It’s May, and with the 2014-15 season officially in the rearview mirror, we have officially entered the 2015-16 training year and it’s dryland season. It is time to prepare your skis for fall and get ready for roller ski season.
In terms of your skis, make sure your skis are ready to go so that you can maximise your on-snow time come fall. Glide zones left dirty and dry will oxidize over the summer, leaving them feeling slow even with new wax in the fall.
The last thing you want is to grab a pair of classic skis soiled with old klister and debris from last spring when the new season arrives with that klister left on over the hot summer has run down the bases leaving you with a real mess to clean.
Start with cleaning off any remains of klister and kick wax. Scrape off the worst with a klister paddle. Then apply liberal amounts of wax cleaner. Wipe clean and dry with Fiberlene or shop towel. Feel the surfaces with your hands after to make sure all sticky residues are removed. Don’t forget to wipe down the glide zones, bindings, tops and sides of the skis as well.
Once the skis are clean and dry, start applying glide wax to all glide zones (don’t glide wax the kick zone on classic skis). Use a medium-hard glide wax, such as Swix CH/LF7 or similar from other manufacturers. Using a medium-hard glide wax for summer storage saves the step of rewaxing with a colder glide wax when you are ready for the first ski in the fall: You just scrape off your summer wax and go!
With skis waxed and put away, take stock of the rest of your gear too. Look over your poles and repair or replace any baskets or broken parts. If you are using the same poles for roller skiing, now is a good time to switch from snow baskets to roller ski ferrules using a small pot of boiling water to warm the pole glue. There is no need to add more glue, simply warm the basket in the boiling water, remove and slide on the roller ski tip and let cool. When complete save the baskets in a convenient location so that you can change back come fall.
One thing to keep in mind is that roller skiing is particularly hard on carbon race poles, as the repetitive pounding on pavement puts a lot of stress on the carbon fibers. Therefore, you might consider whether you want to use your best carbon poles for everyday roller ski workouts. Snow is more forgiving than pavement, and doesn’t create the same kind of impact.
Also when switching to roller skiing you will be using a thinner glove so getting the most out of the pole requires paying attention to adjusting the strap properly and keeping your roller ski ferrules razor sharp. Dull ferrules increase the impact from pole planting on elbows and shoulders, which are the most injury-prone joints in terms of overuse when roller skiing.
Sharp ferrules prevent the poles from slipping and provide a more snow-like feel, reducing the need to pound your poles into the pavement with unreasonable amounts of force. The best way we have found to sharpen ferrules is with a dremel with a carbide grinding stone, a service we offer at the shop.
And what about your wax and grooming tools, klister tubes that have been opened always pose a problem, and the summer heat just makes it worse. Grab some Fiberlene or shop towels and some base cleaner, wipe down all the containers, and make sure the caps are on tightly. Push the content to the front of the tube, and roll up the bottoms. Store them standing up with the caps pointing up to prevent them from running. And if you have an old fridge in your garage or basement, this makes a great summer storage for klister. Other ski wax can be stored at room temperature.
Also, clean off your wax iron, tables and wax forums, brushes and scrapers. Putting your brushes in the freezer for a couple of hours makes it easier to get all the old wax shavings out of the bristles.
And finally, do a quick inventory of the wax box. Write a list of which products your are out of or low on, so you are armed and ready when you make the first wax run in the fall.
The work you put in now in both ski preparation and maintaining roller ski ferrule sharpness pays off in the fall, once it’s snowing, so you can devote your time to training and putting in valuable time on snow.