March 2010
March 2010
A reader recently contacted me in search of a Lee Borowski column about storage wax for cross-country skis. He could not find the piece online. So I looked through my library of back issues and found it - titled "Wax your skis for the summer, then wax less and ski faster next winter" - in the March 2010 issue. I scanned the column and sent it to him.

Having done that, I though Borowski's advice was worth revisiting and sharing more broadly. (As I write this, it is mid April four years later and snow is still falling in significant amounts in the northern tier of our region. Nevertheless, I'll assume that most of us are more than ready to put our skis away for the season.)

"So what can you do this spring to make sure you have fast skis next winter? The concept is simple: Make sure that your bases are in good condition and completely impregnated with wax. Then forget about them until next fall," Borowski wrote.

He followed this with a more detailed three-step approach to applying storage wax.

Step 1: Cleaning the bases
Scrape and brush "until no residue remains," he advises. Hot wax then scrape "to be extra sure that your bases are squeaky clean."

Step 2: Touching up the bases
Borowski wrote that skiers can use sandpaper as "a cheaper and safer" alternative to a metal scraper. But if nicks or gouges are found in the bases, the skis ought to be stone ground or the p-tex repaired by experts. 

He acknowledged there are different stone grinds for skis used at different temperatures. "If you have only one pair of good skis, I suggest that you get the coldest grind possible. Then your base will be as smooth as it gets," he wrote.

Step 3: Impregnate the base with wax
"There are two basic ways to saturate the bases with wax," Borowski wrote. The first involves applying copious amounts of the warmest non-fluoro wax to your skate skis then placing them in a hot box for several hours. For those who don't have a local ski shop that offers this service, Borowski provided quick instructions for building a hot box like his.

The other method is to run an iron over the waxed skis "at least five times," letting the skis cool between ironing but no scraping. 

""When you are done, you can put your skis away until next season, comfortable in the fact that that you've done the major work needed to have fast skis every time you hit the snow," Borowski wrote.