Family waxing expectations.

For skate practices  -  Skis fully waxed with glide wax from tip to tail.
For classic practices  -  Kick zone cleaned and sanded, glide wax on the remainder of the ski. The wax team will apply the kick wax or klister (you are welcome to join the wax team!). After practice, you will need to clean off the kick wax or klister.

Types of Waxing

Glide waxing – Glide waxing is, as it’s name implies, for gliding.  For skate skiing, glide wax is applied to the whole ski.  For classic skiing, glide wax is applied to the tips and the tails of the skis. There is no need to change glide waxes for every practice.  BKL skiers (or their parents) are encouraged to maintain their skis according to the following recommendations:

For most Weston conditions, one type of glide wax will do fine for club practices(Toko System 3 Red or Swix CH8).  A rule of thumb might be to redo your glide wax every six practices, or after a few weeks.

For the few club races, parents/kids may (optionally) consider applying more temperature specific waxes, but an important consideration is that the choice of which wax to use is based on snow temperature, which for early morning races tends to be a little colder than the air temperature. Fear not.  For these races the club will usually publish specific glide waxing recommendations a night or two before the race.

Kick, Stick or klister waxing – Stick or klister waxing is applied to the “kick zone” underneath the foot.  It is only used for classic skiing and its purpose is to grip the snow so that the skier can push off into a glide. The wax team will apply the stick wax or klister on classic practice days.

Waxing For Skate and Classic Practices

Practice information usually includes which cross-country technique we will be practicing – skate or classic. Because forecast temperature influences both technique and recommended wax, we usually post updates in our Announcements section one to two days prior to practice. We therefore encourage skiers to regularly check this section for updates, especially on the day prior to practice.

When we classic ski during practice, we ask that skiers arrive to practice about 20-30 minutes early.  Before you arrive, the “kick zone” (the area under the foot and binding) should have already been cleaned, sanded and marked.  When you arrive at a classic practice, please proceed to the area around the waxing tent.  Some of the “wax experts” will have already determined the correct stick or klister wax for the day, and a team of wax volunteers will apply the stick or klister wax for you.  Any parent that is not coaching is encouraged to help with the classic waxing. (Hint Hint :-) ).

Skate practices require no extra "homework" beyond what is mentioned for "Glide waxing".

Parents’/Skiers’ Homework:

The following should be done at home or after club practices in the waxing tent:

Glide waxing (Skate – the whole ski.  Classic or combi skis – tips and tails)

Cleaning the kick zone to remove the classic wax that was used for the classic practice that just ended.  (Classic or combi skis).  We suggest that you do this as soon as you can after a classic practice so it is not a last minute rush before the next practice.

Sanding the kick zone

Don’t wait until you arrive at a classic practice to remove old classic wax.  We need to have this time to get the new wax on as fast as possible and get your skiers out on the snow.

Waxing Equipment

Minimum equipment:
Waxing iron
Hydrocarbon wax such as Swix CH8 or Toko Red
Wax scraper
Groove scraper
Nylon brush
Paper towels
Wax remover (Goo Gone is effective)
Painter's masking tape
Sandpaper (medium ~120 grit)

Nice to have:
Wax bench or vise
Copper or bronze brush
Heat gun

See the end of this page for wax gear recommendations from some suppliers.

Where is the kick zone?  For a simple beginner guide, see the section in Rob Bradlee’s article below entitled “Where Do I Put Kick Wax?”.  A little more advanced method involves having the skier stand on the ski on a smooth floor fully (ski) clothed, and slide an index card forward and back under the foot.  The kick zone would extend as far forward and back as the index card will travel.  As you get more skilled, you can bring the skis to a local shop to have them marked.

Separate Classic and skate versus combi – Please see the simple description of combi skis in Rob Bradlee’s waxing article entitled "How to glide wax".

How to clean classic wax - Read Rob Bradlee’s article below.  There are many useful hints.

New to waxing? Below are some helpful articles and tutorials to help you learn to wax your skis and do it quickly and well. The club also has waxing tutoring sessions throughout the season. Keep an eye on announcements to see when these occur.

·         Start by reading Rob Bradlee’s article below and watching some of the videos.  If you still have questions, some of the bullets below may make it clearer and save you time.

·         When glide waxing the tips and tails of classic skis or combis(when about to be used for classic), use painter’s tape inside the kick zone.  One piece at the front and one piece at the back is good enough.  This will keep the glide wax from getting in the kick zone

·         Always keep your scraper sharp.  If you are so inclined, buy a scraper sharpener.  But many people just use 150 grit sandpaper with a block of wood.  Lean the scraper against the block of wood and rub back and forth on the sandpaper.  The sharper your scraper, the quicker you will get the scraping done and the less brushing you will need to do. 

·         How long to scrape – Until you see almost no shavings or powder coming off.  Not all skis are perfectly flat.  Watch for uneven scraping and use your scraper on different parts of the ski where you can still see the excess wax.

·         How long to brush – Until you see very little powder residue, and don’t see any smearing on the base of the ski.  Some people now use a copper brush for both cleaning before waxing and brushing after scraping.

EMBK Waxing Video

The club has produced a (very) home-made video, an intro to XC ski waxing for new parents.  This goes over the basics of what to do and complements the presentations made by waxmeisters to new parents and the article below.  The video is now available on youtube, thanks to Bob Haydock.

(NOTE to Mac Users: you may need to control click on the video links below and ask to open them in a new window to get them to run.)

Waxing basics - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0cL58pRmjA

Making a wax bench - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcdf4ITsMNY

Applying glide wax - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2embBp-IBSk

Scraping glide wax - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo5EE8x_y0I

Applying klister - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bu9g-tO2DE4

Taking off klister - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8ZNaT6EW6I

Applying kick wax - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5pZOhgZXMA


Swix Waxing Video (from beginner to advanced)

Rob Bradlee's Waxing Article

 This article is an excellent introduction to XC ski waxing written by Rob Bradlee, our local wax guru and also the local Toko company rep.  A few notes:

·       This might seem a little offputting to new ski parents.  Rob will run a waxing clinic early in the year that will emphasize the basics of

ski maintenance – its easier than it seems.

·       Rob works for Toko so his writeup refers to the Toko line.  Other lines have comparable equipment and waxes.  For example, the three basic glide waxes in the Swix line are CH8 (mid-20s – mid-30s), CH6 (high teens/low 20s), and CH4 (cold!).  Swix has a nice waxing iron (the Swix Econo Wax Iron) with a good thermostat for around $60 from mail order shops.


Wax gear recommendations from some of our suppliers:


Iron       Swix         FC-4844         $33
Vise       Swix         RD-4803        $95
Scraper                   RB-2422        $ 5
Groove scraper       MR-9004       $ 6
Brush Nylon           RB-1135        $15
Brush Brass            RB-1279        $13
Swix CH8               FB-2188        $10

Racewax offers a club discount of 10%, Please contact Alex Appleby for the discount code.

Swix makes a wax kit called the Ultimate Nordic Tool and Wax kit. This is available from a number of online retailers.

Bikeway Source:

Starter Wax Kit:
Toko T8 Wax Iron,          $80
Toko Ski Vice Nordic,     $126
NF Red                            $22
Nylon Brush                    $23
Scraper                            $6.50
Wax Remover,                 $15
Groove Cleaner,               $8
Scraper Sharpener,           $42
Total                                $322.50
with BKL Discount         $258

Bikeway Source is in Bedford at the end of the paved portion of the Minuteman Trail and is the best local source for XC ski gear.