Mystery of grip waxes for cross country ski

24.04.2018

15.01.2015 Before I had a few unsorted waxes by "Swix", because it was easy to buy them at any sport store.
Sometimes they worked well, sometimes - not, just because I did not have full range to try appropriate wax for the temperature. Swix have 8 waxes only at its basic line and, I must tell you, they are not cheap!
At this year I decided to solve this problem: buy full range of basic waxes by one brand and study how to use them by proper way. I have picked "Vauhti", because veterans from my sport club prefers this brand. They have idea "This waxes made in Finland and must be good for north-west of Russia, because we are neighbors". May be this is not true, but anyway, at this case they can advise me about tested recipes of waxing.
So, now I have range of four synthetic waxes by Vauhti, base wax and two tar waxes - enough for testing and study. :-)

10.02.2015 After series of experiments I must tell you - my first idea was wrong. :-)

For amateurs like me, there is no real difference between brands. And you don't need buy full range of waxes, but only some which is used for your specific weather conditions. It is better to put energy to skiing and study, what recipes are working for you and why.

In reality you need three or four synthetic or tar hard waxes for temperatures below freezing. If you use Vauhti, they will be:

If you have Swix, they will be, for example:

And you need an universal clister for old snow and temperatures above zero.

That's all grip waxes you need to enjoying classic skiing.


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Formal description ski waxes from Vauhti

Source: Tech manual 2012-2013.

VAUHTI Synthetic Grip Waxes

Basic grip wax series for all snow types. These waxes are durable and easy to apply, suitable for race or recreational use. To make grip waxing easy, we have combined this series into four Synthetic grip waxes.

SL220 Red +1...-2 °C

Aluminium AT red grip wax for all snow types. Apply in fine layers. Up to -3 °C in older snow.

SL250 Carrot -1...-6 °C

Grip wax for a wide range of weather conditions. Up to -12°C in older snow. In -1...-2°C, apply a layer of red grip wax underneath.

SL260 Blue -5...-15 °C

All-purpose grip wax for cold weather conditions. Can be used on its own, or on top of "Orange" (Carrot), at -8°C and colder weather conditions.

SL270 Green -10...-30 °C

Grip wax for very cold conditions. This wax is used on top of other softer grip waxes (Orange, Blue), when temperatures are below -10°C. The wax gives the glide, whilst the softer grip wax improves the grip.

GB480 Basewax AT

Universal base wax. AT means Aulis Tolsan, developer the recipe. This wax can be applied on by cork without heating.

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VAUHTI Tar Grip Waxes

One of the raw materials used in the Tar Grip Wax is a pit tar made from the Finnish pine wood. Tar waxes span a wide working range, have easier waxing properties than other grip waxes and also have a pleasant aroma. They are especially suited for recreational skiers, although their properties are attractive and useful even for the most demanding racers.
To make grip waxing easy, we have combined the best qualities of the tar grip wax range, and scaled down the series into three grip waxes. These three grip waxes are perfect from wet snow conditions to temperatures reaching -20°C.

GT610 Tar Red +1...-1 °C

For new snow, at temperatures marked on the packaging. If the snow is old or coarse, and the track is well-used, the grip wax can be used up to -3°C.

GT612 Tar Orange -1...-6 °C

Recreational skier’s all-purpose grip wax for weather conditions just below freezing. Easy to apply, and durable grip wax with a wide operating range. If the ski track is hard, and the snow is few days old, a good operating range is from -1⁰ down to -12 degrees.

GT614 Tar Green -6...-20 °C

General purpose grip wax for cold weather conditions and all snow types.

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Old range of Vauhti grip waxes - year 2012

Now, at 2015 there are four synthetic and three tar waxes. Vauhti shrink basic range - throw away some waxes from line and re-mark others. I found an old catalogue 2011-2012, and there was different ranges:

Old Synthetic Waxes

Old Tar Waxes

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How to wax ski

  1. Clean the grip zone from old wax and sand it by sanding paper.
  2. Rub a layer of base wax, smoothing it by iron or by cork and a heat gun.
  3. Put on top of base wax 2-6 layers of appropriate grip wax. First 2-3 layers - on full length of this zone, then reducing length of layer to get more wax at middle.
  4. Cool ski before using.
    P.S. To improve grip, put last layer of wax on a cooled ski.

