Cross Country Ski
Waxing 101 (Steve Thatcher 11/24/01) Updated 11/18/06 in
Ride and Glide Bike and
These instructions are for people looking for a simple approach to ski waxing. Experienced waxers can take this for what its worth. It s meant to give beginners answers and specific instructions, not just generalizations. Once beginners get more experience they can modify these approaches and upgrade to optional tools and techniques as they see fit. If you have any comments on what you see here or notice any inaccuracies or have any major disagreements let me know. All comments accepted in the spirit in which they are given.
1) Recommended tools
Thick plastic scraper : Pick up several of these and keep them sharp using a file. Buy one at each shop or ski area you visit and you have a good supply and reminder of your travels. They get covered with wax and dull so have a spare.
File for sharpening scrapers : Use for sharpening above scrapers. Lay the file on a flat surface and rub the edge back and forth on the file. Try to keep it vertical
Nylon (white) brush : Stiff bristle brush for general removal of waxes. Cost about $10-15 at a shop. A vegetable brush works quite well. I used one for several years. I still use it for brushing off loose wax particles and general cleanup.
Horsehair brush : No cheap alternative. Same cost as above. Used for final removal of wax from structure. Especially on harder waxes. An indispensable brush. Wish I hadnt waited so long to buy one. You need an extra one if you are going to apply pure fluoro waxes. You want to dedicate one for this purpose only
Brass brush : Used to open up the base pores and for cleaning. A pot scrubbing brush from the hardware store works. Again I used one for several years. Useful for removing last bits of very hard waxes. A combo brush of mixed brass and nylon is a good compromise.
Scotch brite (blue) : Used for polishing and removing last bits of wax from ski. Dont buy green, its too abrasive. Blue is available at hardware store. White is very soft and used for final polishing. Its hard to find outside a ski shop.
Foam cork : The above brushes are for glide wax. A foam cork is used for spreading out kick wax on classic skis. They cost about $4-5 but theres no substitute
Iron : If you dont want to shell out $75 or more for a wax iron you can use a clothes iron. Small travel irons work good because they dont have steam holes. But you have to be careful with them because of poor temperature control. If you always keep the iron moving and use a thermomelt stick (see next) you can wax just fine. A lot of people use old irons found at garage sales. Splurge and get a good iron. It's safer. Another alternative is to forego hotwaxing and use pastewaxes. See below.
Thermomelt stick : An insurance policy when using cheap irons to wax skis. Get one that melts at 200F so you're well under the temperature that can damage skis.. Use it to set you iron temperature. Cost about $10.
Ice scraper : Used to remove kick wax from kick zone of classic skis. The angled edge works better for removing old dirty built up kick wax than the straight edge of the plastic scrapers. Plus you wont get kick wax all over your glide wax scrapers and theyre cheap.
Mineral spirits : Used to remove last bits of kick wax on classic skis. When you want to clean all the way down to the base and start over this works fine. Commercial wax removers were mineral spirits for years. Now they have citrus based stuff that works good but is pricey. Dont use on glide portions. Only on kick zone. This also works good for cleaning scrapers, irons, and the tops and sides of skis.
Ski binders : Straps to hold skis together while keeping bases from touching. Very handy way to control skis while transporting and keeps bases from rubbing against each other.
Masking tape : Use to mask off kick zone on classic skis when glide waxing tips and tails.
150 Grit sandpaper : Use to rough up kick zone on classic skis before waxing. Also use to smooth out dinged edges
General comments on tools: If you have big hands buy the big brushes. Small hands but the small ones. Theyre easier to control. In a pinch scotchbrite works for final removal of wax if you dont have a horsehair brush. If you apply the high tech fluoro waxes you may want to get two sets of brushes and label one for fluoro only and keep it in a plastic bag. It doesnt do much good to be brushing out your expensive fluoro wax with a brush impregnated with hydrocarbon wax. Get a cheap plastic tool box or tackle box to keep your tools and wax in. Youll accumulate a big collection over the years so dont go too small. Cover it with decals and youll look like a pro!
