How to Prep Your Skis for the Big Races

Roger Knight

Many of the season's biggest races are a month away: The American Birkebeiner, High School State Meets, Junior National Qualifiers, and countless important citizens' races. Here at BNS, we get a lot of questions in the weeks leading up to races about how to make your skis the fastest possible on race day. Truth is, much like training your body to be fast on race day, you have to prep your skis for the big races, too. This means taking care of your skis the right way long in advance, not just the night before a big race. Below are some expert tips below on how to keep your skis in top shape.

We recommend using Rode Graphite in your skis at least once weekly as a base refresher. If you have waxed with good graphite wax like Rode, you know your bases are simply in much better shape after using it. It deeply penetrates and refreshes your base while offering anti-static properties in newer snows and helps to keep the ski clean by hardening the bases for dirty snow. We like to use Rode Graphite at least once a week. Make sure to brush thoroughly with a steel or bronze brush and then a Holmenkol Horsehair brush to get the excess wax out.

Wax every time after you ski. Period. Never, ever let your skis sit dry. Even if you are in a rush, quickly dry them off and get a liquid wax in the base. Doing so will keep your skis from slowing down over time. The beauty of the new liquid waxes is that they are easy to use and can be the bridge between hot waxing your skis while keeping your bases saturated. Liquid waxes are phenomenal products but are NOT a complete substitute for hot waxing. We all love liquid waxes. They are easy to use, relatively durable, and leave little to no mess. The kicker is that they simply do not do the job that hot waxing does. We have a pair of skis in the shop that we have been using as a test sample for two years. We have ONLY liquid waxed one of the skis with various brands of liquids. On the other ski, we have hot waxed at least twice a week in addition to using liquid waxes. When you jump on these skis to ski, there is NO question that the ski that has been hot waxed regularly is significantly faster than the ski that has not. Liquid waxes are an incredible supplement to hot waxing, but they are not a substitution. If you care about max ski speed, you must still hot wax your skis.

Use sharp scrapers and good brushes. The number of skis we see damaged by using old and dull scrapers is massive. We cannot say this enough: get new scrapers or sharpen your scrapers often! It makes the job easier and keeps your skis in much better shape. Also, get new brushes when your brushes start to lose their integrity. Once a brush starts to "spread," it becomes less effective. It makes the job harder on your elbows and shoulders but also makes it less likely that you are effectively brushing the excess wax from the ski.

Race week, we recommend hot waxing your skis every night if you can. This will ensure that your bases are in the best shape and have the chance to be the fastest on the big day. On race day, make sure to scrape and brush thoroughly. Excess wax in the skis leads to drag on the snow and makes picking up any dirt and other gunk in the snow much more likely.

Lastly, if you are unsure what wax to use and don't have a great way to test, just buy Rode Endurance. It is an incredible wax, super fast, and incredibly durable. Endurance is rarely outside of the top five in tests we run, and we often mix it with the appropriate color wax of the day to improve speed and durability. This wax continues to amaze us as an all-temperature and all-snow condition solution. Get a 180g bar today and be set for racing for a while.

We wish you the best race season and are here to help. Please do not hesitate to reach out to either of our stores or email anytime with specific wax questions.