Post-winter Ski Care with GRP Wax Tech Nick Brown

GRP wax tech Nick Brown on the glacier last fall. Photo – Caitlin Patterson

Happy Spring! We’ve finished up the last races of the season, but we are also in the process of meeting with ski company reps and starting planning for next year already! This is a great time to sit down and as as you review your training from this year and think about next year’s goals, do the same with your equipment. This is the time of the year when things are still fresh in your mind, and there is time and space to deal with a lot of things that we just don’t have in the fall.

When did your skis work really well? When did they work less well? Are there conditions for which your skis just didn’t seem to work? Skis that got used / scratched up and will need a re-grind? Make some notes – maybe even on some masking tape on the skis themselves! That way you will remember in the fall that ‘this pair of skis never worked for me’ (sell it to someone who it may work better for!) or ‘these skis didn’t kick right – review’ … ‘these need a new grind’ … etc.

Do you need/want to special order equipment? Looking for something in particular? Some retailers take special orders and spend time over the summer searching out specific skis for customers. If you are just looking for a new pair of skis, make that note so you can remember in the fall exactly what was on your wish list, before those conditions come (and those skis are sold out!). Were you yearning for a pair of the new waxless “skin” skis, or a pair of off-track cross country skis? Or maybe you are just ready to upgrade to a new pair of race skis, whether you are actually racing, or just want the weight & performance advantages of race gear.

Why might you want more skis? That depends. For many people the one-pair quiver, or one each skate and classic can be fine. The simplicity (and cost savings) are important parts of enjoying the sport. For others, adding a pair or two of skis could really enhance their enjoyment of the sport. If you want to expand your ski selection, here are my thoughts.

Start with “universal” skis you are happy with most of the winter. If you are replacing your one pair, or this is your first time shopping, I would look for a good “universal” skate ski and/or a good mid-range versatile hardwax ski for classic. Start with one ski per technique. If your preference trends towards classic skiing, consider the benefits of having a Universal / hardwax ski, and a klister ski. A true klister ski can make a world of difference in icy / grainy / wet conditions. They are built to glide faster in the wet conditions, and keep the klister away from the snow, while staying easy to kick. Better in every way! Klister skiing might become your new favorite conditions!

If you are looking into expanding your skate skis, I would look in the other direction from your “universal” skis … consider adding a “cold” ski. While some years it seems like we have increasing warm and wet conditions, “universal” skate skis still work pretty well in most of those conditions. When we get those cold snaps and the snow feels like velcro, a pair of dedicated cold skis makes a big difference. It won’t make it magically fast, but it will be a bit less-slow, and a lot more enjoyable! In the end the goal is to keep getting out and skiing, and having fun, which is after all why we have skis! Make some notes now so you know what to look for in the fall!

Also review your wax box and make some notes there too! What are you missing? what did you use up this year? What did you wish you had? Need new brushes maybe? Some things to think about – have some cold wax, and a brush that works for it? If you classic ski on waxable skis, do you have a range of hardwaxes and klisters? You don’t need a ton of waxes, not even every wax in a brand, but a good range of waxes you know when and how to use. If you ski at the outdoor center, you can always stop by the shop to refill if you find you are missing the wax of the day. Looking to expand your selection of tools or waxes ahead of time? With some time and planning you can shop around through some more options. Without planning ahead, this can quickly become overwhelming. Ask around and see what other people like. Make a plan and happy shopping!

Two more things. Even if (for some reason) you don’t want to think about skis now: 1) make sure your existing skis have a coat of wax on them for storage! Put it on now, scrape and brush in the fall. AND 2) take your wax box, or box full of wax, and put it somewhere cool for the summer. Maybe make sure all the klister tubes have tight caps on them, and are stored beneath/separately from your glide wax. If you want to be really safe, I have heard of people storing it in their freezer.

Thats it! Make some notes now so you can actually remember that “unforgettable” thing in the fall!

Have a great spring!

Printable Checklist:

____ All skis travel waxed

____ Make notes about skis

____ Make notes about wax box

____ Put wax box somewhere cool and take klister safety precautions.

____ Find bike season notes from last fall …

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