The above tools are almost a necessity. I view it to be the minimum required to get by. After you waxed a few skis you may want to consider upgrading to the tools listed below.
2) Optional or upgrade tools
Wax iron : When I bought my first real wax iron it was amazing how much easier waxing was. It did cost $80 but it almost seemed worth it. They hold heat better and the bottoms are very flat so they evenly heat the ski better than a clothes iron
Commercial wax remover : Toko makes a citrus gel that works like magic to remove old kick wax and it smells a lot better than mineral spirits. $12 for about 5 ozs however but it goes along way.
Riling tool : A tool that puts linear grooves in the bottom of your skis. These grooves break up suction when skiing on warm wet snow. In these conditions structure does more for ski speed than wax does. If you have a pattern stoneground in your skis you can get by without this tool. Its expensive $40-80. But when its really wet it allows you to add more structure to what you already have. An advanced tool.
Groove tool : When you scrape glide wax off the ski you need to remove it from the grove as well. You can do this with the edge of most plastic scrapers. But Toko designed this plastic shaped pencil that does the groove and edges very well. Cant see how they can charge $6 for a pencil shaped piece of plastic but they do. Makes a great stocking stuffer. I.E. something you wouldnt buy yourself but if someone gives you one youd be happy.
A felt-like pad used for generating heat when applying pure fluoro waxes.
Also used for applying paste waxes. A real cork cork works well too.
Dedicate these for this purpose. DOn;y use them for regular wax.
Wax bench : You can wax your skis by suspending then between two chairs. Then you hold the ski steady with one hand and work with the other hand or get a friend to hold the ski while you work with two hands. I did this for a year or so and then made a form bench by tracing my ski on the side of a 2x6 and cutting it out. It worked fine. The goal is to immobilize the ski and support it so you can work on it with both hands and not have it moving all over the place. The form benches are big and clunky but they work great. Swix makes a 3 piece vise set that works great too. Its small and portable and clamps to any table. Its called the Cap Lock and sells for about $80.
Ski bag : Ski bags work great for storage and transport. It keeps skis clean and you can put your poles in there too and it is an ABSOLUTE must if you use a ski rack to transport skis. DO NOT carry skis on top of your car unless they are in a bag. Think about the salt spray and dirt that is flying around out there when you drive. Put them inside if you dont have a bag.
Dust mask : When you scrape the cold hard waxes you create a lot of dust. If you dont want to breath in wax particles use a mask. Also avoid breathing in wax vapors if you mistakenly get the iron too hot and the wax smokes. I dont think breathing in wax fumes is very good for your lungs. If you use a lot of high fluoro waxes you may want to consider a respirator mask. It has been proven that prolonged exposure to fluorine fumes is very dangerous to your health. At least be sure you have good ventilation.
3) Recommended waxes
There are lots of good waxes out there. This is a list of waxes that you cant go wrong with. Some of them are universally accepted as the standard.
Fastwax purple (base prep) : Used for prepping new skis and newly stoneground skis. This stuff is supposed to have smaller molecules so it get absorbed better. At least that is what the manufacturer says.. See Swix yellow.
Medium - Rex Blue or Fastwax Blue (glide) : Rex blue is one of those universal standards. Just about every skier has a cake of this stuff. Its famous for it wide temperature range. I train on this stuff quite a bit. When in doubt put on Rex blue and go ski. This is a medium temperature wax (14F - 30F) The Fastwax blue is good reviews, is inexpensive and it's a local company.
Cold - Start Green or Fastwax White (glide) : Start green is another one of those standard waxes. Universally accepted as the best wax to use for cold conditions and cold fresh snow (15F and below) Fastwax white is reported to be as good or better and is easier to apply because its not so hard. Start green is very hard and difficult to scrape off.
