Kevin Sweeney is the Swix Racing Service Director. This article first appeared in Ski Post – www.skipost.com
Cleaning your ski bases and proper base wax saturation are perhaps two of the best ways to protect your ski bases during the summer. Store skis properly and you’ll be ready to go come early winter.
CLEANING: The first step is to clean your ski bases, both the kick and the glide zones. For your kick zones, clean with Swix wax remover / base cleaner (I0064). Scrub clean with Fibertex (T0266), wipe clean and let air dry. You are finished with the Kick Zones.
The next step is to clean the glide zones from old wax, oils and dirt. This is done best by using the “Hot Scrape Method”. Take Swix BasePrep99, which requires a very low iron temperature of 110C, and melt this onto the base. Iron in with 2-3 passes down the length of the ski with each pass taking approximately 7-10 seconds. While wax is still molten, use a stiff (3mm) plastic Swix wax scraper (T0823D) and scrape wax off the base. You can usually see the dirt and particles in this scraped up wax. Continue to do this 2 or 3 times until you can not see any more dirt coming up. Let skis cool for 10 minutes, and then brush out the base using the Swix Fine Steel Brush (T1088B pro oval) or (T0192NB rectangular). Brush 7-10 strokes. You can feel when the brush becomes free and no more wax is left in the base structure. Keep brushes clean by using your shop vacuum on the bristles. The extra fine filaments of the Swix steel brushes are incomparable in performance. They are extremely durable and do not break down like an old nylon brush or too soft of a brush such as copper or soft bronze. You are able to clean the wax out of the structure and open up the pores of the base that may have been inadvertently burned or sealed by using too hot of an iron or lingering in one spot too long. You are now ready for the next step: base saturation.
NOTE! NEW BASE CLEANING FOR FLUOR USERS! If you are an avid user of our Cera Nova Category 1 waxes: HF, HFBW, FC Cera F powders, turbo solids and liquids, you may be a perfect candidate for our new I0084 Cleaner for Fluor Glide Wax & Base Conditioner. Swix has found that fluor bonding has left an impenetrable wax layer that prevents the “hot scrape cleaning method” to be 100% effective. The new I0084 liquid separates the fluor molecules thus allowing you to wipe clean the base surface. This is done without damaging the base in a chemical or mechanical manner. The I0084 should be applied to the glide zone, lightly scrubbed with Fibertex (T0264), and then wiped free with Fiberlene (T0151). Let dry. The base is now ready to be cleaned as above using the Hot Scrape Method. Swix is experiencing much use of the I0084 with the advent of our new generation Cera F waxes with increased durability, namely the HF Black Wolf line, the FC78 SuperCera and the new FC8x.
BASE SATURATION: Now that bases are clean, it is time to saturate the pores of the glide zones with glide wax. Our goal here is to fill the pores with a wax that will prevent the base material from drying out and oxidizing. This wax will also protect the base from dust and other contaminates as well as disruptive contact. Swix has 4 ideal waxes you can use for base saturation. Choose the wax / waxes that best suit your requirements (base hardness, structure, ski use, etc.)
BasePrep99 – a very soft warm wax excellent for easy saturation & protection. Used all-around & for warm, wet condition skis / boards.
BasePrep88- a base wax for normal winter snow temps 0C to -10C. (32F to14F)
BasePrep77- a hard base wax for snow conditions colder than -10C (14F).
MB77 – a mid range temperature & hardness wax that contains moly & fluor. Offers complete base restoration, saturation, protection and is commonly used as base layer for Cera Nova Category waxes.
APPLICATION: Apply wax & iron in. The temperature of the waxing iron should be regulated to be hot enough to give immediate melting of the wax. Follow wax temp instructions. Start at the ski tip and move the iron in one continuous motion toward the tail. This technique prevents overheating the base. Do 2-3 passes. Let ski cool down approx. 10 minutes. Apply more wax, iron in, and wait 10 minutes. Repeat until base is completely covered & saturated. No scraping in between. I usually take 3 steps here.
STORAGE: Store skis in a cool dry environment where there is little fluctuation in temperature. Avoid direct sunlight. Keep skis in ski ties (or tape) on tips & tails. DO NOT BIND SKIS CLOSED w/ CAMBER COMPRESSED.