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Spring Weather Waxing Tips

Our passion at BNS is having fun on cross-country skis, and a big part of that is making skis fast. We spend a lot of time in front of wax benches and at events figuring out the best combinations of skis, hand structure, and wax. So try out our key springtime waxing secrets:

  1. Use the fancy stuff. Fluorocarbon wax additives have developed over the past ten years and have become dominant in almost every snow condition, but where they have always made the biggest difference is high-moisture snow. If you have never dabbled with these more expensive waxes, springtime is the time of year when you should consider it. The strong water repellent qualities of fluorocarbon additives and pure fluoro powders, liquids and solids make them a vital part of spring waxing.

  2. Keep it Clean. Spring snow tends to be dirty, as all of the dust, sap, pollen and other pollutants get concentrated at the snow surface as the snowpack melts. Thinking about keeping your skis clean during and after skiing will make them run a lot faster. Clean your skis regularly and in race situations, ski as little as possible on your race skis before the start.  Brushing skis right before race start is always a good idea, but especially in wet and dirty conditions.
    We use Holmenkol nano-CFC cleaner to clean glide zones - it removes dirt and fluoro coatings without damaging structure or pulling out the wax in the base or damaging structure. Hot-scraping warm wax, while it is still molten, is also effective to remove dirt from the base but must be done with care.

  3. Get to know SkiGo Glide Waxes. SkiGo makes the best wet-snow waxes out there. When the temperature rises and snow starts to get wet enough that it can't absorb all of the moisture in it,  we go to SkiGo waxes without hesitation. SkiGo HF Yellow, C22 Powder, C22 liquid, C22 solid and CM-10 are all so good that we always feel confident using them, and often we don't even need to test because we know that they will crush everything else. They tend to become more dominant as it gets warmer and wetter, which adds to our confidence in them for the common scenario where conditions start out near freezing and the snow goes from humid to moist to wet and sloppy.
    *SkiGo HF Yellow is the dominant HF Paraffin wax in moist and wet conditions above freezing. Ask any experienced wax tech, and this is a must-have in the wax kit. HF Yellow has a good range and can go below freezing when there is a lot of moisture in the snow. It doesn't need to be wet and saturated for this wax to take off. It has great durability and does not collect dirt like a lot of other soft warm-weather waxes.  HF Yellow (formerly C242) goes on easily with an iron temp of 110-115C. Let cool, scrape and then brush with a nylon brush first, then go to fine steel and back to polishing with horsehair or nylon. That initial nylon brushing keeps the metal brush from getting clogged. Its partners LF Yellow and XC Yellow are great for training in wet conditions.
    *SkiGo C22 Powder is also dominant among fluoro powders and is the industry standard go-to fluoro powder in wet conditions. It requires slightly wetter conditions than HF Yellow to really take off, but once free moisture starts to show up in the snowpack, C22 is guaranteed to rock. It is very common to use HF Yellow under this powder. The application is a little tricky because it takes an iron at 180C to melt it, but as long as the iron moves quickly, the ski base will be safe.
    *SkiGo C22 Liquid is for wet, transformed snow. It needs to be tested before application, but when it runs, it is ridiculously fast. Use C22 fluoro liquid on top of C22 powder or straight on top of HF Yellow for shorter races. With impressive durability (15-50km), this wax will amaze you when the conditions are right for it. Apply, let dry as long as possible, then cork with a natural cork, let cool and brush.
    *SkiGo C22 Solid is one of our favorite fluoro blocks. It has an astounding range, and we test it almost 100% of the time as it has won tests at -22F and at +50F. Anytime the snow has some moisture in it, C22 solid seems to have a good chance of running. It is easy to apply - just crayon on and cork in, let cool and brush. Unlike C22 liquid, C22 solid runs in almost everything: new, old, cold, warm. It is the most universal block we have found.
    SkiGo CM10 is a fantastic complement to C22 powder. CM10 takes over when snow is wetter, dirtier and more transformed (or manmade). It comes in a large puck that crumbles easily. CM-10 can be ironed like a powder or applied like a solid topcoat with a hand cork.

  4. Learn to use structure. We have written volumes on stone grinding and applying hand structure, and the reason we are so fired up about it is that it makes a huge difference. When snow approaches freezing and free moisture starts appearing in the snowpack, structure is vital. Most people do not have the luxury of having 4-5 pairs of skis with the appropriate structure to manage each condition, so hand structure is used to adjust the ski base to deal with the moisture. Let us help you manage the stone grinds on your skis, and then you have to take over responsibility for applying hand structure, using some of our favorite tools from Finite Finish and Holmenkol. Check out the BNS Magazine for details on the tools and techniques to use to make your skis fast under every condition.

  5. Choose the fast snow. It seems silly, but when you're out skiing, search for the fast snow. When the snow starts to get wet or is falling wet, there can be dramatic differences in speed from one area of the track to another. In extremely wet conditions, moisture pools or glazes on the classic track, which can make the track considerably slower than outside the track. Search for the fast snow and remember that things constantly change, so what may have been faster on lap two might not be on lap three and it may change again for lap four.