow is more abrasive than natural snow.

Ski Flex and Structure
The ski flex and structure for artificial snow are the most difficult to predict and are dependent on the grooming, and the  amount of traffic on the trail (generally high). You will need to test ski flex and structure at the site for optimal performance.

For most conditions Fast Wax recommends a moderate ski flex with a little more structure than normal. A universal grind works well or for more humid conditions use the Finite Structure Tool Right-Left Swivel pattern or a  light 0.3 mm broken pattern either will work.

Glide Wax
Fast Wax  recommends using a glide wax one temperature range colder than indicated for the conditions. It is advisable to wax more frequently as artificial snow tends to wear the wax and bases faster than normal.

A good combination is a harder base layer than the top layer here is an example for 20 F conditions:
Base Layer 1 to 2 layers HS 10 Teal
Top Layer HSLF 20 Blue

Grip Wax
Grip wax will vary a little more depending on the how transitioned the snow is and how often the trail is groomed. With new blown snow most hard waxes will work well with an ironed in binder.
When the snow has transitioned, iron in a klister binder and add a  multigrade or universal klister as the grip wax.

Here are some recommended options:

Iron in Rode Black Binder or Rex Power Grip Blue and top coat with Rode Multigrade grip wax

For transitioned snow, Iron in a Blue Klister and top coat with Rode Mulitgrade Klister.
(The multigrade Klister should be applied almost as long as a normal wax
pocket, generally about 1 inch shorter than normal front and back)

For icy conditions use a Blue Klister binder and top coat with Rex OV ice klister.
(In this type of condition use the normal klister pocket on the ski, shorten up  on both the front and back by 2 to 3 inches of the kick zone)

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Classic Waxing

Here are some helpful instructions on waxing the grip zone of classic skis.

As in Glide Waxing, following the details of kick waxing will not only lead to a ski with excellent grip, the ski will also be a very smooth and fast. The first step in grip waxing is the most important -- making sure the skis fit correctly and the wax pocket is measured and marked. If you are not sure of the fit, take the skis to your ski shop for a fit check

      1. For most skis the wax pocket should start right at or slightly in front of your heal, and go forward for about 60 to 65 cm depending on the ski length and flex. If you are new to skiing go with a softer flex ski.
      2. Tape ExampleMeasure, mark and double check the wax pocket of the ski. When grip waxing it is helpful to place a piece of tape over the bottom of the ski on the front and back of the wax pocket to help identify the wax boundaries.
      3. After the wax pocket is marked, sand the area with 80 grit sand paper. Wrap the sand paper around a flat surface to keep the ski base flat
      4. VERY IMPORTANT: Crayon on the binder using short strokes and add the binder in thin even layers starting on the out side edge of the ski and working toward the center. If the layers are thick it will be very difficult to smooth out the wax.
      5. Iron in the binder with a rotating iron motion of the iron to spread the binder out evenly across the ski. Cork in while still warm to get a smooth surface.
      6. Let the ski cool to room temperature before adding the kick wax.
      7. Apply several thin layers of grip wax, and cork in between layers, keep the layers smooth and thin -- work the ski from the outside to the center.
      8. Remove the marking tape from the ski and feather in the edges
      9. Grip Wax Smoothing WHEN COMPLETED THE KICK WAX SHOULD BE JUST AS SMOOTH AS THE GLIDE WAX

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Paste Waxing with Slick Pro

Slick Pro gives the performance of a Hot Melt wax in ease of a Paste Wax.

