Sealed Bases

Q: My skate skis have some white/grey splotches on the base. Not the whole base but parts of it. I don’t have a Nordic Shop anywhere close to me, I bought these from a shop that’s about 5 hours away.. I have 2 good downhill shops close by, if I need to have them stoneground, will the downhill grinders work on nordic skis? I assume they’re the same, but don’t know. And if the shop can do them, what kind of grind should I have them do?


A: From what I see it appears as if your skis need a base refreshener. An alpine shop grinder can do Nordic skis but they should not do your skis as their first Nordic race skis. Nordic skis need to be ground with much less pressure than alpine skis.

So you need to ask them if they have done many Nordic race skis in the past and ask for a cold universal grind? Or you can ship your skis to one of the Nordic grinding specialists if you wish. Or you can try to do some base refreshing on your own.

I would advise you start with the brass, copper, metal brush method. Get the most aggressive of these brushes you have and start brushing the base with moderate aggression from tip to tail. You want to get under the overheated/melted base and open it up, basically tearing it open. Follow this with an aggressive coarse fibertex pad and repeat numerous times. Do a gentle metal scraping to cut off any hairs you have exposed. Follow this with a hot wipe of your softest wax. Repeat all this numerous times and see if the bases look top be improving. if it was a minor burn you should see improvement fast. If it was a major burn you will need much more work, perhaps even sandpaper method or best yet stonegrinding.

– Andy @ SkiPost


Yes. I actually did it and it helped a lot. I got rid of almost all of spots. I will try to get them ground next Winter in Lake Placid if I make it up there, but this really helped.

Thanks! Dan

No Bad Weather – What to Wear for Cold Weather Cross-Country Skiing

by Jacob Huseby

Dress in many thin layers. Then remove/add layers as necessary to balance sweating and feeling cold.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”. This quote is often attributed as a Scandinavian saying, or Alfred Wainwright, or some guy by the name of Ranulph Fiennes. I don’t particularly care who said it first, but the saying holds water. Skiing in cold weather can be intimidating, but a little preparation goes a long way. In this piece, I’m going to explain each piece of clothing you’ll need to wear while cross-country skiing in the cold. The key takeaway is that you must dress in several thin layers rather than a few heavy layers.

Part 1: How your body stays warm (simplified)

Your body’s temperature is regulated by your skin, sweat glands, and blood.

When you get cold, your blood rushes away from your skin and towards your torso to keep your vital organs warm. This is why your hands and toes get cold quickly, they are farthest from your torso. When your body gets warm, the heat will activate the sweat glands in your skin and release sweat in order to cool you down through evaporation.

Here is why you need to dress in layers:

Your body is only so effective at controlling its temperature through blood and sweat. When figuring out what to wear for cross country skiing, you want to work with your body’s natural methods of maintaining its temperature. Your body transfers heat to your extremities through your blood. When you begin skiing, your body will be cold because it has been pumping blood at a low rate. When you have been skiing for 10-30 minutes, your body will feel warm because your body has been pumping blood at an increased rate (again, simplified). Since your body is adapting while you are skiing, you will need to remove or add layers as necessary in order to find a balance between managing sweat and handling the cold.

Part 2: Base Layers

Base layers are close-fitting garments that are often made of wool or polypropylene (fancy plastic). Some folks refer to these as long underwear. They wick moisture away from your skin and help you retain heat. They are lightweight, breathable, and allow for a full range of motion. Base layers are typically composed of wind briefs (wind blocking) or underwear, then a pair of leggings and a long sleeve top.

They don’t have to be the most high-tech, however, I would be cautious of picking out something too heavy. Heavy base layers can easily get saturated with sweat. Again, look for something made of a lightweight material, that breathes well, and is not made of cotton. In exceptionally cold conditions, I may stack 2 base layers with the lighter layer underneath. I would rather have two thin layers than one heavy layer any day of the week.

Part 3: Middle Layers

Your mid-layer typically is going to be a cross-country-specific jacket, or a winter running jacket and a pair of cross-country pants. If you’re a cool cat, you could also ski in a wool sweater. Cross-country-specific jackets and pants will often have ventilation near the back with wind-blocking material in the front. Much like the base layers, you’ll want something that is lightweight and allows for a full range of motion. For an added layer of warmth, I recommend wearing an insulated vest over your jacket.

