Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Art of Waxing

Seeing as it’s the end of November, some areas of Canada have already seen snow, while others are one big snow storm away. If you are thinking of taking up cross country skiing, now is a good time to start thinking about preparing for the ski season before the trails are calling your name. As Cross Country Canada says, cross-country skiing is easy to learn and its benefits for health and wellness are unmatched.

If you walk into any ski shop, the sheer number of colourful wax tins may be enough to create some confusion. Getting your skis ready for the season does include the need to grasp the art of waxing but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. However, the sooner you learn that the type of wax you use on your skis can make or break your ski day, the better off you will be.

There are basically two types of ski wax: grip and glide. The grip wax goes on what is called the kick zone of classic cross-country skis, while glide wax goes on the rest of the classic ski, on the entire length of skate skis (as on downhill skis and snowboards). The selection of waxes is influenced by some or all of the following:
  • The outside temperature
  • Type of snow – new, dry, wet, old
  • The snow and air temperature
  • The relative humidity: high (over 75%), normal (55%-75%), low (below 55%)
  • The structure of the snow: old, coarse, icy, dirty, new or fine granule
  • The distance to be skied
  • The technique used: free (skating) or classical (diagonal stride)
There is no doubt that ski waxing is not a science, but an art. You’d be well advised to attend a ski waxing clinic or refer to the many ski waxing guides that are available to insure you get it right the first time you hit the trails.

For more information on cross country skiing, please visit SIRC.

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