Illness has ruined what usually is mid season for me so I have time to reflect on a short, but quite sweet season on the white stuff this year...so far. A casual visit to our local library earlier day gave me both food for thought and grounds for some irritation.
Jørgen and Anders Ausland have written a nice, coffee table friendly book on buttering your skis, ahem, sorry a bit too literal i meant buttering the wax industry with your hard earned cash of course ! Everything from the expected flourine powders to something new on me 'diesel toppers". Give them their due, where simple V40 ontop of Toko green was good in their experience, there it was as a basic prep. Everything though involved using an iron and ideally having a waxing frame set up.
Ok they are pros and they are letti g you into the inner nerdland secrets of getting a world class wax. They also discuss a lot about ski types which is great for keen amateurs too, in explaining why some pairs juast dont work as well in certain conditions. This is a book aimed at the skier advancing to gain small margins, mainly by using lots of money, and a good bit of time. However it also gives asome good theory and some basics on gettng a good job and how understanding your skis and the on ground conditions will help.
I have nothing against irons , they dont need to cost much and your club may have its own loan kit or even a complete kittes out wax-hut with several to hand. Best used out of doors, especially with anything which is has flourocarbons. Not my cup of tea irons that is all.
For the feste or kick zone in english you dont really need an Iron, and as i suggest too, as an amateur you may want to consider Kizmun scraping insatead of stonwe ground with endless rounds of glider wax.
You need to do a good base job and that involves using sand paper, 120 grain is ok, to make a rougher surface for good absorption for the all important base layer. Witout the electric apparatus, fear not you can use a couple of different spray products or just rub and a hard wax on and cork it. I use swix green base wax spray, which dries on quickly and absorbs well, while still being good to cork in. It is also a good cold weather wax apparently, and in mild conditions it is fine to leave exposed on the front of the kick zone when a softwer kick wax is used on a shorter section.
The green base also is fine for universal and blue crystal hard clisters. Pro's and rank amateurs alike swear though by Swix base binder clister spray as the sole sister for the day clister. It too is a spray, but it seems to go on nice and thin and more evenly tjan the harder green spray wax. You can even do the reverse with this base, putting hard wax corked over but i smell messy. Pros do a super resistant base for distnace races whic is this spray with an ironed in hard wax, which takes fewer layers of clister or hard wax on top yet has a good longevity.
With sprays i recommend taping off the kickzone ends with ample tape so the guff doesnt gwt into the glide zone by accodent.
Thw green hard wax spray is easy to spread evenly, and to dry undoors but then pop the skis outside to cool to make for a good corking job. With no certain day conditiinss or crystal type then leave this be because you may want to use clister even down to -10c in old, compacted, icey tramlines. Also here we get incorrect weather forecassts in winter with an error up to -10'c. With falling snow in -18 any of the usual 'blue' waxes will be too soft and a green /arctic should be used.
With more predictavle conditions of a little milder on ground, then i use a blue flouro VR40 swixmontop of the blue, full legnth of the zone, two layers and that is then ready for the day wax, which is very likely to be more VR40. Flour VR products are in my experiwnce, much harder wearing than standard waxes and worth the price. I reckon that with soft mnountain resort snow for a season, that three layer base would last the whole season for me or many hundred klicks for a tourer or trainings mad compeititive skier. Watch out for the temperature range which is differwnt between V and VR btw !
The day wax can then go on top of this, and even a clister layer could be attempted, if you can warm the tube up ! In new or falling snow, you can use a harder wax, maybe to hit that lower temperature range with a ' special' like lillac V50 V45 for example, or more VR40 if it is colder. You probably want to wax back in about 5 cm from the end of the base wax, and be prepared to lenghten this to get better kick-traction.
For older, transformed hard and abrasive conditions you can use a softer wax thanbthe temperature indicator would say, but take it first 10cm in from the front mark on the kick zone. As mentioned for really old tracks with hard packed bases you can go over to clister, and i find blue a full 15-20 cm back which is just infront of the toe really, works well , and also a lkittle in from the heel as i am heavy and it tensds to teavwl backwards. Layer wise you could try one loing and a littlw layer of clister undee the sole of the shoe-binding.
Layers wise for hard wax, i cork in a pyramid with between three and six applications cooling between each with a VR flour product. The final layer is just 10-15cm mid sole. Quick ? Well relatively anyway, compared to ironing in flour-powder and using power tools........
Your skis dictate a lot about how long the kick zone will be for the day too. High camber skis will resist wear but may need a longer kick zone day layering or a sligjtly softer wax to get adesion. Vice versa for low camber skis which are most often more pliable too. You can always add more wax, while too much is there for the day, so shorter wax to thw heel fromsomewhere not that far infront of the toe is a good idea to trial out to see if you havea good feste-glide cmbination.
Conditions then dictate all, and that is contact temperature, air temp' forecast, snow or not, and finally state of ice crystal.
In the really typical thaw back, refreeze we get here in south Norway, then even a good, two layer on base binder clister job will only last maybe 15 to 20 k, and for me a 'good enough' may last even less, half of that since i am heavy. I just started using blue swix ice clistet, which gives great kick wittout picking up as much ice as universal, without going mobile back under the heel and with about 10-15 k for a single layer job out a tube from 50'c oven. I clistered just 5 cm forward from the front of the binding and to 3 cm i from the heel, to good effect as described.
The green base with two blue will last a while with soft waxes over it in less than silky condittions, and you can scrape off softer wax from on it to reaply say more VR40 if it gets colder.
I use a cheapo, shoe shine swix universal glider which is not any good under -8 'c. So i will be looking to Kizmun scrape my skis, or find spray alternatives in cold and warm types.
Two final tips on temperatures and waxes.
Fistly, softer waxes generally need to be cooled well in order for them to cork on right, whereas 'green' start needs to be nearer room temperature for a good appl,ication. Clister wants to be put on your car air vent to warm on the way, cap scrwwed on hard mn
Secondly to all this, always let your skis cool in contatc with the snow preferably, for at leats 2 mins befoee you take off, other wise the good wax job may take off too !