Part 4: Outer Layers

Your outer layer is going to be for your extra warm jacket, and occasionally your big snow pants. These should be big enough to fit over the other layers previously mentioned. I always pack the big jacket in my car and begin practice with 5-10 minutes of skiing in my big jacket. The pants are really reserved for if you are on touring skis moving slowly, spectating/coaching at a race, or you’re doing a cooldown after your race.

Part 5: Head and Neck

When skiing in truly cold conditions, any exposed skin can quickly show signs of frostbite.

Start with wearing a hat (or touque for our Canuck friends to the North). Your body loses about 10% of its heat through your head. Much like the base layer, aim to have a lightweight wool or polypropylene cap. You will only ever buy one hat in your life because every other one will be given to you for free.

Cover your neck with a gaiter. Again, lightweight and breathable is the name of the game. I wear mine loose around my neck or wrapped up around my chin and ears so as to not cover my mouth. Around -20C I would then wear two gaiters, one wrapped around my ears and chin, the other covering my lower neck.

Protect your eyes with a pair of glasses. Did you know you can get frostbite in your eyes? Get a pair of glasses made for Cross Country Skiing. Pro-tip: the “Nano Optics” glasses from Bliz don’t fog up.

Pack some warm water with you while skiing. Most water bladders are not made for colder weather. Boil some water and fill up an insulated hip belt to have warm water for most of the day.

Part 6: Hands and Feet

Your hands and feet are particularly susceptible to the cold. While I can recommend specific hand and foot coverings to keep them warm, the most important thing to keep your hands and feet warm is to maintain a warm torso. When your body gets cold, its first instinct is to pull blood away from the surface of the skin and extremities. To prevent this, keep your skin covered, and your torso warm.

For your hands, mittens are the way to go. I’ve really been enjoying these new trigger mitts. They offer the dexterity of gloves with the warmth of mittens. There’s also a wind-blocking gore-tex version that offers extra warmth without sacrificing too much ventilation. There are also some really great warm-weather options available.

A quick trick to warm up your hands is to do windmills with your arms. Give it a try!

Here’s a hot take on cold feet, the socks you wear should not change for any weather condition. You should always wear a pair of crew cut, wool, thin socks. The fit of your boots is important for your comfort and you do not want to mess it up with a pair of heavy-duty socks. I like these ones from Fits. For colder weather, I recommend getting an over-boot (we don’t have the Spine overboots in yet).

Part 7: Racing

If you plan on racing, you will want to put on your race suit over your base layers and wear your mid and outer layers on top. The closer you get to race time, the more layers you will shed. The fewer layers you are wearing, the more you will need to keep moving in order to stay warm. Keep in mind how long your race is, and what the temperature is going to be at the finish if it’s a point-to-point race. Once you cross the finish line, get back into your warm clothes as soon as possible.


Hopefully, this is an exhaustive but non-exhausting guide to dressing for the cold. While this seems like a lot of information, it becomes second nature with time, patience, and practice. Everybody is different, and there isn’t a one size fits all answer for exactly what to wear on a given day. Every person skis at a different rate, warms up at a different rate, and feels cold in different ways. My advice? Spend more time skiing!

See you on the trail – Jacob

Source: SkiPost

Summer Storage Waxing for Nordic Skis

At the end of the season, it is so tempting to just leave the skis the way they are and walk away. There is a price to pay for this though: slow skis that need to be stoneground. Here are some basic steps to take at the end of the season that you will be grateful for come early winter:

  1. Clean any kick wax or klister completely off the ski bases using Waxremover or GelClean.
  2. Clean and copper brush your bases very well so the bases are clean. Quite often in the spring, the snow is very dirty. You want to remove any dirt you might have picked up. This includes not only brushing the skis out well with a copper brush but probably also using wax remover. If ski bases are dirty, apply wax remover and then brush well with a copper brush through the wax remover before cleaning. You might need to do this multiple times. Powder snow, which is what is commonly skied on in the fall is extremely sensitive to dirt. Dirty skis will be especially slow in early season snow.
  3. Hot wax the bases with Base Performance Red. Red is the perfect consistency for storage waxing. A harder wax can yield air pockets and a softer wax can get “eaten up” over the summer. Make sure to use a lot of wax for maximum protection.
  4. Store the skis in a place or fashion where they will not get very dirty or dusty. If they do get dirty during storage, be sure to scrape the ski bases before heating wax in (do not reheat the dirty summer storage wax!).
  5. I like to use this time of year to make sure that my klister tubes are closed completely so they don’t leak out over the summer.