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Right choice of Vauhti grip wax

First of all - Vauhti have online recommendation, but Russan and English versions still based on old range of waxes. Looks like they have corrected only Finnish pages. There is the same problem with tech manual - no information for amateurs. So I put this information at simple list, which is possible to print and use offline:
Grip wax guide by Vauhti 2015.

The Grip wax guide by Vauhti in HTML:

+10...+2 °C

New Snow

K630 Violet Klister (+1C°…-4°C)
K615 Red Klister (+10C°…+2°C)

Spread a thin layer of Violet Klister. Allow the product to cool and add on top a thin layer of Red Klister. Allow the skis to cool thoroughly outside prior to skiing.

Old Snow

K630 Violet Klister (+1C°…-4°C)
K615 Red Klister (+10C°…+2°C) or K620 Universal klister (+4C°…-2°C)

Spread on a thin layer of Violet Klister. Cool off the skis a bit and add on top a thin layer of Red Klister. Cool off the skis completely outdoors prior to skiing. If the snow is not soaking wet, and does not have new snow mixed in, use Universal Klister instead of the Red Klister.

Coarse Snow

K640 Blue Klister (0C°…-8°C)
K620 Universal Klister (+4C°…-2°C)

Spread a thin layer of Blue Klister. Allow the product to cool and apply on top a thin layer of Universal Klister. Cool off the skis thoroughly outside before skiing on them.


+2...0 °C

New Snow

K630 Violet Klister (+1C°…-4°C)
K620 Universal klister (+4C°…-2°C)

Spread a thin layer of Violet Klister. Allow the product to cool and add on top a thin layer of Universal Klister. Allow the skis to cool thoroughly outside prior to use. If the track has sections that are smooth wet and icy, instead of the Universal Klister use the grippier Fluor Universal Special Klister.

Old Snow

K630 Violet klister (+1C°…-4°C)
GT610 Tar Red (+1В°...-1 °C) Grip Wax.

Spread on a layer of Violet Klister. Let the skis cool off a bit and add on top a thin layer of Tar Red (+1...-1 °C) Grip Wax and smoothen. Cool off the skis thoroughly prior to skiing.

Coarse Snow

K640 Blue Klister (0C°…-8°C)
K630 Violet Klister (+1C°…-4°C) (G610 Tar red (+1C°...-1°C))

Spread on a thin layer of Blue Klister. Cool off the skis and add on top a thin layer of Violet Klister. Cool off the skis thoroughly and top with a thin layer of Tar Red Grip Wax.


0...0 °C

New Snow

Base Wax Super and GT610 Tar Red (+1..-1 °C)
GT612 Tar Orange (-1...-6 °C)

Iron on the Base Wax Super. Add on top of the warm base wax a layer of the Tar Red Grip Wax. Using heat and a cork, mix the two waxes thoroughly so that they form a single, uniform consistency. Allow the skis to cool and add indoors as a top coat a layer of Tar Orange. Smoothen it out only lightly.

Old Snow

K630 Violet Klister (+1C°…-4°C)
GT610 Tar Red (+1..-1 °C) or SL220 Red (+1..-2 °C) Grip Wax.

Spread on a thin layer of Violet Klister. Let the skis cool off a bit and add on top a layer of Tar or Synthetic Grip Wax, smoothen lightly. Cool off the skis and add one more layer of Tar or Synthetic Wax.

Coarse Snow

K640 Blue Klister (0C°…-8°C)
GT610 Tar Red (+1..-1 °C)

Spread on a thin layer of Blue Klister. Allow the skis to cool and add on top a thin layer of Tar Universal Plus and smoothen. Cool the skis off thoroughly and top the grip area with another thin layer of Tar Red Grip Wax.


0...-2 °C

New Snow:

Base Wax AT + GT610 Tar Red (+1...-1 °C) Grip Wax
GT612 Tar Orange (-1...-6 °C) or SL250 Carrot (-1...-6 °C) Grip Wax.

Iron on a layer of Base Wax AT and mix into the warm Base Wax one thin layer of Tar Red Grip Wax using heat and a cork so that they form a single consistent and uniform mixture. At room temperature, top coat with a layer of (-1...-6°C) Grip Wax and smoothen lightly.

