The basics of cross-country ski care
Skis want to be waxed, so there's no question about it. The situation is not quite as clear when it comes to the process itself. There are many wax products, as well as tips for frequency and the stubborn opinion that every cross-country ski has to be waxed from day one...
Do I have to wax new cross-country skis?
A new ski should be ready to go immediately. Therefore, you don't have to wax our cross-country skis before using them for the first time. You don't have to, but you can if you want to glide easily.
But even the best cross-country ski wants to be waxed sometime. After all, you glide on ice crystals - and they rub open the wax layer little by little each time you use them. This way the wax is removed piece by piece and sooner or later you will notice that without the occasional wax treatment gliding has become quite tedious...
Frequency: How often do I have to wax cross-country skis/skating skis?
If professionals wax their cross-country skis every day, does that mean that you have to invest time in ski care before every single tour as well? No, don't worry. Normally it is enough to take care of the wax layer every 2-3 days. This should be enough to ensure a constant gliding effect.
However, this is rather an indicative value, as it is difficult to provide general information in this case. Last but not least, how often you actually ski and what snow conditions prevail also plays an important role: Fresh snow crystals have a sharper structure than old, wet snow and therefore grind away the wax all the faster.
The most important rule of thumb is: As soon as you can see irregularities in the coating at first sight and at the latest when the black graphite coating turns grey, it's time for a wax treatment!
Accessories: Cold wax, liquid wax or simply candle wax?
I'm sure you've figured it out yourself: There are many ski waxes. In order for you to keep track of the differences, we have compiled the most important facts here in short!
- Climbing wax vs. glide wax: These types of wax have the opposite effect: Climbing wax causes a greater static friction in the climbing zone. This is an advantage if you don't have skis with a mechanical climbing aid (skin, or so-called "scales"), but are using a classic wax ski (more about this later). Glide wax, on the other hand, is - surprise, surprise - intended for gliding and reducing friction.
- Wax containing fluorine vs. non-fluorine wax: If a ski wax contains fluorine, it increases the water-repellent effect even further, so that friction conditions are improved.
More and more people are getting interested in liquid waxes. These products are especially designed to be easy to apply. They don't need special premises or a mounting device. The waxing process is very simple and time-saving, which is ideal if you want to be prepared when going out while being able to wax again if needed.
So, what do you think about the ideal wax? Basically, the most important thing is being familiar with the wax and being able to use it correctly. You should also pay attention to the temperature specifications when buying your cross-country ski care product, since not every wax is suitable for every type of snow.
By the way, if you're wondering about any absolute no-go: You should never use regular candle wax for waxing your cross-country or skating skis. After all, you can never be sure which fragrances and dyes they contain and how well your ski can handle these additives.