Kick Waxes in General
By understanding the basics of the wax line, and learning to evaluate types of snow and their relationship to temperature, selecting kick wax becomes easy. Modern kick waxes have improved with better raw materials and formulations, and with almost all skiing trails being maintained by grooming machines, wax selection has become simplified.
Choosing the right kick wax for classic skiing can be easy, interesting and a rewarding challenge. With the advent of skating, many skiers avoid classic skiing and even classic races by choosing skating when they feel the waxing might be difficult. In doing this they likely will not learn to be proficient at kick waxing and will miss many rewarding opportunities to ski the traditional way.
Basically kick wax works by taking an imprint of the snow surface when the ski is pressed into the snow during classic technique weight shift. The snow momentarily “grips” the wax and allows the skier to push off for the next stride. The hardness of snow crystals is related to temperature. The colder the snow crystals, the harder the wax can be and still take the proper snow crystal imprint. As the temperature gets warmer, and the snow becomes older (transformed), the crystals become more rounded, thus the waxes need to get softer.
In the case of klister, generally the snow has gone through cycles of thawing and refreezing giving the snow very coarse-grained (rounded) characteristics. It takes a thicker, elastic type wax like klister to take an imprint of corn type snow crystals. Skiing on classic corn snow conditions with the right klister is truly fun giving great kick and great glide.
Where waxing can get tricky is right around the freezing point when the snow is fresh. The combination of sharp, new snow crystals at a relatively warm temperature means increased friction in the gliding phase. The frictional melting and fine grained snow in combination with a soft wax can cause ice to form in the wax. The result can be slippery skis from the ice layer or an impossible build-up of snow in the wax. There are ways to deal with this, however, and these will be addressed below.
For more help about choosing the right wax, remember to check out the Swix Wax Wizard on our web page http://www.swixsport.com. To see and learn more about how the pros are preparing their skis, visit: http://www.swixschool.com/.