Generally speaking, there are two kinds of wax you apply to cross country skis. Kick or grip wax is the sticky stuff you buy in canisters and crayon onto the bottom middle third of your waxable ski. Glide wax comes in hard and liquid forms and is applied to the glide sections of your ski.
When we talk about hot waxing your skis at the store, we mean heating a hard glide wax into the glide portions of your ski bases. All skis need this treatment whether they are waxable, waxless, skin or skate skis, because to ski properly you need to be able to glide.
Although we tell customers to get their skis hot waxed every 100km or so, this is only appropriate for fresh snow conditions. The snow in Saskatchewan is normally quite abrasive so in reality hot waxing should be done every 50km, or even less.
The big question: is hot waxing really that important?
Yes it is. And we're not saying that so we can sell you services. What hot waxing does is greatly enhance your glide. This is important - not because it makes you faster, but because it means you don't have to work as hard to get the ski to glide. This means it is easier for you to diagonal stride with proper technique. If your bases are bare of wax they grab the snow more. Working harder to get your skis to glide will affect your stride (think of how skiing uphill changes the way you ski).
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a universal glide wax (for Saskatchewan, anyway). Anything with this name on it is a softer wax appropriate for conditions warmer than -10C. Unfortunately we don't enjoy the consistently mild winters those Scandinavians do.
We use a colder wax in the store for our standard hot wax. It is harder and will last longer for you. If you want even better glide out of your skis, go for our performance wax which includes a little fluorocarbon. You can check out our wax service pricing here.
We've had good success with liquid glide waxes here in Saskatchewan as well. Most of these have some fluorocarbons in them and are really easy to apply. This can help between hot waxes or any time you want extra glide. These range in price from about $20 (Swix Easy Glide) to $40 (Swix F4, Vauhti HF) and there are multiple applications per bottle. For more information or to order, check our website.
If you have any questions about waxing your skis, please contact us. We love talking about this stuff :)