Additionally, consider storing opened klister tubes in a colder place to prevent leakage.


This advisory is courtesy of


“Fighting” the Skis When Classical Skiing Downhills

Q: I have over 30 years of skiing and racing, but starting last year, and beginning again this year, when classical skiing downhills I have to “fight” the skis as they want to drift out, or the tips of each ski to cross each other. Don’t have any issues when skating, I’m thinking it’s because the skating boot has a more rigid feel on the ski while classical boots have a looser feel because the heel needs to be off the back of the ski more. I’m doing something wrong because I could ski downhills with no problems in the past. I consider myself a really good downhill skier.


A: I can try my best to answer your question from a few different possible areas. 


It could be possible that your current classic skis are too soft in terms of flex. This can happen with skate skis as well, and the most common term I’ve heard (and used) is “squirrely” to describe skis that wander. 

Essentially, if a ski is too soft it means the tips and tails will not have enough contact pressure with the snow…I suppose a metaphor might be the balance required to ride a unicycle versus a bike. It’s easier to balance on a bike (or well-flexed skis) because of the larger contact area distributing pressure over a bigger space, whereas on a unicycle everything is right under you. 

It might be an interesting experiment to swap skis with a skiing partner or two (COVID-concerns taken into account) to see if you feel the same type of experience on other pairs, which could rule out or confirm this theory. 


In terms of your body and being able to respond to downhills and ski control, two critical areas are the ankles and hips. The ankles, most directly, impact ski control through their strength and coordination. You’re correct that without skate boots there is a bit more control needed…this is great on the climbs because when classic skiing you really want to feel the full range of motion when rolling the foot through the kick. However there’s less support for descents. 

Ankle strengthening exercises are numerous if you look at some PT sites for rolled ankles…lots of common ones include writing out the alphabet with each foot, or using a long sock with some weight in it to make “foot circles” in the air for strengthening. 

People often underestimate how much the hips can impact the stability and control a skier has, too. Even if you weren’t writing-in about this topic, I’d still suggest taking some time each week to incorporate hip strengthening through the use of resistance bands which are cheap and generally easy-to-find. 

The stronger the hips and ankles, the more you should be able to control the skis without using too much extra energy! 

Hope those are, at the very least, some helpful starting points. Happy skiing-

– Adam Terko, Mt. Mansfield Nordic Coach

Source: SkiPost

The Right Tool for the Wax Job

If the proliferation of waxes, skis, training equipment and outdoor gear involved in Nordic skiing has you overwhelmed, it’s intimidating to think that you need even more tools to keep it all in good shape. Luckily, most skiers like to work with their hands just as much as their lungs. Here are three helpful—outside the box—tools for working with your racing or touring boards. Certain brands offer variants of these tools in a ski-specific format, but that doesn’t mean the traditional tools can’t get the job done. Most of these items can be found at your local hardware or home improvement store—the wax tech’s favorite retail outlet aside from the nearest coffee shop.

[Photo] Liam John


Whether it’s a frozen glaze of green hardwax fossilized on your base, or a runny pool of klister that looks like an avant-garde fingerpainting, it’s going to have to come off your skis when conditions change. A sharp, stiff putty knife is the best tool for the job. Don’t skimp on plastic versions unless you’re purchasing for a young skier, and avoid the flimsier metal variants. There are a lot of cheap options, but just like scissors or kitchen knives, your work will be faster, cleaner and safer with the higher quality options out there. Seven or eight dollars for a good putty knife is money well-spent.


Torches can be invaluable on race day as well as for home waxing. There are safer options for changing pole tips and grips, but torches work in a pinch. There are smoother ways to apply klister too, but torches work when you need them and are especially handy if you are without a power source for an iron or heat gun. Frozen wax bench components? Tent stakes entombed in ice? Time to reach for the torch. For the fastest and most efficient work, purchase a torch-head with a “trigger start.” Like a good stiff putty knife, these are more expensive than the typical torch components. But the ability to open and close a powerful flame one-handed, with your gloves or mittens on, can be invaluable. This is another item that is well worth the added up-front cost.


