WAXING YOUR “NO-WAX” SKIS — There are a couple situations where this is appropriate. One is general maintenance: coat the bottom of the skis with a thin layer of liquid glide wax available at most local ski shops. Do it when the skis are warm and polish it with a waxing cork. This gives you a nice smooth glide and helps prevent water from sticking and icing up.
The other reason to wax is a bit more complex: it is to add more kick to your “no-wax” kicker or scales.
A little basic background may be helpful. The way cross country skis propel you forward is when a section of the ski under your boot grabs the snow as your full weight is applied to that one ski. The camber (curve up in the center) of the ski allows you to glide when your weight is evenly distributed. This ‘kicker’ area under your foot traditionally was created by using a soft wax that would grab the snow when pressed down. A harder/slippery wax went on the glide part of the ski (tip and tail).
With modern “no wax” skis made of hi-tech plastics, the manufacturers make a little ‘one-way-valve’ scale pattern in the kicker area which takes the place of gooey kicker wax. Like anything else, the convenience can be a trade off for performance. In a group such as “BikeSki” we are skiing recreationally - i.e. our main function is not racing, but rather to have a good time and get some exercise. Hi speed performance is not usually our goal. Because of the variety of terrain, the no-wax skis in a wider ‘back-country’ type ski are great for our type of outing.
The manufacturer tries to guess the ideal length of this kicker area for the size of the ski — incidentally, there are way less choices of length available now, which means each choice of ski must cover a broader weight range. Sooo … what I see most often these days is folks having a really hard time getting up the hills because their ‘no-wax’ scales just don’t seem to grab. Our solution to these problem is to extend the kicker range of the scale by adding a little soft kicker wax before and after the scale area … maybe 4-12″ at each end … depending on wax softness, snow and body weight. Be sure not to cover the scales.
Want help? Come a little early and see me next outing! -Mike