Step 6: Listen. Long before race day, start
listening to the sound your sharp scraper makes as
it glides down the base. It should virtually whistle —
this indicates that there is a lack of friction, or no mi-cro-level hairs and jagged peaks sticking up to slow
How To Make Your Speed Skis Run
Step 7: Re-dress sidewalls and topsheet. Flip the ski base up in your bench, and carefully look at
and feel the sidewalls and topsheet for anything that can cause drag. Imagine you’re sculpting the next top secret
military jet fighter — nothing should go unnoticed. Anything you can even remotely feel will create some level of drag.
Sand until buttery smooth, and then re-dress with acetone to re-melt any exposed fiberglass strands.
Step 8: Shift the temperature. About five to 10 ski/wax/scrape/brush cycles before your race day, you
will start the process of shifting the ski’s temp range to what you can best expect at your race venue. Now, I’m not
talking about being able to make a cold base into a warm base, or even the need to know that the snow will be negative 15 degrees Celsius or minus 18 degrees C. Rather, use your best judgment, weather history and NOAA.gov; and
talk with your coaches to get a feel for a general temp range — call it cold, mid, or warm. During the five to 10 cycles
before your race event, you’ll want to start waxing the ski with base wax that is appropriate for the anticipated range.
Note that low-fluoro wax is considered base wax.
Step 9: Lube. I like to use silicone spray on the topsheets, and a high-fluoro rub on paste wax on sidewalls.
The silicone keeps snow and ice from sticking to the ski, and the paste wax for sidewalls keeps you moving fast while
edging (which is nearly all the time in today’s speed events). Be sure you apply after you’ve waxed but before you
scrape — otherwise you’ll contaminate the base and wax.
Step 10: Race wax and overlays. Yes, they’re expensive, but don’t skimp. I’ve witnessed plenty of
juniors, masters and coaches trying to save a buck here and unwittingly scorching the base with the iron because of
a lack of wax. You need the same 40 grams of wax per pair here for speed skis that you need for training (base) wax.
Applying overlays at the start is amateur and guaranteed to slow you down, so don’t do it. Apply race wax the afternoon before, scrape/brush in the morning and then apply overlay on your bench. Personally, I don’t believe in overlays for any USSA junior event — even speed and championships. Be confident — and be the fastest thing that you
can put on your skis.