Klister has a unique way of adhering to surfaces such as the snow, your ski bases and your skin. Scrubbing with hand soap does a marginal job with removal, and one popular practice is to put your hands right into your gloves. It’s common knowledge that the klister is magically transferred from your hands to the lining of your gloves, where it disappears forever. But there is another way. Some wax companies produce creams and salves that whisk klister right off your hands. However, you can also find products that do the exact same thing without costing a fortune. Most hardware stores, and, in this case, mechanic and auto-parts stores, stock hand creams designed to remove oil, grease and other car crud from your skin. Lo and behold, these products work for klister, particularly the creams that contain a bit of fine sand particles for extra scrubbing power. A little bit goes a long way!

Adam Terko is the head coach of Vermont’s Mansfield Nordic Club and has been skiing competitively (and writing about it) since before Fischer skis had holes in their tips. He’s also the technical editor of Cross Country Skier and writes the how-to column “Back Shop” in each issue.

Subscribe now to the print Cross Country Skier Magazine to read Terko’s latest column and more at

Warm SC3 Grind

When the temperature outside is warm, having the right skis is going to be really important. The best skis for water skiing have good tip and tail float over soft snow and slide through the wet snow. Having a warm (aggressive, more structure) grind helps the ski avoid suction in waterlogged conditions, unlike cold conditions where we want a flatter surface to glide on. A warm grind like our SC3 is what will most likely be running the fastest.

As the snow melts the moisture runs out, but there is a lot of dirt that does not wash out with the water, it stays in the snow and just builds up. When there isn’t any new snow to dilute the snowpack and old snow keeps getting groomed, the dirt is churned in and will be in every layer of the snow. We know having dirt stuck on and in the base of the ski slows it down, which is why I am always talking about how important it is to clean that dirt out when we are prepping skis. The ski choice is one way that we can get ahead of that dirt. A white, or clear base ski has different base material that is designed to repel more of that dirt that trys to adhere to the ski. When you are testing skis sometimes the white bases don’t feel faster right away, but their value is really apparent after you have skied a few kilometers on them because they pick up so much less junk from the trail.

If you have any interest in wet snow skis or skis for next year, please contact Pioneer Midwest.


Selecting a Pair of Race Skis for a Ski Marathon

If you are fortunate enough to only have one pair of classic/skate race skis, you can skip this section. If not, please continue on.

If you are selecting a pair of race skis (either skate or classic) for a ski marathon, your first and foremost concern should be the flex of each pair you own. Flex is the most important, yet most commonly overlooked element of your race ski, yet most racers get bogged down with which grind or wax is being used. Assuming all things are equal and you have the correct flex, grind, and wax on a ski, the flex will do roughly 70% of the work in making your skis feel fast. In other words, even if you get a new grind and we nail the wax job, if you brought a warm/wet-flexed ski to a 10ºF marathon, you’re going to feel like we lathered your ski in candle wax and klister.

So, how do we find the right ski? Hopefully, you’ve had a hand in your own ski selection when you purchased them and have a good idea for what conditions to use them for. If not, most specialty ski shops have a flex board where they can use the paper test to determine your ski’s contact zones. If you wanted something more technical, Pioneer Midwest has a flex test machine that will graphically display your contact zones and Matt Liebsch could determine the optimal conditions for your ski.

In selecting the right ski for the right races, both your job as a racer and our job as wax techs get much easier, as we will all know the skis won’t be fighting you or the wax for 40+ kilometers.

What factors does ski length play?

Q: I’m a 5’7 skate skier using size 187 skis. Is it my imagination that taller skiers with longer skis (and legs) have a gliding advantage, especially when gliding downhill? I always seem to out-glide my wife who has high end but shorter skis. Likewise, taller folks I ski with consistently out-glide me on downhills.

If true, then we should purchase the longest manageable skis? Is skier weight a big factor?


A: A difference in ski length for two skis matched to your weight, of most commonly 5 cm, provides a very slight difference in ski performance if all else remains the same. And what you may gain on the downhill or soft snow due to longer glide zones you may lose when climbing due an inability to turnover as rapidly or handle the skis as precisely.

