FEATURE ARTICLES

Prepping Your Skis for Winter



Fall can be rough on a skier. The shivers of excitement brought on by any hints of snow are crushed by spells of warm weather. Well folks, don&Mac226;t let the next warm spell fool you, winter is coming; it&Mac226;s coming big this year, and you&Mac226;re going to want to get your boards ready in time.

Since we&Mac226;re all starting out with our skis in different conditions and with different expectations, we&Mac226;ll break up into several groups. We will call our first group the minimalists; they will do the minimum amount of work one should do to make sure their skis perform this winter. The second group will be broken up into several more groups. Minimalists please start at step1. The rest of you keep reading below.

If your skis spent the summer under a protective layer of wax this summer and you&Mac226;re not interested in having them stone-ground this fall, you are in group A. Group A please scrape your summer wax off and begin at step 1b. If your skis spent the summer under a layer of wax this summer and you want to get them stone-ground you are in group B. Group B, scrape your skis, and, after getting them ground, please start at step 4. If your skis spent the summer naked and you are getting them stone-ground you are in group C. Group C starts from step 1a. If your skis spent the summer naked and you are not getting them ground or if you have brand new skis, follow all the steps.

STEP #1a. To remove and loosen any dirt that might have landed on the bases, brush each ski from tip to tail with a soft Swix nylon brush. If you run some fiberlene down the base and the fiberlene turns up dirty then keep brushing. Group C should now skip to step 5.

STEP #1b. On classical skis make sure your kick zone is free of old kick wax. Don&Mac226;t be shy about using some wax remover (I prefer a Swix citrus based wax remover only because it smells better). From here the minimalists should jump to step 5.
If your kick zones are well defined, sand the zones using a solid sanding bock with 100-grit paper. (Do not use cork or a brush or the palms of your hands). Sand only the kick zone, moving from tip to tail - not edge to edge. Be careful not to overdo it, especially if you have cold hard wax skis. If your zones are not well-defined (that is, you kick wax all over the place depending on snow type, mood, or astrology), sand the shortest zone you use, or don't sand at all.

STEP #2. On the glide zones of classical skis and the entire length of skating skis, delicately, very delicately, extra delicately use a non-beat-up brass brush by running it tip to tail. Old and abused brass brushes have pieces of metal sticking every which way. When you run it down your ski, some of them are digging into the base, while some are running along it smoothly. A new brass brush is a delight to have; treat it kindly and it&Mac226;ll be around a while. Make at least 5 or as many as 20 light passes down the ski.

STEP #3 Next, very lightly (more or harder is not better) swipe the skis from tip to tail with a Swix T-89 blade tool to remove any extra PE hairs. Repeat 2-3 times until you have removed all the hairs from the base. If you don&Mac226;t have a Swix T-89, don&Mac226;t substitute it with a normal metal scraper - they dig too deep.

STEP#4 For your skis, a good fibertexing is kind of like going for a ski. The abrasive characteristics of a soft fibertex are similar to snow. For you, fibertexing is not as fun as skiing, but worth the effort. Use the softest fibertex available (generally white fibertex). Secure your fibertex around a solid sanding block and, using fair to moderate pressure, run the fibertex tip to tale. Generally it is hard to keep pressure all the way down the ski, so I do the ski in three or four sections making 10 to 15 passes on each section before moving on. Using this method make at least two trips down the ski. If you prefer doing one long pass down the ski then do it 30 times. On skis you will use primarily in cold conditions it can make them very fast to fibertex them a lot. Swap out the old fibertex when it becomes dark or glossy. To prolong the life of a piece of fibertex, you can rough it up and clean it off by lightly brushing it with a nylon brush. The fresher the piece of fibertex the better the job it does.

STEP #5 To clean your skis, „hot wipe‰ the bases using Swix CH10. All bases are very sensitive. While your skis are new, or dried out after spending the summer naked take extra care not to overheat your bases. Inexpensive irons emit inconsistent amounts of heat and can easily cook your ski base. Drip wax onto the ski from tip to tail. Now, starting at the tip, move the iron along the length of the ski in one long, slow swipe all the way to the tail. Wax with just enough heat to melt the wax. Repeat this process - always starting at the tip. This will increase wax absorption and decrease the risk of overheating the base. Next, while the wax is still molten, remove all excess wax with a sharp plastic scraper and Fiberlene. This will remove dirt and grit from in and on your base. After hot wiping, let the bases cool down. Minimalists, you are now free to ski. I do however recommend applying one layer of CH 6 (a great all-around wax), letting it cool before scrapping. Group C may get their skis ground at this point. After the skis are ground start out at step 4.

STEP #6 Now that your bases are freshened up and clean, apply at least 5 layers of CH10. If your skis were naked this summer or if they are new, apply more layers.
Your skis are now ready for the racing season.

Are you?