We have fun waxing our own skis!

We wax for two reasons: making our skis glide fast on snow and providing kick (or traction on the snow) for classic skis. Let’s learn about both!

In addition to these instructions, we will provide demonstrations and instruction for parents, help you wax your skis, and athletes will learn about certain types of waxing during practice. For a nice overview, read this.

Glide wax

Glide wax helps our skis go fast. Glide wax is a solid block of paraffin wax that we melt onto the base of the ski, iron on, and then scrape and brush off the ski. (Remember…wax on, wax off? Not that different!) For skate skiing, we glide wax the entire ski (and that's it). For classic skiing, we glide wax only the tips and tails.

Kick wax

Kick wax provides kick or traction for classic skis, crucial for forward movement. Kick wax comes in two kinds: stick wax (akin great big lip balm) and klister (a toothpaste tube filled with a sticky sap). Both provide traction on snow and we choose a wax based primarily on temperature. We apply kick wax under the skiers foot in a “kick zone.”

What do I need to do with my athlete’s skis?

  • Before the season starts, determine if you need to scrape and brush your skis.
    • Ideally, we store skis in the summer with a layer of glide wax on them ("storage wax"), leaving the scraping and brushing until the season starts.
    • Ask when you pick your skis up if they have storage wax. Otherwise, if they have a matte look and you can scrape off wax with your fingernail, you need to scrape and brush the skis.
  • Before the season starts, mark your athlete’s kick zones.
    • If you bought used skis or rented skis, remove the marks from the prior skier.
    • If you bought new skis, check to see if the store where you purchased the skis marked the kick zones.
  • Before a classic practice, lightly sand the kick zone with ~120-150 grit sand paper.
  • On a classic day, arrive at practice 20-30 minutes early.
  • Immediately after a classic practice, remove the kick wax or klister.
    • Do this the same night at the wax tent
    • Or within the next day at home
    • Unless advised by your coach, do not come back to practice with kick wax or klister on your skis
  • A few times a season, glide wax the skis (either with the wax team after practice or at home).
  • At the end of the season,
    • Whether you own or rent, remove any trace of kick wax (stick wax or klister).
    • If you own the skis, apply thick layer of glide wax and iron it on. Store the skis in your basement, interior closet, or another cool location--not an attic, shed, or detached garage that gets very hot. Label the skis with your skiers height and weight from this past season to make it easier to sell the skis next year (or save them for a younger sibling).

What do I need at home?

  • If you want to glide wax at home, you need:
    • Swix/Toko ski holder or other Nordic ski vise
    • wax iron for waxing in cold conditions (not a clothing iron!)
    • a nonfluoro glide wax (any brand, white universal)
    • 3mm or 4mm scraper
    • wax scraper
    • nylon brush
    • painter's masking tape

How can I get help?

Don't worry, we will teach you how to do all of these things. If you are a new family, stop reading here. You've done a great job!

Returning Families: Ready to learn more?

Read on! (And consider joining the wax team. You’ll make friends and learn something new while your child skis! We always welcome new families to join the wax team, too.)

If you’d like to build a better wax setup at home, you will also need:

If your skier wants to go even faster or you want to nerd out on waxing, you can read even more in the Juniors section of our website: Juniors wax equipment and Juniors "Basic" Wax Instruction Guide.