NOTE: If it is snowing or when the snow is completely new and the track is fresh use only (-1...-6°C) Grip Wax by themselves.

Old Snow

Base Wax Super + GT610 Tar Red (+1...-1 °C) Grip Wax
GT612 Tar Orange (-1...-6 °C) Grip Wax

Iron on a layer of Base Wax Super. While still warm, mix in a layer of Tar Red Grip Wax using a heat gun and a cork so that they form a single, uniform consistency. While still lukewarm, top coat the mixture with a layer of (-1...-6°C) Grip Wax, smoothen lightly. Cool the skis off thoroughly and top the grip area with another layer of (-1...-6°C) Grip Wax.

Coarse Snow

K640 Blue klister (0C°…-8°C)
K630 Violet Klister (+1C°…-4°C)
Green Teho Grip Wax or Tar -1...-6°C

Spread a thin layer of Blue Klister. Apply on top of the room temperature Blue Klister a layer of Violet Klister. Take the skis outside and top coat with a thin layer of Green Teho Grip Wax. Alternatively you can also use Tar (-1...-6°C) as the top coat. Make sure that you smoothen the wax out just lightly.


-2...-5 °C

New Snow

GT612 Tar Orange (-1...-6 °C) or SL250 Carrot (-1...-6 °C) Grip Wax.

If skiing a long distance, iron on the bottom wax layer. Apply 2-3 fairly thin layers, smoothen out with a cork in between layers.

Old Snow

Base Wax Super
Tar Orange (-1...-6 °C) Grip Wax.

Iron on a layer of Base Wax Super. While still warm, mix in a layer of Tar Orange (-1...-6 °C) Grip Wax using a heat gun and a cork so that they form a single, uniform consistency. Cool the skis thoroughly and top coat them with 2-3 layers of Tar (-1...-6°C) Grip Wax. Smoothen lightly.

Coarse Snow

K640 Blue klister (0C°…-8°C)
K630 Violet Klister (+1C°…-4°C)
Green Teho Grip Wax or Tar (-1...-6°C)

Spread on a thin layer of Blue Klister. On a warm ski, mix 3-4 drops of Violet Klister on both sides of the groove with the Blue Klister. Take the skis outside and top coat with a thin layer of Green Teho Grip Wax. Alternatively, Tar (-1...-6°C) can be used as the top coat. Smoothen only lightly.


-5...-10 °C

New Snow

Carrot (-1...-6°C) or Tar (-1...-6°C) Grip Wax.

If skiing a long distance, iron on the bottom wax layer. Apply in all 2-3 normal layers of wax and smoothen out with a cork in between layers. If you apply the last layer outdoors out of a cool tin, it will make for a “sharper” and more pronounced gripping properties.

Old Snow

Base Wax AT
Carrot (-1...-6°C) or Tar (-1...-6°C) Grip Wax.

Iron on a layer of Base Wax AT. Cool off the skis and top coat with 2-3 layers of Carrot (-1...-6°C) or (Tar -1...-6°C) grip wax.

Coarse Snow

K640 Blue klister (0C°…-8°C)
Teho Green Grip Wax

Spread on a fairly generous layer of Blue Klister. Take the skis outside and top the thoroughly cooled skis with a thin layer of Teho Green Grip Wax and smoothen just lightly. The purpose of the Green Teho is to keep the Blue Klister “glue like” sticky and for this purpose just a thin layer is sufficient: a thick layer of Green Teho will negatively impact both the kick and glide properties of the ski.


-10...-20 °C

New Snow

Carrot (-1...-6°C) or Tar (-1...-6°C) Grip Wax.
Tar (-6...-20°C) or Blue (-5...-15°C) Grip Wax.

Iron on the bottom layer and allow to cool. Top coat the cooled bottom layer using either Tar (-6...-20°C) or Blue (-5...-15°C) grip wax. Either one of these options will yield good results. In cold, new, slow snow, (Tar -6...-20°C) is almost without exception better gripping than the Blue (-5...-15°C) Grip Wax.

Note: many years of experience demonstrates that grip waxing in which the final layer has been applied outdoors does have better grip than an application where all the layers are applied indoors.

