Winter Service Tips.
Is a Wax-less Ski truly a Wax-less Ski?
This is a great question. Quite often we are asked a variation of this question in the work shop.
It is in reference to a type of Cross country ski, often referred to as a ‘Wax-less Ski’. In truth they should really be called a ‘Non Grip-wax skis’, as it is a description of the grip zone or area of ski base directly under the foot.
In the Discipline of Classic Cross Country skiing there are 3 main types of skis:
– Grip-wax skis: these use effectively what is sticky wax in the area under the foot that when pressed into the snow sticks, and provides resistance in which to push off of, in order to move forwards.
– Wax-less Skis: these have what look like fish scales cut into the base in the area under the foot that when pressed into the snow, provide the same resistance.
– And thirdly what is still a relatively new type of Classic ski often referred to as –
Hairies: these skis have a section of base under the foot that has either been chemically changed or is completely different from that of the tip and tail. Both types are designed with the same purpose as above , providing resistance in which to push off.
Here’s the bit that is quite often misunderstood….. All of these types of skis require regular ‘Hot Waxing’ of the tip and tail sections of the ski. These are the parts of the ski that provide you with glide, the ability to easily slide forward on the skis. Take a look at your skis, if the tips and tails are looking a little beat up, dry, hairy and whitish in places, they are definitely over due for a hot waxing treatment. With out regular hot waxing, skis tend to become slow and sluggish, taking effort to move across flat and even sometimes downward terrain; times when you should be gracefully or in my case not so gracefully gliding with minimal effort.
A side note to do with Wax-less, or Fish scale skis, is that over time the fish scale section of ski can begin to get a little beat up, hairy and dry in places as well. In this situation what can sometimes happen in certain snow conditions, is that the snow begins to stick to the scales. This creates a buildup of snow and ice on the bottom of the ski, effectively rendering the fish scales useless as well as the glide. In order to avoid this there is readily available different type of liquid wax which can be easily and cleanly applied to the scales.
So to some up ‘Wax-less Skis’; You hot wax the tip and tails to stop ‘You’ sticking to the snow, so you can glide forwards. You liquid wax the scales so the ‘Snow’ doesn’t stick to you, so you can get grip…… the Wax-less part is referring to No Grip-wax or sticky wax…….
……. Confused yet.