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That's an Excellent Question: Summer Storage Waxing
By:  Craig Storey   (2006/04/02)

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I'd like to know what glide wax do people in Vauhtiland use to cover ski bases during the summer. Also, do you use that same glide wax to cover the grip zone of classic skis, as some people do, or just a cold grip wax?

Thanks!

J.D.

So you've finished skiing for the year? Have you cleaned and put your skis away yet? Not everyone does, or is convinced that it needs to be done. It's not a hard job but it is one of those little chores at the end of the ski season that we all wonder about. Is it worth it? Does it make any difference?

Well if you skied in any sort of Spring-like snow, those ski bases are probably dirty. Don't believe me? Have a look at the bases under a bright light. See any streaks or shiny patches? Probably someone's klister. Try running the back of you fingernail down your ski base. Did a bunch of black gunk peel off? If neither of these tests convince you then try this: Glide wax with a soft wax, like Vauhti Base Prep (Orange), then gently scrape it out while it's still hot. Odds are the wax you scrape off will have some dirt in it, not to mention it will likely be discoloured.

If you don't do something to your skis now will you remember to do it next fall when you are rushing out for the first ski of the year? Well if not you will be skiing with that dirt in your bases next season. That dirt will really hurt your glide in new and dry snow, the type of snow you will likely ski on at the beginning of next season.

By now you should be convinced you have to do something, but what? You have a few options. You can take your skis to a ski shop and for a few bucks, have them clean them up and storage wax them. If you have a setup at home to glide wax then you can just as easily do-it-yourself. Either way, here's what you need to know.

Step #1 - Cleaning off old grip wax.

This is only applies to classic skis. Remove any old hard wax or klister. This is usually a 2-step process. First remove the bulk of the wax with a paint scraper or putty knife. Next scrub the remaining wax residue off with a wax remover or citrus solvent. Make sure you clean the sidewalls and edges too!

Some people cover their grip zones by rubbing on some soft glide wax for storage then removing it with wax remover before using the skis. I've also heard of covering it with hard kick wax, or just leaving the grip zone exposed. I've done all and never really noticed much difference in how the wax adheres the next season. My tip is to clean off the grip zone of whatever wax used, and then re-sand the grip zone at the start of the next season.

For skis with fishscales, you should think about cleaning the fishscale section with wax remover too. You've probably collected a lot of gunk in the crevases and it will affect how well the skis glide next year.

Step #2 - Cleaning the glide zones.

Start by gently scraping off the dirt with a plastic scraper. Next apply a layer of soft parafin wax, and then scrape it off while it's still warm - just like the test I suggested earlier. Repeat this until the wax you scrape off is clean. Let the ski cool. Brush it with a brass brush, then a nylon brush. Then you can apply a medium hard wax, like Vauhti Shop Blue. You might want to add a second layer of blue, just to get that soft wax out. The wax you add at this step is likely what you will scrape off in a hurry at the first hint of snow next fall and end up skiing on for your first ski. Another benefit of a medium hard wax is that it will protect your bases all summer.

Step #3 - Storage.

At this point your skis are ready to be put away for the winter. I suggest a cool dry place like a basement. Attics can get really hot and humid. The danger here is melting the glue that holds the skis together and gives them their camber. I also recommend removing or loosening the ski ties so that the skis aren't being squeezed together, but rather just gently held.

Well, I hope that helps clear up the mysteries of summer storage waxing. Hopefully come late fall your skis will be as ready to ski as you are!

 
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