Warm - Swix yellow (glide) : Not much works when it gets warm. This stuff is very soft and can be used as a base prep wax as well. When its warm you need structure at a minimum and for better glide you need to go to the fluoro stuff in the next section or just be satisfied with slower skis. The fluoro stuff is expensive.
Rex Orange Base binder (kick) : Put this stuff on your kick zone first and your kick wax will stick better and last longer
Swix Extra Blue (kick) : Heres another one of those standard waxes. Sometimes called the Midwest universal kick wax. Use a little when its cold, put it on thicker as it warms up
Swix Extra Red (kick) : Use this when it get warm or the track get glazed. If this doesnt work its time to go to klister or waxless skis
4) Optional waxes
Think about these waxes for special conditions and racing or when you want to get more serious about your waxing.
Paste wax (glide) : If you don’t want to take the time to hot wax your skis and the conditions are average then rub on or paste waxes are supposed to work. They don’t last as long however. Fastwax has just come out with their SlickPro line of pastewaxes. They appear to be a good compromise for people who are casual skiers and want to save the cost of an iron, a bench, and all the brushes ($100+)
Fastwax Tan (glide) : This is a high fluoro wax used when its warm and/or humid. High fluoros are a waste of money when it below 25F unless it very humid. The Fastwax line is a lot cheaper than Swix or Toko. Tan is good up to 27F. Another thing about fluoros is they last longer than hydrocarbons. So I use them for races and important training days or road trips where I want good skis. If it gets warmer there is salmon and bronze. High fluoro waxes are usually applied over a layer of conventional (hydrocarbon) wax. About $25-30 for 80 gms (thats enough for 8-10 pairs of skis)
Pure fluoro : This stuff can be expensive. Some brands run about $100 for 30 gms (about 4 pairs of skis) Its used when it warm and sloppy and humid. The solid forms tend to be a little less expensive and still work pretty good. The Birke calls for this stuff a lot these day with the advent of global warming. It’s the only thing that works under wet conditions. I have some. I use it for races, when appropriate and for important workouts when needed. You have to learn how to apply it. Applied wrong it can be slower than regular wax. See section below under Glide Waxing for how to apply solid flourors.
Buy more colors of kick wax : If you want to fine tune your kick waxing there are more colors to choose from. Each color has a specific temperature range. There are also more exotic (more expensive) kick waxes that are easier to spread out and last longer. See next item
High tech kick waxes : Swix makes it VR Krystal line (new) and Toko has its Carbon line. They are supposed to last longer, repel dirt, and have less drag. One thing Im sure of is that they have a smoother consistency which make them easier to spread on the ski in a nice smooth layer.
Rex Power grip (kick) : This is a new approach to kick wax. It claims to have extremely wide temperature ranges. They only have 3 colors and the stuff seems to last for ever. Its an elastomer. You put this stuff on your ski. The snow bites into the wax. It deforms to give you grip and then it returns to its original shape. Pretty neat stuff. A lot of club members have tried it and they are getting good results.
Klister (kick) : This stuff is basically glue (see wax theory below). If you have to race when its icy its the only wax that works. It also works when its well above freezing. If youre racing in these conditions its the only way to go. Pick a brand and use it. . If youre just out for a workout use waxless skis.
5) A little waxing theory
Dont worry this wont be too technical. Though the glide wax section is a bit deep. Just a little conceptual information so you understand what youre trying to accomplish when you apply wax.
