Summer Care for Skis

Summer Care for Skis
It is no fun to clean off old spring skiing when the snow flies in the fall! Photo: Inge Scheve
It is no fun to clean off old spring skiing when the snow flies in the fall! Photo: Inge Scheve

It’s May, we have officially entered the 2015-16 training year and it’s dryland season. You have probably put away your skis for the season, but did you prepare them for a summer in storage and a new winter come fall?

Make sure your skis are every bit as fast and good as they were for the last days this spring. Additionally, taking good care of your skis not only make them fast, it also makes them last longer.

Glide zones left dirty and dry will oxidize over the summer, leaving them feeling slow even with new wax in the fall.

And nobody likes to grab a pair of classic skis soiled with old klister and debris from the last spring fling when the smell the first powder of the new season. Additionally, that klister left on over the hot summer has a nasty tendency to get very liquid and run all over the skis and whatever lies in the proximity of those skis, potentially leaving with you with a real sticky mess in a lot of unexpected places.

So what to do?

Jan Erik Berger, who has been a wax tech with both the Norwegian national team and several of the long-distance teams, shares his tricks of the trade.

Start with cleaning off any remains of klister and kick wax. Scrape off the worst with a metal scraper dedicated to kick wax or a klister paddle (one of those plastic scrapers that come with the klister tubes). Then apply liberal amounts of wax cleaner, such as Swix Base Cleaner or Toko Gel Clean. Wipe clean and dry with Fiberlene or shop towels. Feel the surfaces with your hands after to make sure all sticky residues are removed. Don’t forget to wipe down the bindings, tops and sides of the skis as well.

Once the skis are clean and dry, start applying glide wax to all glide zones (don’t glide wax the kick zone on classic skis).

Use a medium-hard glide wax, such as Swix CH/LF7 or similar from other manufacturers. Previously, many wax techs recommended using a soft glide wax for storage, but the soft wax is generally too warm for skiing in the fall. Accordingly, using a medium-hard glide wax for summer storage saves the step of rewaxing with a colder glide wax when you are ready for the first ski in the fall: You just scrape off your summer wax and go!

But why not make summer work for your skis? Berger shares one of his favorite wax tips: use the summer heat as a hot box to saturate your bases.

“This is a cheap and simple way to hot box your skis without even building one. Just store your skis bases-up in a garage, attic or storage shed where the summer heats up the space to 40-50 degrees C, and you have a natural hot box,” Berger says, noting that this treatment requires a warm glide wax for best result.

“If you plan to hot box your skis this way over the summer, you should choose a warmer, softer glide wax for storage than the CH/LF7,” Berger says.

With skis waxed and put away, take stock of the rest of your gear too. Look over your poles and repair or replace any baskets or broken parts. If you are using the same poles for roller skiing, now is a good time to switch from snow baskets to roller ski ferrules.

And what about your wax and grooming tools?

“Klister tubes that have been opened always pose a problem, and the summer heat just makes it worse. Grab some Fiberlene or shop towels and some base cleaner, wipe down all the containers, and make sure the caps are tightly on. Push the content to the front of the tube, and roll up the bottoms. Store them standing with the caps pointing up to prevent them from running. And if you have an old fridge in your garage or basement, this makes a great summer storage for klister. Other ski wax can be stored at room temperature,” Berger says.

Also, clean off your wax iron, tables and wax forums, brushes and scrapers. Putting your brushes in the freezer for a couple of hours makes it easier to get all the old wax shavings out of the bristles.

And finally, do a quick inventory of the wax box. Write a list of which products your are out of or low on, so you are armed and ready when you make the first wax run in the fall.

As a last bonus: The work you put in now, pays off in spades in the fall: once it’s snowing, all you need to do is scrape, brush and go!