Maintenance guide for cross-country skis with scales and skins

Maintenance guide for cross-country skis with scales and skins

Classic cross-country skis with scales and skins require special care to get the most out of them. Nothing complicated, don't worry, we'll explain!

Scale and sealskin cross-country skis belong to the category of classic cross-country skis, which also includes wax skis. 
Find out how to maintain them (or have them maintained) according to their specific characteristics in order to maintain good gliding and grip.

How to care for cross-country skis with scales and skins?

The advantage of scale and skin skis is that they are very easy to care for and don't need wax to hold on to on the way up. However, this does not mean that you are exempt from waxing the soles of your skis in the gliding area. Located under the ski, the sole is in fact made up of two zones:

➡️ the glide area: it is behind your heel and in front of your toes when you put your skis on, it is the smooth part of the sole
➡️ the grip zone: located in the centre of the sole, this is where the scales are located or where you place the skins depending on the type of ski.

1. Clean the base

Before waxing, clean the base of your skis to prepare it and eliminate the impurities accumulated during your outings. Brush it with a nylon brush in the direction of travel (from the front to the back of the ski). You can also use liquid wax remover to remove any dirt that remains embedded in the sole.

Our maintenance tip: don't just clean the soles of your cross-country skis before waxing, do it after each outing! With a cloth, rub and dry your soles to prevent the skis from deforming due to moisture and rust.

2. Wax the glide zone

The glide zone is the part of the cross-country skis with scales and skins that deserves the greatest care. To maintain it, you have to wax it, i.e. apply a suitable product, wax. You can do it yourself with a little bit of equipment and by doing the right things. Unlike waxed cross-country skis, the grip zone does not need to be waxed on these two types of skis.

You need:

👉 a nylon brush
👉 a solid block of glide wax
👉 a waxing table
👉 a plastic scraper
👉 a waxing table (or a workbench)
👉 a vise
👉 a groove pencil.

You can also make an appointment in the workshop of a DECATHLON shop to have your skis waxed by our technicians.

How to maintain and wax skins

Once waxed, the maintenance of your cross-country skis with skins also involves the maintenance of the sealskins. After each outing, run a cloth over it to remove dirt and snow that has accumulated inside. To prevent the snow from sticking to the skins and to improve the glide, you can also apply a special wax to dry skins.

Are your skins worn out and no longer offer sufficient restraint for your ski trips? It’s time to replace them!
You will need:

- a heat gun (or hair dryer)
- a new pair of sealskins
- a clean cloth.

Let's go!

Remove the old skins from the base of the skis starting from the tip (front part of the ski) to the tail (back part). The skins can be removed more easily by heating them a little with a heat gun or hair dryer.

► Once the skins have been removed, clean the grip area of the sole with the cloth.

Place the new skins in the intended location on the soles.

Stick the skins down by pressing on them with your thumbs, from the heel to the tip.

How to wax ski scales

The grip zone of cross-country skis with scales prevents you from sliding backwards when climbing. Maintenance is easy: do nothing! The scales do not need to be waxed, just the glide zone needs to be maintained and waxed to extend the life of the skis. 

Good to know: scale skis are particularly recommended if you are a beginner or intermediate cross-country skier. They offer an ideal compromise between good grip, smooth gliding and low maintenance.

Maintenance guide for cross-country scales with flakes and skins

Waxing: choosing a liquid or solid wax

Glide wax is available in solid or liquid form. Liquid wax is applied cold and takes the form of an aerosol or a stick with application foam. It is quick and easy to use and does not require any special equipment. Perfect for last minute waxing, it complements, but does not replace, solid wax.

Solid wax is applied hot and takes the form of a bar of soap. You will find it in different colours, each corresponding to an outdoor temperature.. This type of wax requires specific equipment to apply it (waxing iron, scraper, nylon brush, etc). It is a wax that offers excellent gliding qualities and helps to maintain and protect the base of the skis depending on the temperature and snow conditions.

Tip for your new skis: to achieve an optimal level of gliding, several consecutive waxings of the gliding area are recommended. And if you want to maintain the performance of your skis over time, don't forget to wax them regularly (every 2 to 3 outings)!

Caring for your skis at the end of the season

After your last outing of the season, learn how to maintain your skis and boots so that you can store your cross-country ski equipment in good condition. Storage has an impact on the condition of cross-country skis, downhill skis and snowboards. If you want to avoid unpleasant surprises, do not neglect it!

Cross country skating: what type of wax?

Skating is a newer form of cross-country skiing than classical cross-country skiing. Also more strenuous, this method is reminiscent of ice skating and rollerblading. Find out how to maintain and wax your cross-country skating skis or make an appointment in the workshop of a DECATHLON shop.

👉 Maintaining and waxing your skating skis  
👉 Having your skating skis waxed at DECATHLON

Maintenance guide for cross-country scales with flakes and skins

What is the structure of a cross-country ski?

Traditional DECATHLON skating cross-country skis are made up of a superposition of layers assembled with a press:

- The core: it is the heart of the ski, it is made of wood or composite

- The sole: You know it by heart by now, it is made of high density polyethylene (HDPE), sintered or extruded

- The grip area: it is made of scales or holds seal skins

- The topsheet: this is the layer that protects the top of the ski.

Now you know everything, you just have to enjoy your skiing friends during the winter!

Maintenance guide for cross-country scales with flakes and skins



Dancer, hiker and former judoka, I’m a big Fit’Ballet enthusiast, an activity that combines fitness and classic dance. I love giving you my tips to help you with your sporting activities!


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