Kick : In kick waxing you are trying to develop traction so you can push off the snow to propel yourself down the track. You can get traction in two ways. One is to have the snow dig into the bottom of the ski so you can push off. The other is to have the ski stick to the snow so you can push off. The first method is accomplished with regular kick waxes. The second is accomplished with klisters. This second method is similar to the way waxless skis work. They stick or dig into the snow to develop traction for push off. For regular kick waxing we need the snow crystals to dig into the wax to get traction. Cold dry snow has hard sharp edges. Warm snow has softer rounded edges. We only want the snow to dig into the wax enough to get us a platform to push off of. If it digs in too much well get lots of traction but too much drag as the snow crystals wont release when we start gliding. So the colder and dryer the snow is the harder wax we use. As the temperature rises and the crystals get softer, rounder and wetter we use a softer wax. Eventually the snow is so soft or wet that it wont dig into what ever wax we put on the ski. Then we use klister. Klister is basically glue. It causes the ski to stick to the snow surface and that gives us the traction we need to push off. Klister is used when its warm and wet and also when the trails are icy. We put the wax or klister on the portion under the foot called the wax pocket. It extends from the heel forward to about 12-18 inches in front of the toe. This is the area of the ski that does not touch the snow when we have our weight evenly distributed on both skis. We are gliding when in this position. The camber of the ski is keeping the wax pocket from touching the snow. When we kick or push off we shift all our weight to one ski. This drives the wax pocket into contact with the snow and develops the traction we discussed above. This all assumes that the skis are not too stiff or too soft for your body weight. This is known as ski fit.
Glide : Glide waxing is about adjusting the physical properties of the ski base to allow it to glide as fast as possible. Skis are slowed down by two factors: Friction and Suction. Friction is determined by how hard the ski base is relative to the snow surface and how much weight is on each part of the ski. We will not talk about the weight aspect here. Proper pressure distribution is what ski fit is all about. Suction is a function of how much water is under the ski. Water develops due to the friction of the ski gliding over the snow. It may also be already present in the snow under warn conditions. The lower the friction and the lower the suction the faster the ski glides. Snow crystals will dig into the bottom of the ski and cause friction which slows the ski down. We can make the ski base harder by putting hard wax into the base. A ski base is porous. It will absorb wax and its hardness will change depending on the hardness of the wax we put in it. Wax manufacturers have determined how hard a wax is needed for a given temperature. Thus we select a wax for the expected snow temperature and apply it. The colder the snow the harder the wax. The warmer the snow the softer the wax. At temperatures above about 15F the skis are gliding on a thin film of water. This water is created by the friction of the ski melting the snow. This is wet friction. The different waxes try to manage the production of water to produce optimum glide. Too much water and you get suction and the ski slows down. Too little water (dry friction) and the ski slows down. Dry friction conditions are generally slower than wet friction conditions. At temperatures below 15F you cant make enough friction to create any water. Under these conditions the smoother and harder the ski base the better the glide. Thats why we put on hard wax, have minimal structure and polish the bases when its very cold. So the simple rule is hard waxes for cold temps, soft waxes for warm temps. The extra water problems caused by warm or wet snow are handled by using fluoro waxes which repel water, similar to the way water beads up on a waxed car. By repelling water the suction is reduced. Ski structure is more important than wax when dealing with wet snow.
6) Base prep
New skis or skis that have been just stoneground have no wax in the base. They need to be waxed and scraped several times before they will attain their glide speed potential. Melt the base prep wax on your skis. Smooth out with an iron and let cool for 20-30 minutes. Scrape off and brush a moderate amount each time (see glide waxing) and repeat at least 5 times. The 4th time use red wax and the 5th time use blue wax. You are progressively trying to harden the base. After the last time finish off the job by thoroughly scraping and brushing. Next progress to a wax that you will ski on. Rex Blue for average conditions. Prepare the skis as described in the glide wax section. For the next several ski outings rewax after each session. Be sure to get some green wax in the ski eventually as well. The skis get faster by waxing and skiing as apposed to just waxing over and over again. Its also more fun. If these are new skis and your only pair you may not want to take them out in the early season. The snow cover can be marginal and your new skis can get scratched up. Thats what rock skis are for. A standard ploy for people getting into skiing is to buy one or two steps down from the top and ski those for a year or two. Then when youre ready to move up buy a top of the line pair and use your old skis for rock skis. You can never have too many pairs of skis. You should get your skis base prepped even if you are going to use pastewaxes instead of hardwaxes. It's good for the skis and the pastewax will adhere better and last longer. But since you don't have an iron and all the tools, get or pay someone to do it for you once.
