Check your skis for grip zone markers. Kick wax is only applied to the zone under the binding of the ski leaving the tips and tails of the ski free for glide waxing. A good grip zone will be roughly 45cm long but will vary a lot depending on how stiff your skis are (the camber). Your local ski shop can help you find your grip zones, or you can use the zones pre-marked on the sidewalls of your skis. Use a permanent marker to redefine your grip zones as often as you can and experiment with extending your grip zone further forwards or backward to find the right feel while skiing.
Prepare your grip zone by cleaning with wax remover and roughing with sandpaper.
If the snow is icy or if you're planning on skiing more than 10km, apply a base binder.
At room temperature, apply the sticky hardwax by placing the tin of wax on the ski and twisting without dragging it along the ski base. Continue down the ski, twisting as you go, until the entire grip zone is covered with stringy wax. Twisting, instead of crayoning as you normally would with a harder wax, will give you an evener application and fewer "globs".
Using a cork dedicated to warm kick wax, (it's a good idea to have a couple of corks: one for warm wax and another for cold wax to avoid cross-contamination between sticky and not-so-sticky waxes) cork in the layer of wax. The goal is to make each layer of wax good and smooth. Some waxes will become transparent when they are adequately corked.
Apply and cork 2-6 layers of the sticky hardwax until you reach the desired thickness. With kick waxes for warmer temperatures, having thicker layers than you'd normally use is important to achieve the same level of grip.
In the application process of some ski wax products, you and others can ba exposed to dangerous dust, fumes or residues. With the correct safety protolcols in place, these risks can be mitiagted and waxing can be very safe.
Safe Waxing protolcol:
Always wax in a well-ventilated area. Outside is best. If you have to wax inside make sure there is some sort of air exchanger in place. Range hoods are best. Fans are better than nothing. Be sure to point out any lack of air exchanging equipment to the staff of any waxing facility or the race organizers.
Whenever using any kind of heat in the waxing process (irons, heat guns, torches) always wear a respirator. Respirators that cover your eyes are best and check for a fluorocarbon rating on your respirator. Remember, the most dangerous fumes are not from powders but resins in grip wax and klisters. Wear a mask even when you are using non-fluorinated waxes since fumes from burnt paraffins are not OK to inhale. Respirators are required in the wax room.
When creating any dust in the waxing process (brushing, scraping) always wear a respirator and gloves. Compounds in blocks, liquids, powders, klisters, and other hardwaxes can be absorbed through the skin. Wax companies keep their wax recipes secret so we have no idea what chemical compounds are present in most waxes nor their effects on the body. Always wear gloves while waxing to reduce your risk to negligible levels.
People who are not waxing are not allowed in the wax room.
Be sure to safely dispose of wax shavings and dust. Contained in a plastic garbage bag is adequate.
With the proper level of adult responsibility, any wax can be used perfectly safely and with negligible harm to the environment. Follow the correct safety protocols whenever you enter a wax room and be prepared with the right safety equipment. Remember to enjoy your fast skis to the max!
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