Old Snow

Base Wax AT
Tar (-6...-20°C) Grip Wax

Iron on a thin layer of Base Wax AT. Cool off the skis and top coat the Base Wax with 2-3 layers Tar (-6...-20°C) Grip Wax.

Coarse snow

Base Wax Super
K640 Blue klister (0C°…-8°C)
Green Teho Grip Wax

Iron on the Base Wax Super. Add on top of the still warm Base Wax a few drops of Blue Klister. Take the skis outside and top coat the thoroughly cooled skis with a thin layer of Green Teho Grip Wax. Smoothen only lightly. The purpose of the Green Teho is to keep the Blue Klister “glue like” sticky and for this purpose just a thin layer is sufficient: a thick layer of Green Teho will negatively impact both the kick and glide properties of the ski.

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Visti Tar Waxes/Лыжные мази "Висти"

This small brand is known only in Russia, this is why I put this information in russian. Линейка из пяти смоляных мазей "Висти" выпускалась ещё в Советском Союзе, и выпускается до сих пор. Инструкции по использованию мазей не изменились - они расчитаны на деревянные лыжи.

Фиолетовая t° 0 -2°С

Наносится несколькими тонкими слоями на чистую сухую скользящую поверхность лыж. Разравнивается горячим утюжком. При влажном снеге - только под колодку поверх слоя синей мази.

Синяя t° -2 -8°С

Наносится несколькими тонкими слоями на чистую сухую скользящую поверхность лыж. Каждый слой растирается пробкой и разравнивается тёплым утюжком. Под колодку добавить слой фиолетовой мази, под концы лыж - зелёной.

Зелёная t° -7 -12°С

Наносится несколькими тонкими слоями на чистую сухую скользящую поверхность лыж. Каждый слой растирается пробкой и разравнивается тёплым утюжком.

Светло-зелёная t° -10 -20°С

Наносится несколькими тонкими слоями на чистую сухую скользящую поверхность лыж. Каждый слой растирается пробкой. Под колодку добавить слой зелёной мази.

Чёрная t° -15 -30°С

Для очень холодного порошкообразного снега. Наносится тонким слоем на чистую и сухую скользящую поверхность лыж. Растирается пробкой.

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Sources of information

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Practice

I did a records of my waxing expirience during last three years. There are some of its.

22.01.17 t = -1°С at morning, +1°С close to evening; old snow, high humidity, place: Orechvo

At home:
Base: a layer of Swix "Blue ice clister KX30 0/-15" by iron.
Add a layer of Swix "Universal clister K21n +3/-5" on top of cooled ski.
Just before skiing:
A layer of Vauhti Tar -1/-6 on cooled outside ski.
By the way, this is direct recipe of Vauhti for Coarce Snow at temperature range 0/-2°С.

It was my experiment of using cold clister as a base binding for more soft clister. I have done it at home. Then, when I saw more cold snow - I just added a layer cold tar wax on cooled clister.

This mixture worked just great at all kinds snow and trails: on old iced skipath, and on snowed lake, in forest.

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Waxfree ski 2018 (russain)

В начале весны 2017 года я решился на эксперимент, и купил прогулочные, более широкие лыжи с "тёркой". Результат оказался предсказуемым и двояким.

Плюсы:

В компании таких же "прогульщиков" оказываешся в равных условиях с другими: не нужно искать момент, чтобы намазать лыжи в начале пути и подмазать по ходу поездки.
Лыжи не пачкаются, когда берёшь их в руки. Это актуально, когда приходится пешком преодолевать препятствия.
Большая ширина лыжи (50мм, вместо 44мм) даёт возможность без лыжни двигаться по неглубокому снегу.
Из-за "тёрки" под колодкой, и несколько большей ширины, скорость спуска гораздо ниже, по сравнению с гоночными лыжами - это безопаснее в условиях льда и наста.

Минусы:

В околонулевую температуру, при свежем снеге, эти лыжи склонны к подлипу. Пластик на них мягкий, сразу перецарапался, и эти неровности активно цепляют липкий снег. Проциклевать всю лыжу невозможно из-за насечки.
Прогулочные лыжи намного медленнее беговых на подготовленной трассе.

Если подвести итог, то получится очевидное: прогулочные лыжи лучше для прогулок. Если же важна скорость и ожидается хорошая лыжня - лучше ехать на гоночных лыжах. :-)