Waxed and Unwaxed Cross-Country Skis (When and How to Wax Them) (2023)

One of the biggest decisions you have to make when it comes to cross country skiing is choosing the type of ski. Waxed and unwaxed skis have their pros and cons. But you really can't go wrong with either one.

To help you choose, you must first understand how they work, the importance of waxing, and when and how to wax them. So read on to find out more.

What are the two main types of cross-country skiing?

BothThe main types of cross-country skiing are classic and skating.. While both are made on groomed tracks, quite a bit of equipment differs. They also use different techniques.

When it comes to movementsclassic over fieldit's more like walking or running on skis. In the meantime, the technique of skateboarding is like ice skating or rollerblading.

What is a cross-country ski without wax?

Skis without wax have a grip area at the bottom. This grip zone (also known as the kick zone) allows your skis to grip the snow and give you traction as you move. They often take the form of a textured pattern or a climbing skin strip.

With this type of ski, you don't need to apply kick wax to get traction. It is the most comfortable and low maintenance option compared to waxable skis. That's why it's a popular choice among cross-country skiers.

How do cross-country skis work without wax?

Skis without wax have a textured pattern that allows them to grip the snow. And this is important for climbing uphill or maintaining momentum on level ground. Pattern designs vary, but the most common are as follows:

  • fish scales: Has a scale pattern on the underside.
  • High: a blurry material at the base.
  • Null: a sandpaper-like material.

Are all cross-country skis without wax?

Not allLanglaufskithey are without wax. There are waxable skis where you apply kick wax to the kick zone to create grip and traction. Even unwaxed models have parts that need to be waxed.

(Video) SWIX Solid Wax Application (XC Skiing)

How do I know if my cross country skis don't have wax?

You know your ski has no wax when there is a textured pattern on the bottom of the ski, below where the bindings should be. They come in a variety of textures that allow them to grip the snow. If it's smooth and shiny, it's a waxable ski.

Are cross-country skis good without wax?

Wax free skis are great to use and is one of the reasons they are popular. It's also more convenient since you don't need to apply grip wax before skiing.

With wax-free skis you get a good balance between grip and glide. It has enough grip to generate traction and slide when needed so you can keep your propulsion going. They also work well in a variety of snow conditions, another reason they're pretty good.

Can cross-country skis be waxed without wax?

Skis without wax are a bit tricky. While they are designed to work well without adding grip wax in the kick zone, you still need to wax the other parts.

As for the kick zone, you can still wax that area if you want. This will give you extra traction and slip. It can also reduce wear and tear and increase longevity.

Need to wax your cross country skis without wax?

It is not necessary to wax the kick area of ​​skis without wax. They work fine without wax as intended.

However, the tail and tips, also known as the slip zone, need to be waxed. There are untextured areas where you need to apply glide wax. This will help you glide properly and easily. Without them you could experience too much friction and you have to work really hard just to move.

What are fish scales on cross country skis?

Fish scales on cross country skis refer to the textured pattern on the underside of the ski. You can find it in the burn zone under the binding. They are called fish scales because of their similar pattern to fish scales.

How are Fishscale cross country skis waxed?

Usually it is not necessary to wax the fish scales. The texture alone is enough to provide support. However, it is recommended to wax the tip and tail area. But instead of using grip wax, apply glide wax. Since you already have the fish scales to provide the grip, the glide wax on the tips and ends will help give you a smoother ride when gliding.

(Video) McBike explains Waxable and Non-Wax or Waxless XC Skis

Need to wax your cross country skis?

Cross country skis need to be waxed, but the wax used varies depending on the part of the ski.

For waxable cross-country skis, you should apply kick wax to the kick zone and glide wax to the tips and ends.

For unwaxed cross-country skis, grip wax is optional in the step area, but glide wax is required on the tips and tail.

Do new cross-country skis need wax?

If your new pair of skis are waxable, you should wax them before use.

For unwaxed skis, you should apply glide wax to the tips and ends. As for the kick zone, some skiers still recommend applying grip wax, even if their skis are brand new. You don't know how long the skis have been in the workshop and the wax has dried out.

How are new cross-country skis waxed?

If you choose to wax new skis, the process is no different than waxing used or old skis. However, some recommend sanding down the tread area of ​​new skis with sandpaper.

For the hair removal process itself, there are three basic steps:

  1. Floor cleaning:Use a brush to remove dirt and dry snow from your skis. This will ensure the base is smooth and clean for the wax to adhere properly. Brush in one direction only, ideally from tip to tail.
  2. Wax application:For this step you will need a wax melting iron to apply the wax to the ski base. It also allows you to regulate the temperature of the wax depending on the wax you use. Once the wax is hot enough, drip onto the base. Then use the iron to spread it evenly.
  3. Brushing and scraping the base:Once the wax has cooled to room temperature you will need to scrape off the excess wax.