7) Classic waxing
Classic skis have to be both kick waxed and glide waxed. See skate waxing for this part. Everything described there applies here. Put masking tape over the kick area when glide waxing classic skis to keep glide wax off the wax pocket. How often you glide wax your classic skis depends on how serious you are about performance. If youre just a tourer you can probably get by glide waxing with Rex Blue once or twice a year, especially if theyre not high end race skis. For training you should do it whenever there is a major change in the conditions or before an important workouts or road trips. If youre racing youll wax exactly like you do for skate skis. To tell the truth when I didnt do classic races I only glide waxed once, maybe twice a year. Remember however that wax does protect your ski bases from oxidation and wear. The new pastewaxes from Fastwax are a good option here for the non-racers.
In order to wax a classic ski you must know where the wax pocket is. Its that portion of the ski that is off the snow when your weight is evenly distributed on both skis. If you bought your skis at a good ski shop they should have marked it for you. If its not marked you can assume it runs from where your heel is to about 12-18 inches in front of your toes. You can measure it by standing on both skis on a smooth level surface as if you were gliding and have a helper slide a piece of paper forward until it stops. This is the front of your wax pocket. Mark it with a magic marker on the sidewall. Assuming your skis are fit for your weight you now know were the wax pocket is. Clean off any old wax using an ice scraper. Then remove the rest with mineral spirits or commercial wax remover and paper towels. If you havent roughened the kick area before, use 150 grit sand paper to roughen it. This makes the kick wax adhere to the base better. Dont go beyond the marks that indicate you wax pocket.
Base binder : Base binder wax will help your wax last longer. In general wax sticks better to base binder than to the ski base. Base binder is a special formulation of wax that sticks to the ski base better than regular wax. Rub the binder wax on the wax pocket and smooth it out with an iron to form a thin layer. If you use your glide wax iron dont forget to clean the base before using it to glide wax. Use light pressure on your waxing cork for the final smoothing step. There should be no clumps visible. You can work back and forth with the cork.
Kick wax : Select the wax appropriate for the temperature and rub it on the ski for entire length of the wax pocket. Kick wax works better in multiple thin layers instead of one thick layer. Use the flat side of the foam cork and with light pressure smooth out the wax so it becomes almost invisible. Then put another layer on and cork again. Use a light touch you dont want to mix the layers. Put on at least one more layer and maybe more depending on how long you plan to ski. The end result should look smooth and almost invisible. This is easier to accomplish with the high tech waxes and with harder waxes. If youre using a soft wax try putting it in the freezer for a bit to harden it up so it wont clump when you rub it on. Put the skis outside to cool off. They are warm. If you put them on the snow they will melt the snow and ice up. Use ski binders to keep the wax from getting all over everything and/or dirty.
Klister : Put klister on by rubbing diagonal streaks of klister every inch or so along the wax pocket on each side of the groove. Dont get any in the groove. Then with a klister spreader (small plastic spatula) smooth the klister out to cover the entire wax pocket. One layer is enough. It helps to see someone apply klister at least once before you try it. Some people spread out klister with the palm of their hand or fingers. It supposedly works good but I dont know how you get it off your hand when youre done. Again put the skis outside to cool. Dont store skis with klister in a warm area. The klister will melt and run down the ski. Use ski binders to keep the wax from getting all over everything and/or dirty. Very important with klister. Personally, if klister is required, I use waxless skis.
8) Adjusting the wax while skiing
When skiing on a freshly waxed classic ski the wax may not work right away. It seems that it takes several kilometers of skiing for the wax to setup and start working so give it a chance. If after a few K you are still slipping rub on more wax of the same type but a bit further forward, (2 inches) Smooth it out with a cork. When classical skiing always carry extra wax of the day and a cork. You may also want to bring the next warmer wax just in case. If you are still slipping rewax with the next warmer wax. Just take of the skis. Stick the tails in the snow. Get out your wax. Hold the top of the ski with one hand and rub the wax on with the other. steady the ski against your foot. Smooth it out with a cork. Dont be too concerned with how pretty the wax job is at this point. Just rub it on and cork it a bit. Youll probably have to rub fairly hard because the wax and ski are cold.
