FEATURE ARTICLES

Applying Waxes - Klister waxing
By Jim Galanes
From the 1996 Spring issue of New England Nordic News [This is the fourth and final part in a series of waxing information Jim has written for Star wax, and generously shared with NENN.

I apologize for the bad formatting. i'll try to clean it up when I get the time.


KLISTER
Klisters are used when the snow has been corned up by one or more melt freeze
cycles, or when the snow is too wet to use red hard wax. With the klister waxes
the rounder snow crystals adhere to the wax during the kick and are brushed free
during the glide forward. On ice it is hard to have good grip because of the
large size of the snow crystals; as the size of the snow crystals decreases, it
is easier to get kick. This is why the softer klister waxes are necessary for
these conditions.

Klister can be applied in two ways. If you are mixing two different klisters,
apply the klister in a herringbone pattern along each side of the groove. Space
the strips of klister about every two to three centimeters so there is room for
the other klister that is to be mixed. When mixing klisters, usually red and
silver, apply a greater amount of the red wax. To control the ratio of the two
klisters to be mixed, remember not to fill in every space in the herringbone
pattern with the mixing wax. For example, when mixing red and silver, you may
apply the red in a herringbone pattern every two to three centimeters on each
side of the groove. When applying the silver you may only fill in every two to
three spaces in the herringbone pattern.

When applying only one klister or when you are applying a base layer: the
easiest method is to draw a light bead down each side of the groove. This bead
should be smaller than the size of the bead you squeeze out of a toothpaste
tube on to your brush.

There are a couple of methods to smooth the klister. It is always necessary to
use a torch or a hot air gun. Heat the klister to soften it, then using your
hand, a cork or a klister paddle, smooth the wax. When smoothing mixed klister
it is more effective to use your thumb to mix the waxes together, and then to
finally smooth the waxes. Klister wax needs to be cooled completely to snow
temperature before you ski on it.

In most klister conditions we always recommend that a thin film, base layer of
Star Blue klister be applied first. This improves the durability of the
klister, and helps keep the softer klisters from migrating down the base. In
very icy, abrasive conditions two to three light layers of blue klister will be
more durable, elastic, than one heavy layer. Note: Most people apply too
much klister. The colder the conditions, the thinner the klister must be.

Hairies - No Wax Skis (Making Hairies)
In 1982 American ingenuity again made a strong statement at the World Cup level.
American skiers Jim Galanes and Bill Koch in the days before the World Cup race
in Falun, Sweden began experimenting with sanding the kick zone of the skis with
60 and 80 grit sand paper to get kick in the difficult new fallen, wet snow
conditions they encountered. In the 30 kilometer World Cup race the conditions
were perfect for this technique. Bill Koch won the race using this no-wax
method and again caught the traditionalists off guard.

Under the right conditions this method is far superior to normal wax. We
caution that this method of base preparation has a very narrow range. It only
works effectively in new fallen wet snow conditions, preferably while it is
still snowing. If it is not snowing, or if the tracks glaze excessively, or if
the snow dries out, this method will not work.

Abrading the base involves roughing the base with a rasp or 60-80 grit sand
paper. The kick zone needs to be clean, free of old wax before you abrade. The
abrading creates small polyethylene hairs from the base. These hairs grip the
wet snow and provide outstanding kick. We recommend that when using this
technique, you prepare the kick zone slightly shorter than you would normally
wax. After abrading you need to apply a silicone fluid to the kick zone. This
prevents the hairs from matting and the snow from freezing to the base. In the
1992 Olympics we also had outstanding success by sprinkling fluoro powder over
the kick zone and rubbing it vigorously with the palm.

Before abraded skis can be waxed again for other snow conditions, the skis must
be scraped smooth again. Because abrading and re-smoothing process eats up the
base material, this cannot be done very often without ruining the skis. Top
racers may keep one pair of skis just for this condition.

Jim Galanes is now living in Anchorage, Alaska, where he has started the GOLD
2002 program, with the goal of winning medals in the 2002 Olympics, as well as
ensuring long term success in cross country ski racing. His program has already
attracted a broad range of athletes from juniors to masters skiers. For more
info on Jim's program, check the web site
http://www.arctic.net/xc/elite/program.html
[803 wds]