      1. Rub on Slick Pro using the enclosed foam applicator
      2. Let dry for 3 to 5 minutes
      3. Buff in with the Speed Block
      4. Brush out with a horse hair brush and Ski
      5. For added durability repeat 1 to 4 for a second coat
      • Slick Pro is a great wax to have on hand at the race site when weather and snow conditions are changing
      • Skis can easily be re-wax in minutes.
      • Saves time when traveling
      • Is a great training wax during the week.
      • Great for families with multiple skiers --Change the wax on every one's skis in just a few minutes

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Waxing for New and Stone Ground Skis

      1. Open the Skis Base

        After scraping off the storage wax, aggressively brush the ski base from tip to tail with the Fast Wax Superfine SS Brush. This will open the ski base allow better penetration of the new wax.
      2. Remove Base Hairs

        (Optional) Brush the ski from tip to tail using a White Scotchbrite Pad wrapped over a Speed Block or a flat cork. This is to keep Scotchbrite pad flat and prevent it rounding off the ski edges. Next, use a razor tool held at a 90° angle to the ski and lightly scrape the ski several times to remove the fine base hairs. Check the razor blade edge after each pass and repeat until no gray fillings are left on the razor.
      3. Hot Wax Process

        Using a digital ski waxing iron, drip a generous amount of Base Prep wax onto the ski base and iron in from tip to tail. The wax will act as an insulator, a generous layer helps keep the iron off the skis base, use about one drip every 1/2 inch, more if you are inexperienced. When ironing in the wax, draw the iron down the ski holding a molten bead of wax about 2 to 3 inches behind the iron, and always keep the iron moving. If necessary a second pass can pick up any places that are missed.
      4. Scraping off the Wax

        Scrape the groove with a groove tool and clean off the edges while the ski is still warm. Then let the ski cool slowly to room temperature before scraping the bases. Scrape the wax off using short easy strokes again working the ski from tip to tail until all the wax is removed. Use a sharp scraper and keep it sharp. A scraper sharpener makes it easy to give the scraper a few passes each time before scraping.
      5. Brushing out the ski

        Use the Fast Wax Superfine SS brush, followed by the Fast Wax Horse Hair brush and polish with the Fast Wax black nylon brush
      6. Waxing Sequence

        • Repeat steps 3 to 5 for each wax.
        • New Skis 5 to 6 layers or Base Prep followed by 2 to 3 layers of HS-30 Red, 2 to 3 layers of HS-20 Blue and a few layers of HS-10 Green -  add the wax of the day and go skiing
        • Stone Ground Skis This depends on whether the skis were deep ground to remove gouges and burnt bases or were just "touched up"
        • Deep Ground Bases Follow the same procedure described in the  new skis section as most of the wax will be removed in the grinding process. 
        • Touched up Skis The process is shortened as not as much base and wax was removed in the grinding process. Reduce the Base Prep applications about  2 to 3 layers followed by the HS-30 Red and a few layer of HS-20 Blue, then apply the wax of the day and ski.
        • Skis generally do not get fast until they get some hard wax into them. This is something to try if your skis do not seem to be fast or are not getting fast -- add a few layer of HS-10 Teal Wax.

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Waxing Iron Temperatures

Temps are a guideline as each iron may vary slightly. Test the wax on the iron before applying the iron to the ski

Wax Lower Setting Upper Setting
Fluoro Hot Box Wax Low as the Iron will go NA

Base Prep
Fluoro Base Prep
HS 40 Yellow
HSLF 40 Yellow
HSF 40 Bronze

Digital Iron 250 F or 120 C
Standard Dial Iron
5 to 6 Medium
Digital Iron 265 F or 130 C
Standard Dial Iron
5 to 6 Medium
HS 30 Red
HSLF 30 Red
HSF 30 Salmon
Digital Iron 260 F or 127
Standard Dial Iron
6 to 7 Medium
Digital Iron 275 F or 135 C
Standard Dial Iron
6 to 7 Medium
HS 20 Blue
HSLF 20 Blue
HSF 20 Tan
Digital Iron 265 F or 130 F
Standard Dial Iron
6 to 8 Medium
Digital Iron 280 F or 138 C
Standard Dial Iron
6 to 8 Medium

HS 10 Teal
HSLF 10 Teal
HSF 10 Green
HS - 0 White
HSLF 0 White

Digital Iron 275 F or 135 C
Standard Dial Iron
7 to 8.5 Medium
Digital Iron 290 F or 143 C
Standard Dial Iron
7 to 8.5 Medium
 
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