Waxless XC Skis for a Busy World

Posted on March 22, 2018 by calliep

Waxless Skis for a Busy World

Although in many parts of the world spring is in the air, that isn't the case in Big Sky where we've had one of the best winters in decades. The cross country trails are still in full operation and being groomed regularly, and with changing snow conditions at different elevations, considering waxless skis may make your life easier.

If you watched any Nordic skiing events at this year’s winter Olympics, you may have heard how often color commentators and coaches talk about wax. It’s a big deal in the Nordic skiing world, particularly for classic skiers. The perfect wax job can mean the difference between running up hills and going nowhere. The difference between world cup skiers and you? They have a team of professional wax technicians to do the heavy scraping for them while you have three kids and a full-time job. So unless you have a friend who is considering becoming your personal wax technician, waxless skis are worth perusing. Think old-school fish-scales, only with strips of modern mohair skin under the skier’s foot rather than scale. World Cup races are being won on these “skin skis”, and they require less waxing than your pair of skate skis.

Check these options out:

 Atomic Redster C9 Skintec Hard

Billed as Atomic’s first skin ski that’s race-ready, the Redster is aimed at hobby racers or higher-end amateurs who want a dependable ski to train on without the fuss of a waxable ski. The Redster has a Nomex Featherlight core and is built with a carbon laminate, making it super light yet stable. The kick patch area of the ski is slightly wider, giving skiers a reliable base to step into and unlike competing models, the Redster’s kick patch is one large piece of skin material, rather than two strips.

Fisher Twin Skin Pro

Fischer describes their mid-range skin ski as “athletic”, and “ideal in hard or icy conditions”. Indeed, icy unpredictable conditions are really where skin skis start to stand out. The Twin Skin Pro features two offset strips of Mohair skin under each foot that are set at various depths into the ski’s base giving the skier a natural, nearly-waxed feel to their stride.

Salomon S/Race Skin

Billed as the ultimate solution for all day events in changing conditions, the Salomon S/Race skin ski is spendy, but worth it. At 1040 grams, the S/Race features a traditional racing sidecut (44 mm at the tip, waist and tail), interchangeable Pomoca skin inserts, and a super fast low-profile camber that optimizes snow contact. The Solomon S/Race is the fastest ski ever made by Salomon.

Whether you consider trying these skis, or sticking with the old favorites, get out there and enjoy the trails at Lone Mountain Ranch!

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Cross Country Ski Waxing

Posted on March 9, 2017 by calliep

The town of Big Sky, and Big Sky country in general, is a mecca for Nordic skiing. Between Lone Mountain Ranch and the miles of groomed ski trails around the greater Gallatin County region, nordic skiing, and specifically skate skiing, is one of the best activities for getting into the woods and away from the crowds, fast. But unlike downhill skis, skate skis require more frequent waxing and at-home care, especially now as the weather changes from winter to spring-like conditions. This may sounds overwhelming, but don’t worry; waxing is one of the sublime pleasures of being a nordic skier. Here’s a quick primer on the basics of waxing skate skis:

What you’ll need:

1) Ski vice or clamps, homemade or store bought
2) Glide wax
3) Scraper
4) Waxing iron
5) Cork block

The Process:

Before being stowed away every spring, skate skis should receive a coat of “storage wax”, which needs to be removed every fall. After affixing your skis to your chose work surface, set your wax iron to medium heat and begin slowly heating the base of your ski. As the iron and the ski get hotter, the existing wax with turn ghostly white and stand out. Scrap off all the old wax to give yourself a new start.

After the ski is stripped and ready for wax, it’s time to give your skis their first coat of glide wax for the winter. Begin the waxing process by holding your wax block at a steep downward angle to the face of the iron, allowing hot wax to drip onto the ski.

Cover the ski with little blotches of wax from tip to tail. After the ski is fairly covered, begin spreading the wax around the ski’s base by running your iron in circular motions across the ski’s base. You will see the wax melt and spread. Continue this waxing motion until the ghostly white wax covers the ski base entirely. Because nordic skis have relatively soft bases, be careful to not melt the ski’s base.

Now it’s time to scrape. Hold your wax scraper at 45-degree angle to the ski as you pull the scraper towards yourself. You’ll see satisfying curls of excess wax pull from the ski. Once the excess is pulled from the ski, the bases should appear shiny and smooth. If you want to put some additional elbow grease into the work, buff the skis bases with a cork block to work the wax into the base.

Now get your skiing clothes on and get out the door!

Meadow Village ski trails

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