9) Skate waxing
There are several steps required in glide waxing. Ill list them in order. You can jump in anywhere on the list where it applies to your situation. All steps are not required everytime you wax. We will begin by assuming you are about to wax a ski that you have been skiing long enough that it needs re-waxing or you wish to change waxes because of conditions. In general glide wax lasts longer and works better if it applied in several layers. Multiple layers of the same wax or multiple layers of different temperature waxes starting from the coldest and progressing on to the warmest. I will not cover the theory behind layering. I dont really understand it. If youre training one layer is enough. A long training day or road trip use two layers. For a race as many as you can stand to do. Check with the wax reports from the manufacturers.
1) Clean the ski : Brush the base with a brass brush from tip to tail. This opens up the pores in the base and removes any dirt that might be impregnated in the base. Many people also do what is called purge waxing. A soft wax is melted on to the base and ironed in and then is scraped off while still warm ( see steps 2 and 3). This supposedly pulls old wax and dirt out of the base. If you do this use a white nylon brush to remove as much of the soft wax as possible before moving on. I only do this before races, but thats me. You decide.
2) Add structure : If you dont have a structure already stoneground into the base you can add structure here by using a riling tool. If the weather is going to be around freezing this is a good idea. If you dont have a riling tool dont worry about it. Your skis will be slower than they otherwise might be but so will most other peoples.. Its best to have this procedure demonstrated to you so watch someone do it sometime. This will even work if you plan on using pastewax in step 3. But remember one of the reason for pastewax is simplicity, so maybe not.
3) Hot wax the ski : My favorite way to hotwax and an easy way for beginners is to touch the bar of wax to the bottom of the iron and then quickly rub the bar on the base of the ski. You can cover about 2 inches of the ski per touch. Swirl the bar on the iron a bit to get more wax to melt and smear it on the ski base. As the bottom of the iron loads up with wax and starts to drip do a little ironing several times down the ski to capture the wax that's on the bottom of the iron. This method isn't as messy and doesn't waste as much wax. Work your way down the ski on both sides of the groove. Now start ironing the ski. Keep the iron moving so as to spread out the wax and not to over heat the ski. Dont let the wax smoke. If it smokes turn the iron down. It will probably smoke a bit when touching the wax bar to the iron, but will be ok when ironing the ski. Keep working until the entire ski is coated with wax. It's fairly common for the base to not be flat from edge to edge. The ski buldges down the middle as it absorbs wax. You may have to iron each side if the groove separately. This should take about 2-3 minutes. Clean the wax out the groove with the edge of a scraper or a groove pin. Run the scraper over the edge at a 45 degree angle to remove the wax from the edge. Let cool for 20-30 mins. Waxing should be done at room temperature. Do the other ski
3a) Alternative to hot waxing(Paste) : For those people who are casual skiers, especially those with entry level classic skis (and skate skis too) who would like to skip the ironing and scraping step (and the expense of the tools) There is a reasonable option. Realize that the wax job, though being easy, may not be as durable. If you have entry level skis the bases are not the same quality as middle in high end skis. These bases don't hold wax as well and some might say that hotwaxing an inexpensive ski is a waste of time. It doesn't do anything. I believe there is some truth to that. So your option is to use paste waxes. You will probably apply them more often than real glide waxes but it only taxes 5 minutes and hardly any tools. This method assumes Fastwax SlickPro. As in step 1, you should still clean the ski with a brash brush. After that apply the pastewax with the applicator that comes in the tin. Pick the color that matches the projected snow temperatures. Get Blue for sure and optionally Red and Green for warmer and colder conditions respectively. Check the temperature ranges on the tin. A simple thing is to just use Blue, sort of like Rex Blue, a universal. Most of the time it will be just fine. LEt the wax dry for 5 minutes and then vigorously scrub with a Thermo Pad. This is to create some heat to bond the wax to the ski. Really get into it. Rub hard and fast. If you have a bench great use it. But one of the reasons for going with this product is to avoid the cost of a bench. Brace the tail of the ski against you foot and buff the wax out. When done do a final brush with white fibertex. If you have a horsehair brush use it for this final buff. Otherwise the fibertex is fine. Paper towels work fine for this and in a pinch can even be a substitute for the Thermo Pad. You're done, skip to step 8 and go skiing. I would guess this wax job will last for 20-30K and then you should re-apply. You should have your skis hot waxed with Blue glide wax at the start of each season. Get a friend who has the equipment to do it or have a shop do it.
