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Chapter 16: Kick wax techniques for the perfect result

Chapter 16: Kick wax techniques for the perfect result

Master the art of kick waxing for competitions and everyday skiing with this guide. Learn to balance kick and glide for optimal performance, and discover the truth behind common waxing myths for both professional and recreational skiing.

Applying kickwaxes effectively is easy but requires some experience and knowledge about their performance. However, even skiers can be uncertain before a race, with nerves running high and conflicting wax tips.

Ski waxing often involves compromises to achieve both excellent kick and glide. Variable conditions can make this challenging, but the key is finding the best kick-glide combination for overall performance.

A common error is waxing too slippery, as skiers fear losing glide and choose a wax that's too thin or hard. Experience shows that racers lose more time uphill with poor kicks than they gain downhill with good glide.

We aim to dispel the myth that top racers use overly slippery skis for better glide. In reality, many racers use softer kick waxes than temperature suggests, create longer kick zones, and wax thicker than recreational skiers might expect.

Here are a few general tips based on our World Cup Racing Service team's extensive field experience, providing a solid foundation for making waxing decisions under pressure:

  • Practice is crucial. The more you test and experiment during training, the better you'll wax for competitions.
  • Avoid experimenting with new products or wax combinations during races.
  • If your skis perform poorly during training, take time to re-wax instead of continuing with bad skis.

By following these guidelines, you'll be well-equipped to handle waxing in competitive and casual skiing scenarios.

Our developers and Racing Service team test several thousand kilometers every year, including at our test camp in Finland.

First step: Sanding the kick zone

The first step is always to sand the grip zone using sandpaper, ensuring that the kick wax will stick to your skis when you're out in the tracks.

Typically, the kick zone starts from the heel and extends 65-70 cm forward. Specialty shops that sell racing skis can provide an exact measurement of the kick zone.

Here's a clearer version of the text with corrected spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors:

To measure yourself using the "paper method," follow these steps:

1. Place your skis on an even and flat surface.
2. Stand on both skis with half of your body weight on each ski.
3. Ask someone to move a piece of paper forward and backward between the ski and the flat surface.
4. Mark the points on each end where the paper stops. This your kick wax area.

How to rub the kick zone with sandpaper

Sandpaper is used to rub the kick zone, making it easier for the wax to stick to your skis. We're offering different tools:

  • A cork cork with velcro (T0011) together with #120 grit sandpaper (T0011SP) on one side.
  • A #100 grit sandpaper sheet (T0330).

Move the sandpaper alongside the ski in both directions. Do not sand sideways as this could round the edges of the ski and create a convex shape. This will make later passes with the waxing iron less precise.

Watch how:

Do this with new skis

When you have a new ski or a ski that has just been stone-ground, you need to treat it carefully to make sure that the wax sticks to the base. However, if the ski has already been sanded, you only need to do a few additional passes with sandpaper.

Before each race, make sure to sand the kick zone. It's important to sand only after you've finished treating the glide zones. To avoid reducing the adhesion of the wax, make sure there are no residues of glide wax products in the kick zone before you start applying kick wax.

To separate the glide and kick zones, apply a piece of paper tape (R0386). Before you apply the kick wax, use Fiberlene (T0150) to remove any dirt and burrs.

Pro tip: Use a cork or a sanding block and fold the sandpaper (T0330) around it. Tilt it on the edge at the start- and endpoint of the kick zone in order to make a sharp divider against the glide zones.

Second step: Application of base wax

Blue base wax: To be used as the first layer for hard waxes in new and fine-grained snow.

Green base binder: A durable base wax for VP- and V-waxes, ideal for coarse and old snow below -1°C (30°F).

We generally suggest using the green base binder VG035 as the initial layer in most cases. It is a safe option for skiing on longer distances or aggressive snow. However, if you are skiing on less aggressive snow such as cold, fine-grained snow, we recommend using the blue base wax VG030 as the first layer.

How to apply the base wax

  • Apply a thin layer to cover the entire sanded area and iron it into the base at 100°C.
  • After ironing, use a waxing cork to distribute the wax (T0012).
  • Let the wax base cool down before applying V0030 Blue. Iron lightly to prevent mixing.
  • Finish by lightly corking the skis and allow them to cool to outside temperature before applying today's wax.

Base waxes are commonly used in high-level racing, especially in dry and hard conditions. As a result, many top national teams prefer our base waxes. In citizen races, it is essential to use accurate base waxing to prevent the kick wax from wearing off. Both plate numbers 1 and 2 are ideal bases for dry/hard waxes, ensuring that the kick lasts longer without compromising the glide.

Third step: Apply wax of the day

Choose between our icon V line or VP, which is the modern kick wax line made for competition. You can see the entire VP series belove.

How to find the correct wax

The selection of hard wax for today's skiing session depends on various factors such as snow and air temperature, air humidity, and snow consistency. Your personal experience also plays a significant role in making the right choice. While the temperature indications on the wax boxes can provide you with a starting point, you may need to make adjustments based on your experience and the current conditions.

Tips when applying kick wax

  • Apply several thin layers instead of a few thick ones. This refers to a smooth and uniform layer that is free from any lumps or unevenness.
  • It is challenging to provide a general rule regarding the number of layers required for waxing skis, as different skis have varying stiffness and length of kick zone. However, we usually suggest using about 4 to 10 layers. If you need fewer layers, it means that your skis are too soft, and if you require more layers, your skis are probably too stiff.
  • To prevent creating a sharp edge on either end of the kick zone, we typically apply hard waxes in a pyramid shape. This involves gradually shortening the layers so that the thickness of the wax reaches its highest point at the peak of the ski curvature.
  • Typically, we start by applying 3-4 full-length layers, and then we gradually shorten the layers.
  • The waxing cork is a necessary tool for the task at hand. It is important to apply cork to each layer before applying a new one. Ensure that the groove is free of any wax residue. Additionally, run the cork down the groove a few times using the oval edge to ensure that the wax in that area is smoothed out.
  • The closer to the freezing point (0°C) and the fresher the snow, the more important it is to cork the wax to an even and smooth surface, reducing the risk of icing up.
  • We suggest you avoid corking too hard while dealing with the hardest (coldest) waxes.
  • A slight surface structure on the ski wax can increase the contact area between the wax and the snow when the ski is pressed down during the kick phase. However, during the gliding phase, when only half of the body weight is pressed on the skis, the same surface structure can decrease the contact area. This contributes to better grip and glide while skiing.

Pro tip: When waxing on conditions close to zero, you need to ski around 500 meters before the wax works optimally. Skiing creates a microstructure in the wax, increasing the contact area and improving grip.

VP - Our line of kick wax for competition

Help, I need to adjust the kick wax. What to do?

We all know the uneasy feeling when the kick wax we have applied is not performing well. Here are some possible scenarios you may encounter:

  • You nailed it. The wax you chose was spot-on and expertly applied, resulting in a perfect kick.
  • A bit of a slip-up. The wax is too hard, leaving you with skis that are too slippery.
  • On the sticky side. The wax is too soft, and now you're dealing with skis that are icing up.

We have the solution.