Cross Country Skiing: Introduction To The Sport And Tips On Caring For Skis

A guide to how to cross country ski. Learn quick and easy cross country ski maintenance here.

Keeping your cross country skis in good condition ensures long life and a safer journey for you. Tuned up and well maintained skis will give you better control and gliding abilities and extend the life of your investment.


In order to properly care for your cross country skis, you'll need to familiarize yourself with the type of ski you own. Cheaper, fiberglass, waxless skis need almost no attention and should never be waxed. Minor sharpening can be done with a small, metal file. All other types of skis can be maintained by following the guidelines below.


The best time to do heavy-duty maintenance work on your skis is during the Spring or just after their last use of the season. Storing burned or gouged skis will only cause further damage over the long, hot summer months.


There are obvious ways to tell if it's time to treat your skis to a little added TLC.

1. Flip the skis over so that the base of the ski is facing the sky.

2. Examine the base.

3. Slowly and carefully, run your finger down the edge of the skis.

Skis which have gouges need immediate attention. Bases which are dry-looking toward the inside edges need waxing. Edges which are rough or dull require filing.

Skis need to be tuned every 30 days of skiing. Minor tune ups, such as sharpening edges, can be done more frequently.


File cleaner

Steel scraper

Heavy plastic scraper

Sharpening stone




A ski file should be used whenever the edges of your skis feel dull. The inside edges of your skis are used to cut corners, turn and steer. Dull edges give you less control. You can use a #5 file to flatten the base of your ski and sharpen the edges.

1. Place the ski on the ground or other flat surface. With the file between both hands, push the file in one direction along the base of the ski, moving from tail to tip. This is called "flattening the base." Use short, overlapping strokes.

2. Using the metal scraper, peel any base material which may have collected around the edges of your skis.

3. Hold the file at a 90-degree angle to the base of the ski and slide the #5 file along each side, moving from tail to tip.

4. Round off the edge of the tip and tail with the file.

If you've done everything correctly, your ski's edges should be sharp enough to cut through your fingernail.


Before waxing, remove old wax and dirt by scraping them with a heavy duty plastic scraper. Following scraping, apply a wax remover.

1. Light your base repair candle.

2. Drip the candle's wax onto the damaged area, until the gouge is full.

3. Allow the wax to cool.

4. Remove excess wax with scraper or file.


Waxes come in a variety of forms. Use a wax according to the temperature you will be skiing in.

1. Use wax remover to remove old coating of wax.

2. Drop wax from an iron onto the base of the ski.

3. Smooth the wax into the base with the iron.

4. Allow to cool.

5. Once cooled, use a plastic scraper to remove most of the wax, so that only a thin film remains.

6. Clean the groove and edges with a plastic scraper.


WHEN doing ski maintenance, always move from tail to tip.

STORE skis during summer and fall in a ski bag.

AFTER skiing, allow the skis to warm and then wipe dry before storing.

A SKI STONE will give you a quick, sharp edge.

NEVER store skis on concrete.

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