As an avid skier, I have heard many anecdotes about ski waxing and its effects on the running of the skier. Most often, these stories revolve around tales of heroic extreme skiing and the tribulations of experiencing a waxing during a telemark skit.
While I have heard these stories, I have never actually witnessed the effects of waxing first-hand. After a bit of research, I decided to find out – would waxing really make a difference? Could waxing remove the braking effects of ice and snow, as legend would have it?
Is The Braking Effect Of Ice And Snow Really That Bad?
If your answer is yes, then you would have to concede that there is an easy solution: Don’t ski on frozen surfaces or in the winter. This is generally good advice, since you’re more likely to run into problems if you do. However, for the adventurous individual who cherishes the thrill of hitting the powder, this can be difficult to accomplish. Traveling abroad during winter doesn’t seem practical either, since you’ll be limited to only certain locations that are open to tourists, and the rest of the country is deserted.
When It Comes To The Effect Of Waxing On The Running Of The Skier, Pretty Much All Tales Are True
Upon further investigation, I discovered many reputable websites that cite scientific studies supporting the fact that waxing does change the way a skier runs. For example, the study “Waxing Does Not Increase Skiing Performance, But It Changes Its Characteristics”, published in the Journal of Sports Sciences in 2015, found that waxing altered the biomechanics of ski running, most notably by shortening the contact time between the ski and the snow/ice surface. This, in turn, altered the way the skier propelled themselves forward. The study also noted that the effects of waxing dissipated after a certain period of time when the skier’s natural oils started to re-coat the skin, protecting it from further damage.
How Does One Go About Waxing?
If you’re interested in trying waxing for the first time, then prepare to be a little bit sore for the first few days afterward. For best results, you should schedule your waxing appointment a couple of days after the last snowfall. This will ensure that the surface is sufficiently frozen, so that the wax will stick. You should also make sure to remove all food and drink from the area that will be waxed before the process begins.
Waxing is easier and more convenient if you do it in a professional salon or spa. Make sure to bring a pair of socks to change into after the process is complete. This will ensure that you’re always prepared for the chilly reception that awaits you when you remove your ski boots. After all, you can’t very well go skiing in stockinettes.
Doing waxing on your own at home is possible, but it’s not advisable. First off, you’ll need a reliable electric heater for the room. You’ll also need to figure out a way to clean up the mess that is sure to follow. Don’t expect those around you to help clean up either; as a patient in Dr. Seuss’s How Many Kids Can You Fit in a Car? you’ll learn that helping with clean-up is one of the chores that your father assigns after he’s treated you for your accidents. You can, however, use a service like Dolly Wink, which specializes in providing waxing services for skiers and snowboarders at home. Just make sure that you’re careful not to pull on the hair while removing the wax, or else you’re in for a severe bleeding episode. This is something that you should know and be prepared for.
Waxing Changes The Way A Skier Runs, But It Also Has Adverse Effects
While most people are quite content with the changes that waxing brings to their skiing experience, there are those that complain about a number of its side effects. For example, studies have shown that waxing can lead to skin roughness and sensitivity, which some people find aggravating. In addition, some people experience a burning sensation after waxing, which the research says is caused by the heat exuded by the wax itself. In rare cases, people have even reported that waxing caused a skin cancer, although this is disputed by many experts.
In light of all this, while waxing does change the way a skier runs, it also has some very serious side effects that one should be aware of. Unless you’re feeling adventurous, you might not want to wax your skis anyway.