With ski season quickly melting to a close in North America, and the long hot days of summer rapidly approaching, here’s a quick primer on summer ski maintenance. There’s nothing tricky about it and you can either DIY, pay your ski shop to do it for you, or do as we do, and pay your kids $10 per pair. It gives them good experience with a useful skill (they can always work in a ski shop!) and gets one more chore off of the “to-do” list. A true “win-win.”
We started waxing our skis when our kids were involved in ski racing. We started waxing them for summer after reading a “how-to” article in SKI RACING magazine. I’ve since lost that article, but we keep summer waxing. And, if you care about your skis and you want to keep their bases from drying out, you may want to try it for yourself. By the way, the following instructions work for both alpine and nordic skis (but not the no-wax type of nordic skis).
1. Sharpen your edges and tune your skis (or get a tune at the ski shop). Prepping your skis for the upcoming season, before you store them for summer, means that when the snow flies, you scrape and go.
2. Brush your bases thoroughly to remove any lingering debris and dirt. We don’t do this, but I have been told that bases can be cleaned with a citrus-based cleaner. We use Simple Green to clean our bikes. I am thinking that it might work on skis, too. Any one out there have an opinion?
3. If you did clean your bases with a liquid, let them dry thoroughly. If not, wipe them off with a clean cloth to remove any lingering wax you brushed up.
4. Wax your skis. We use an all-purpose wax for this, Holmenkol Beta. But there are lots of different brands of wax and types of wax. Beta is an all-temperature wax. Other waxes are temperature specific and if you have one of those, you want to use a “warm” wax.
Not sure how to wax your skis? It is easy. The trickiest part is pulling the binding brakes back with a big, thick rubber band. Once the brakes are out-of-the-way, hold a chunk of wax against the hot iron and let the wax drip onto the ski. Smooth the wax into an even layer, about 1/8 inch thick.
Regarding the iron, we started out looking for a used clothing iron and ended up with a Holmenkol ski waxing iron. Why? The ski waxing iron is smaller, lighter, has better temperature controls, has a base upon which to rest and most important, does not have pesky little holes on the bottom in which the wax can get stuck.
5. Store your skis without scraping. Use ski straps to keep them base-to-base, without touching. If you live in a humid climate, try not to store them in the basement. In any climate, try to keep your skis in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
6. Come winter, scrape the night before the lifts open and you’re good to go.
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