If you ski in the flatland and ski V2 and V2 alternate a majority of the time a longer ski will feel better.

If you ski out West where you are climbing V1 for long periods and then descending rapidly the shorter ski will often feel better. If the longer skis were in fact faster we would have skate skis much longer than 192cm.

That being said, heavier skiers often appear to have a downhill advantage as their conservation of momentum allows them to decelerate less than lighter weight skiers as the skis flexes over and smashes through the undulations of the snow surface on a downhill. If we descended in a vacuum, and not on a snowy surface, we would descend at the same speed, but descending on uneven snow often means that heavier skiers can often decelerate less as the ski flexes especially in rough but solid snowpack. If the snow is very soft the opposite can easily occur. But the lightweight skiers downhill weight disadvantage is an uphill advantage and a soft snow advantage.

Andy at SkiPost

Visiting Salomon Factory in Altenmarkt, Austria

by Garrott Kuzzy

“The process was enlightening, especially how the flex is literally baked into the ski to perform for specific conditions” – Garrott

Garrott Kuzzy and Jean-Marc Draeyer check out the finished Salomon skis after a factory tour in Altenmarkt, Austria


Altenmarkt, Austria sits in the valley below the face of the Dachstein mountain. The lush green valley is home to 4,000 inhabitants and about as many grazing brown cows. On the edge of town, past the cobbled pedestrian streets lies the Atomic – Salomon ski factory. It is not hard to understand why this valley might attract skiers, surrounded by alpine ski hills on almost all sides.

I stopped in to check out the facility and get a better understanding of how skis are produced. Jean-Marc Draeyer, Salomon’s head of race ski production, took time away from selecting skis for the world’s top racers and specialty Nordic shops to take me on a tour of the facility. Photos are not allowed, but the process was enlightening, especially how the flex is literally baked into the ski to perform for specific conditions.

At their core, high end skis are identical to airplane wings. Nomex is a honeycomb product known for its high strength to weight ratio, ideal for skis and wings alike–anyone who wants to fly. Sheets of poplar wood panel are glued and pressed to the honeycomb, making what will become the ski’s internal sidewall. The poplar is sourced locally, as the highest quality possible is necessary to keep a consistent shape for the life of the ski.

At this point, the honeycomb-poplar panels look more like something you might use to insulate a house. The panels are then cut into the shape of a ski. As many as 20 skis might come from one panel. The tip and tail of the skis are also added separately. The tips and tails look about as thin as a piece of paper and have no shape.

A metal mold is produced in the factory for each ski model and length. Each ski component is laid into the mold, starting with the base, a thin layer of carbon and another layer that acts like an arch support in a shoe. Next, the honeycomb-wood core is the most important ingredient in the sandwich, followed by another layer of carbon and the graphics on top. The ski in the mold is now ready for the press.

The ski press heats up the mold and components enough to adhere everything together. How are skis given their flex? What makes a ski good for wet, soft or hardpack conditions? This is not random. Before the ski mold goes into the press, one of 36 pressure points can be tuned like a Steinway to create exactly the desired flex for each ski. Seeing this took a lot of the mystery out of ski flex for me. The skis coming out of the mold are laser flex tested to confirm the desired results.

At this point, the product resembles a ski, but is still very rough around the edges. Literally. There is still material and glue coming out of the seams. The ski looks a lot like a sandwich with a few too many ingredients.

To finish the ski, it is sent down what looks like a 100 foot long Rube Goldberg machine for skis. Along the track, the sidewalls are cut and polished, the groove cut out of the middle and the rest of the base is ground to the desired specifications. At this point, the skis look finished, but there is one more step: each individual ski is flexed again, then paired together before being assigned serial numbers and prepared for shipment. If you look at your own skis, you can likely see the texture of the honeycomb pressed between the layers, ready for you to fly on the trails.

From the factory in Altenmarkt, skis are shipped to all corners of the Earth. Simi Hamilton has recently been testing his new Salomons in the ski tunnel in Oberhof, Germany and Jessie Diggins is training on hers in at the Snow Farm in New Zealand. Skis are also starting to arrive in shops, ready to glide on snow this winter.

See you on the trail,