Summer Maintenance for Skis

Summer Maintenance for Skis

Clean, wax and summer prep your skis and in a few simple steps.

Madshus marathon racer Øystein Pettersen (NOR) works on his skis during a test camp at Sjusjøen this spring. Photo: Stefano Zatta
Madshus marathon racer Øystein Pettersen (NOR) works on his skis during a test camp at Sjusjøen this spring. Photo: Stefano Zatta

You have probably put away your skis for the season, but did you prepare them for a summer in storage and a new winter?

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.

Nobody likes to grab a pair of classic skis soiled with old klister and debris from the last spring fling when the first powder of the new season arrives in the fall. Additionally, that klister left on the skis has a nasty tendency to get very liquid in the summer heat, and will run all over the skis and everything else in the proximity of those skis, potentially leaving with you with a really sticky mess in a lot of unexpected places.

Spend a few minutes on your skis before you put them away for the summer, and your boards will be fast and furious when the snow flies again in the fall.

So, exactly what do you 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 (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 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. Berger prefers the medium hard waxes for convenience reasons.

“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 ski,” Berger explains.

Previously, many wax techs recommended using a very soft glide wax, such as Swix CH/LF10 or similar, for storage, but the soft wax is generally too warm for skiing in the fall.

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After thoroughly cleaning the skis, glide wax the glide zones. Photo: Inge Scheve
After thoroughly cleaning the skis, glide wax the glide zones. Photo: Inge Scheve

Make summer work for your skis
However, if you don’t mind the extra waxing step in the fall, using a soft wax for storage has an added perk: The summer heat doubles as a natural hot box to saturate your bases.

“This is a cheap, simple and safe way to hot box your skis, without even building one and no risk of damaging your bases. 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.

That’s it. Your skis are clean, waxed and ready for the next season.

Is there anything else you need to do?

With skis cleaned, waxed and put away, take a look at the rest of your equipment 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.

Waxes and tools
Klister tubes that have been opened have a tendency to leak, and can pose a problem any time of the year. But the summer heat makes the klister thinner and runnier, and increases the risk of leaving a sticky mess on everything in the wax box. 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 vertically in their cardboard boxes with the caps pointing up to prevent them from running.

“If you have refrigerator or freezer in your garage or basement, this makes a great summer storage for klister. Other ski wax can be stored at room temperature,” Berger says.

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.

Finally, do a quick inventory of your wax kit: Make 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. Better yet, stock up now on the end of winter clearance sales. Then you’re all set for the first snow.

The work you put in now pays off with interest in the fall. Once it’s snowing, all you need to do is scrape, brush and go!

Look over your wax kit and make a list of what you need to replace before put away the box for the summer. Photo: Inge Scheve
Make a list of what you need to replace before putting away the wax kit for the summer. Photo: Inge Scheve