Do old cross-country skis need wax?

As long as your skis are intact and in good condition, they still need to be waxed. Once the wax has worn off, you need to apply a new coat.

One way to know when to wax is if there is discoloration on the underside of your ski. It looks chalky, white and dry. You can also tell when your ski isn't working as it should. A good wax should be able to get you back on track.

(Video) Should you Wax a new set of skis? Awesome set of Salomon Max 80 in for a full Wax

Do all cross-country skis have scales?

Only unwaxed cross-country skis have dandruff. The textured pattern in the kick zone, also called fish scales, allows the ski to grip the snow.

Do you grow scales on cross-country skis?

It is not necessary to wax the scales on unwaxed cross-country skis. The pattern and texture is enough to get a grip on the snow. Although some skiers still apply a thin coat of grip wax to maintain texture. However, because of the pattern, it can be difficult to remove the old wax. So tread carefully.

How often should cross-country skis be waxed?

How often you wax your skis depends on how much you ski. Snow conditions can also affect wax. Assuming you are skiing during the winter season, regular skiers should wax their skis every 3-5 days. If you're a seasonal skier, be sure to wax before you ride every time.

How do I know if I need to wax my cross country skis?

There are several ways to tell when it's time to wax your cross country skis. First, skis dry out easily when stored for a while. So if you only ski in winter, you need to wax before use.

Second, if you notice a drop in performance in your ski and aren't going as fast as you normally would, it may be time to wax. This can occur after 2 days of consistent skiing.

Third, check your ski base. If the wax has become discolored, dirty, or chalky, it's definitely time to wax.

What kind of wax do you use for cross country skis?

The type of wax you use depends on the type of cross-country ski you have. For waxable skis you need grip wax and glide wax. For skis without wax you only need a glide wax.

Grip wax is applied under the ski in the same area as the binding. Provides the grip you need to gain traction and prevent slipping. The glide wax is applied to the tips and tails. This ensures you can glide smoothly every time.

Does cross country wax go bad?

Cross-country skis do not spoil or expire because they contain no perishable ingredients.

(Video) Prepping Skis for the Season: Removing ski edge rust + sharpening edges + waxing skis

How long does cross country wax last?

Typically each application lasts about 20 miles. However, you must consider how fast or aggressive he is. Also consider the terrain and snow conditions. You can grow 4-5 times every time you ski.

How do you clean cross-country skis before waxing?

You couldClean your cross-country skiswith different tools. To clean the step area and remove dirt and debris, you will need a paper towel. In the meantime you will need a steel or bronze brush for the tips and tails. A steel brush is more suitable when there is a lot of dirt, debris and old wax on the base. A brass brush is sufficient for less dirty skis.

In addition to a brush, you can also use a liquid ski cleaner. Removes dirt, soot and thin layers of wax.

How do you remove old wax from cross country skis?

You can remove old wax with a plastic scraper, brush, and wax remover. Removing the old wax is essential before waxing the skis. Dirt and debris can clog the old wax and prevent you from evenly applying a new coat. It can also prevent your ski from performing as well as it should.

What removes wax from cross country skis?

The way the wax is removed is different for kick wax and glide wax. Before removing the old wax, be sure to wipe away any loose dirt with a paper towel. Then use a plastic scraper to remove the old wax. But remember not to push too hard as you may damage your ski. Scrape in a downward motion to move the wax away from the clean area.

When this is done, you can remove the wax from cross-country skis as follows:

  • Wax for kicks: Use a good quality wax remover solution. Pour the product onto a paper towel and wipe away any remaining wax.
  • glide wax: Use a brush to remove remaining wax.

How to wax cross country skis without an iron

There are two ways to wax skis without an iron. The first is to use liquid ski wax. It is the easiest and most convenient method to use. Once your skis are clean, simply spray the wax onto your skis.

The second method is to use a broken wool brush. Armed with the right tools, apply the wax to the brush as it spins. Then apply the wax to your skis with the broken wool.


1. The World's First Wax Test
(Vintage Ski Video)
2. Ski Snowboard Nordic Waxing Iron
(mark Kinder)
3. KMAC | Glide Waxing Shortcut
(Kettle Moraine Adventure Company)
4. Tip - Skinbased Care
(Jari Perho)
5. No Wax
6. How To Wax A Skate Obstacle
(Tom Snyder)


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