Our guide to waxing cross-country skis

Our guide to waxing cross-country skis

Protecting and maintaining your cross-country skis involves regular waxing of the base. HOW TO DO IT Which wax to use When should I wax my skis? We tell you all!

The main operation of waxing consists of coating the soles of the skis with wax, a product that protects them in the long term and guarantees a good glide on the snow. 
This is a rather technical act, but you can do it yourself if you are well equipped and follow a few steps.

What material kit is needed?

Waxing your cross-country skis means getting a few tools, which you can use every time you need to maintain them. You can opt for a ready-made waxing kit, or compose your own "waxing case" with :
- a liquid wax remover
- wax
- a waxing iron
- a nylon brush
- a metal scraper (or a plastic scraper, but the handling will be less easy)
- a clean, dry cloth

During the waxing process, your skis must be stationary so that you are comfortable and can carry out the various steps correctly. If you are not already equipped, you need:

- a waxing table (or workbench)
- a waxing vice.

Do you have everything? We'd like to remind you of the cross-country ski lexicon before you start waxing!

1. Outsole : this is the part underneath the ski, on which you put your skins and which is in direct contact with the snow when you descend. That's who you'll be waxing.

2. Edges : these correspond to the metal edges on the sides of your ski, at the level of the sole. They are sharp to ensure a good grip in the snow and the control of your trajectories. When the edges are dull (damaged), sharpening is necessary to restore their grip.

3. Skins or anti-slip hides: these two synthetic fabric strips have bristles on one side and glue on the other so they can be placed on the soles. They allow the skis to grip the snow well on the way up, so that they don't slip back.

4. Tip : this is the end of the ski that you see in front of you when you have it on your foot. Its shape is slightly raised.

5. Tail : this time it's the back of the ski, behind your heel. When we talk about the "direction of the glide", the movement starts from the tip and goes to the heel of the ski.

Our guide to waxing cross-country skis

Tutorial: how to wax cross-country skis

Before you start cleaning and waxing your cross-country skis, make sure you are in a well-ventilated room so that the toxic fumes from the wax do not bother you.

1. Clean the skis

► Brush the soles with the nylon brush to remove the biggest impurities, in the direction of the glide (from the tip to the tail of the ski).
► Apply wax remover to the soles, a product that removes wax residues and remaining dirt in preparation for waxing.

2. Waxing the skis

► Clamp the first ski on the table with the vice, positioning its sole towards the ceiling.
Heat the iron, referring to the wax instructions for the correct temperature setting.
► Stand over the ski with the iron and wax in each hand. Put one side of the wax on the iron to melt it and drip it all over the sole.  
Use the iron to spread the wax evenly over the base, in the direction of travel, without stopping the iron on any part of the base. You should finish with wax on the entire surface of the sole.
► Allow the wax to cool (15 to 30 minutes).
► Position the scraper (plastic or metal) vertically and scrape the excess wax off the base, always using regular movements from front to back. This may be more difficult with a plastic scraper, especially if the wax layer is quite thick.
Brush the sole again to remove wax residue and achieve a clean finish.
Wipe the base with your cloth to remove any small impurities that might interfere with the bonding of the skins to the ski.
► Do the same with the other ski.

Our guide to waxing cross-country skis

The right idea against kicking:

Are you on a cross-country ski trip and your skins are "kicking"? 
Always take with you a suitable cold wax to put on the skins and on your skis when the snow accumulates under the skins. You can also pencil in your skins and soles with your classic wax bar.

If you don't want to start waxing your skis, don't hesitate to entrust them to the technicians of a DECATHLON workshop to have them waxed according to their use and the type of waxing required.

Our guide to waxing cross-country skis

How to choose a ski helmet

There are different types of waxes adapted to the type of snow, the outside temperature and your skiing style. You can find these 5 types of wax, recognizable by their colour, in specialized shops:

➡️ yellow wax: temperatures between -6 °C and +20 °C, suitable for rather warm days
➡️ universal wax: temperatures between -8 °C and +15 °C, suitable for all conditions, it is the most versatile
➡️ red wax: temperatures between -14 °C and -4 °C, its duration of action is longer
➡️ blue wax: temperatures between -25°C and -12°C, suitable for the coldest days, it is more of an auxiliary wax designed for short durations
➡️ competition wax: reserved for professionals, it is more concentrated in surfactants.

Waxes can be solid and applied hot (with the iron) or liquid and applied cold. We advise you to choose your wax according to the type of snow (cold, temperate, wet...) and your frequency of use.

When should I wax my skis?

In general, it is advisable to wax cross-country skis just before the season starts and when the season is over, so twice a season for minimum maintenance. At the beginning of the season, this is an opportunity to put on a wax adapted to the snow conditions. At the end of the season, it is best to use a universal wax without scraping off the excess to protect the sole during the storage period. The skis may also need to be re-waxed during the season.

How do I know if I should wax my skis during the season?

If you use your skis intensively or if you notice any signs of drying out or damage, it is best to re-wax your skis or snowboard during the season. To be sure, just look at the sole: if it has turned white or if you see scratches or small holes, you should wax it!

You may also notice that the edges are not quite smooth or feel that they are not gripping the snow well when skiing. To see if they are in good condition, run a fingernail over them. Is it scratched? The edges must be sharpened (using an edge sharpener) to restore their grip.

Our guide to waxing cross-country skis

Should you wax new skis?

New skis and snowboards are usually already waxed and sharpened (this is always the case with DECATHLON models). So you don't need to wax them before the first use, even if they have been sitting in a cupboard for several months. The sharpening is also already done. All you have to do is go skiing!

How do you maintain your cross-country or downhill skiing bindings?

As far as ski bindings are concerned, there are a few quick and simple recommendations for maintaining them:

➡️ wipe them with a synthetic cloth after each outing to remove moisture
➡️ loosen the screws before storing them for their wintering period, to relieve the spring.

The storage conditions of the skis are also important, especially for the bindings. Choose a dry, moisture-free location to prevent water from seeping into the components and structure of the skis. If you can, put the skis in a storage bag and store them in a dark place where the temperature does not vary too much. These storage tips also apply to cross-country skis, downhill skis and snowboards. Poor storage conditions could ruin all your maintenance work.

Our guide to waxing cross-country skis

Regular and well done waxing contributes to quality outings and to the extension of the life of your soles, and therefore of your skis. Find out about all the maintenance and repair services available in the DECATHLON workshops to take care of your ski and snowboard equipment. Have a nice time!

Our guide to waxing cross-country skis



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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