3b) Application of Pure Fluoros:
(solid form) Crayon on the solid fluoro on the ski. Completely
covering the base. Take a dedicated thermo pad or real cork and vigorously
scrub the applied wax. I like to apply a moderate temperature iron to help
the bonding along at this point, after you have done the initial spreading of
the wax. Then continue with more scrubbing for as long as you can tolerate
. (2-3 minutes). Let the wax cool for a few minutes, especially if you
used an iron. Then "brush up" the wax with a dedicated horsehair brush.
By brush up I mean lightly brush the wax but such that it stays on the ski base.
Don't brush it off. This starts the final brushing but leaves the residue
on the ski for one more pass with the thermo pad to ensure you have good
coverage. Let cool again for a few minutes and then with the dedicated
horsehair brush remove the excess wax. With pure fluoros you are creating
a "top coat" The wax does not penetrate the ski like regular glide waxes.
After you have cleaned off the excess wax, (you are removing the excess from the
structure as well) polish with a dedicated polishing brush or white
fibertex. Dedicated means for pure fluoros only. You don't want to
use a brush that's impregnated with hydrocarbon wax. All you'll be doing
is spreading hydrocarbon layer over your expensive wax job.
Store these tools in a ziplock bag to keep them uncontaminated
4) Scrape : After the ski has cooled scrape the wax from the base with a sharp scraper. Start from the tip with the scraper tilted away from you. Push the scraper down the ski with your fingers on the top of the scraper and your thumbs at the bottom. Make one pass and then come back and clean up what you missed. Keep the scraper clean by scraping it with another scraper. Just like ironing if the ski base isn't flat you may have to do each side of the groove separately. The goal is to remove all the wax from the surface. You ski on wax in the base not on it. The scraper will not get all the wax off the base. The remainder is removed by brushing.
5) Brush : Using a white nylon brush make short (1-2 feet) firm strokes as you move from tip to tail. You should see wax powder coming off the ski as you brush. Periodically clean the brush by rubbing a scraper over it to remove the loose wax particles. You may want to wear a dust mask depending on how much wax dust you create. Make at least three passes with the nylon brush. If the wax is a warm wax like Swix yellow you may be done. Harder waxes need the horsehair brush to get the last bit off. Use the same procedure as before. Youre done when you dont see any more dust coming off the ski. Nylon bristles are bigger and remove the bulk of the wax. The horsehair bristles are smaller and stiffer and remove the rest of the wax. Horsehair is good for removing the wax from the structure pattern.
6) Repeat step 2-4 as needed : Training? youre done. Racing?, go back and do 1 -3 more layers
7) Final polish : Using white fibertex (scothbrite) or blue if youre careful. Take long strokes from tip to tail to polish the ski one more time. Stick the piece of scothbrite to the bottom of the white nylon scraper and use that to hold the sheet while you use it. Several passes should do the trick. If youll be in real cold conditions polish until its shiny.
8) Go Skiing
10) Ski Storage
At the end of the season or any time you will not be using a pair of skis for an extended period. Do a complete glide wax job with a single layer of wax but dont scrape it off. Store the skis in a bag leaving the wax on the ski. This prevents the ski base from oxidizing and come next year all you have to do is scrape off the wax, brush and go skiing.