Waxing XC Touring Ideas

Hi Douglas Hansen here.

It seems waxing is not very common nowadays? For what it is worth, I have found waxes to be a big advantage, “If you understand how to work with them.” They save a lot of energy, and minimize fussing around.

Lunch break on Ten Dollar Knob. A perfect day… on 3-pins. photo by d.hansen

Skins are generally quick and easy, and needed if you plan to pull a sled, or are on icy or very steep snow. Otherwise they sap energy, which may not be a big thing if you are way strong. When I add up the thousands of steps forward, and the ease of the ski sliding forward, it can mean extra runs on your favorite slope.

Some people invest a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to get the perfect grip, but we have found that once the base is prepared (at home) we can feel the snow, then arrange to apply a thin layer in the “kicker area.” (Yes, I know that a alpine touring ski is a single camber, but that area is still an important concept to work with.)

A veristal little kit

We often don’t even smooth the wax, we let the hike up do that for us. Sometimes we will use a thick layer, or a full length layer, or a thick layer under the kicker area and a thin on on the tip an the tails. With a little experience it is easy to hit the mark almost right off.

Then we won’t need to put skins on and off every run, plus we get the energy savings. Understand how to weight the step depending on conditions makes a difference. Sometimes I put a slight amount of pressure on the ski as I slide it forward to prevent icying, or I will pick my ski up and stamp it down to allow me to climb steep sections.

Due to the way waxes work, they are not the best choice for pulling sleds, skins work much better in that application. (Heartbreak hill, on the Kahiltna Glacier, Mt. McKinley, AK, USA
photo by d.hansen

I am a big fan of waxing for other reasons to. Blurpurple (blue extra) is my most favorite colors. Generally, it works well, early to mid season. Application is the trick, it depending on your altitude, aspect, and weather. The skills of an old timer, with the body of a younger person, is a combination that is almost unbeatable.

Just some thoughts I decided to share. Best to you!