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Nordic ski waxing: the why and how of liquid glide

Nordic ski waxing: the why and how of liquid glide

Liquid glide waxes have been gaining popularity in the nordic skiing world.  They are affordable and a lot easier to apply than a hot wax.  It's still recommended that you hot wax your skis regularly depending on the km's you are putting on them, but replenishing the bases with liquid glide in between ironed hot waxes keeps your skis in top condition.

hot waxing ski

Why is glide waxing important? 

Your ski base is manufactured full of microscopic pores.  These pores should be filled with wax to keep your bases conditioned.  This not only reduces friction between the base and the snow but also gives the base the hardness and water repellency characteristics it needs to glide efficiently over the snow. You can read more about the importance of glide waxing here.

Vauhti liquid glide waxes

How does liquid glide wax work?

Liquid glide is actually a suspension of wax particles in high quality organic solvents.  When applied to your ski base the liquid is absorbed into the base pores.  The solvent evaporates, leaving the wax behind.  Theoretically the wax stays in a liquid state longer than a hot wax, therefore penetrating the base better.

These liquid glide waxes contain varying levels of fluorocarbons, which help to reduce friction and repel dirt.  LF stands for "low fluoro", HF for "high fluoro" and UF for "ultra fluoro".  They are temperature specified and work for all conditions, but the higher fluoro waxes work best at humidity over 55%.

To see the waxes we carry, click here.

How do you apply liquid glide wax?

Although it can be as simple as rubbing on the glide wax and going for a ski, your wax will last a lot longer and be more effective if you follow a few steps.  Here's what you will need to do it properly:

  • glide wax cleaner (NOT base cleaner! This is for grip wax only)
  • lint-free cloth 
  • liquid base wax
  • liquid glide wax
  • natural cork
  • nylon brush

Liquid products for ski bases

First, you want to clean the glide zones of your ski using a specific glide wax cleaner.  DO NOT use base cleaner which is used to clean kick wax off your ski and will pull all the good wax out of your glide zones!  Glide zone cleaner won't pull wax from previous waxings out of your bases but will clean out accumulated residues and dirt.  New wax adheres best to clean bases.

Squirt some cleaner onto a lint-free cloth such as Swix Fiberlene and rub onto your glide zones.  Let dry for a few minutes, then brush with a nylon brush.

Next you want to apply liquid base wax.  A product such as Vauhti Quick Base contains polyethylene waxes, Teflon and fluorocarbons to create a hard, dirt and wear-resistant coating on your ski base which makes your final glide wax last longer. Spread the base wax onto the glide zones, let dry for 15 minutes, then brush. 

applying liquid glide wax on ski base

Now you're ready for your final, temperature-specific liquid glide wax.  One of our favourites for Saskatchewan is Vauhti LF Polar which has a wide temperature range from -2 to -20C and is good for all cold snow types.  On top of a base wax this product is quite durable.

To apply, spread the liquid on the glide zones of your ski base.  Let dry for 10 minutes, then rub your bases with a natural cork.  The friction this creates helps get the wax into the pores. 

corking wax into ski base

As a final step, brush your bases with a nylon brush.  This takes the wax off the surface of your skis.  You don't want to ski on a wax covered base but a wax impregnated one.  You'll know when you've brushed enough because the bases will shine.  You can see the difference in the photo below: the top ski has not been brushed, the bottom one has.

brushed ski base vs non brushed

The question arises: how does liquid glide compare to an ironed-in hot wax?  So far we are really impressed with how well the liquids work and how durable they are.  This season we plan to do some testing and comparison so check back with us for updates.

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ebsadventure - January 29, 2020

Hi Robert,
Thanks for the prompt! You can find our update here:
Cheers, the Eb’s crew

robert - January 29, 2020

on 11-29-2018 you wrote an article on “How Does Liquid Glide Wax Work?”
where can i find your update comparing liquid glide wax to an ironed-in hot wax, and the durability of each?

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