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 Feb 10, 2011: Volume 11, Number 40

Pine Tar


I have been pine taring my wood skis since 1978. About 15 years ago my old can of pine tar from the 1970s ran out & I bought a can of SWIX pine tar & have nothing but problems w/ getting the stuff to stay on the bottom of my skis. I remove the wax, put on the tar, torch it in, wipe it off, sometimes I reapply & re-torch in more, the tar coating on parts of the ski appears to have a candy coat glazing which comes off on the 1st ski. I've tried lightly sanding the ski w/ fine sand paper before applying the tar. The Swix tar is the torch-in type. Need some advice on how to get the pine tar to stay on. There is not a better kick/glide reaction in the world w/ fresh snow on an established trail than w/ wood bottom skis & wax  !!!.


Greetings, this is something I have not heard of before. The only reason that the tar would not create a bond is if there is some kind of foreign material impregnated in the base. I have used tar for many different manufacturers and the SWIX tar has always served to provide the best bond & performance for top layered glide/kick wax. The process that should be followed is this:

 1.     Steel scrape the bottom to remove any access glide/kick wax

2.     Scrub surface with SWIX Base cleaner & SWIX Klister Scrub

3.     Wipe surface clean with Fiberlene to remove any additional contaminants

4.     Sand entire base to fresh wood with 120 grit sand paper. Either on a block or sheet sander to ensure a flat firm surface

5.     Take SWIX Tar and brush an ample coat on the entire ski

-          I suggest this is done outside due to fumes and drips

-          Also you can heat Tar in a double water boiler to make the product more viscose

6.     Then take a torch (SNOW Peak GT100 GIGA Torch is the best) and burn the tar into the ski. This will happen with about 4-6 passes per ski holding the torch about 6" off the skis surface.

7.     Allow the ski to cool for about 5 min. Then take a cotton rag and remove any excess tar from the ski.

8.     Ideally allow to cool for an additional 1-2 hours.


Although at this point the ski is ready to be skied there is more recommended to the process. To provide a longer life to the ski & the tarred base follow these steps:

1.     Take the cooled ski and crayon in a layer of SWIX Polar (V05)

2.     Then either iron, hand cork or roto cork smooth.

3.     Repeat this 2-3 time from the tip to the tail working in a tip to tail motion. This will provide better glide and the same grip as stand-alone tar but with significantly more durability

4.     Then place the SWIX "Kick of the Day" in your kick zone and get out there.

Best Regards,


Bjørn Hanson


 Grip Tape

I am avid nordic skier - mostly skate, but moving into classic and will attempt my first classic Birkie in a few weeks. I am starting off with START Grip tape and have enjoyed it mostly. I have a question about the length of grip tape needed. START (Nor Swix) doesn't provide much guidance although they say that the kick zone with grip tape is shorter than the kick zone with kick wax. Do you have any more info to help dial in the right length of grip tape?  Regards, Tape On


The crew at GearWest Matt Fox and BK love doing a blended grip tape application...grip tape application youtube video

As for length of the tape, we usually recommend staying within the klister zone.  Grip tape is thick like klister and it can drag if you take it out to the end of the hardwax pocket. If you do go longer than your klister pocket, or just for additional speed, you can sprinkle some fluoro powder over the tape and touch it in with a finger.  This helps reduce friction, reduces chances for icing and repels dirt.

Matt L.

GearWest Ski


Ski Types


Hello. I am looking into buying new skate skis and it has been several years since I bought new skis. I would like to learn a little more about the base terminology such as "cold hard", or "warm Medium".


First of all, most skate skis handle a wide variety of snow conditions and fit a wide range of skier abilities and skier weights. The discription below is very generalized.


With top level skis you can get:


 1)     All-Around, Hard Track, Soft Track-Models. Most brands now offer 2 of these options.


  a) All-Around skis are now named all-around but if they are not named Hard Track or Soft Track then they are All-Around and main ski of any brand. These skis also generally come or Warm or Cold options (see below.) For most people these are the first (or only skis) in a skier's quiver.  All-around skis can be selected for a skier for all-around, hard track or soft-track conditions by selecting stiffer or softer flexes relative to the skier weight. Most all-around skis can easily be selected to perform well all around and most hard track conditions. But excelling in the dual soft track wet snow conditions (mash potatoes snow) can be a challenge for an all-round ski. So most manufacturers now have "Soft Track" models.


b) These Soft Track models are designed to handle soft snow. They most often have warm bases and structure to excel in in warm soft snow but do great in cold power as well. To accomplish this they have longer glide zones with lower peak pressures and often have tip splay to better float over the snow. Soft track skis are likely the 2nd ski in your quiver.

c) A few brands offer Hard Track specific skis. These generally have very short glide zones with high pressure areas and high cambers that return allot of energy to the skier.  Hard Track skis are likely the last ski in your quiver.


2)     Warm or Cold    

a.     For some brands the difference between warm and cold skis in one model may only be in base & structure. These skis will have the same pressure distribution between the two models and will only differ in the ski base and base structure. Warm bases are softer than cold bases matching the characteristics of warm or cold glide waxes. 

b.    Other brands also have differences in pressure distribution and camber between cold and warm skis. For these models Warm skis will most often have tips that splay (rise) slightly when loads are applied to manage moisture by decreasing suction. Cold skis will have pressure profiles that build over a set area to manage (and sometimes melt) cold snow crystals and most cold snow's firm tracks.


3)     Soft-Medium-Stiff: This designation designates the suggested skier weight range that a specific ski model length and layup is engineered for. To go along with the soft, medium or stiff designation each ski brand will provide corresponding fit charts. A 192 medium will be engineered to fit a weight range of skiers say "140-175 lbs". Each ski is manufactured independently and comes out with its own exact flex (closing weight). This individual flex marked in KG on the skis, or measured in a ski shop with a guage, or measured by a skier standing on the ski in a shop, is how the individual ski can be custom selected for a more perfect fit for any one skier from among many skis that fit within the engineered guidelines.


Andy at SkiPost

Share with your Team and Friends

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To ensure the fastest skis your waxing service will be done on-site in the Gear West Mobile Wax Room. The most advanced waxing vehicle this side of the WorldCup. Our techs will be testing wax and structure on the Birkie trails up to the last moment to provide you the fastest skis possible.

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Your Gear West Signature Waxing Service will be conducted by our Signature Staff including Brandon Ostroot (World Cup wax tech, U.S. Biathlon Team), Matt Liebsch (2009 American Birkebeiner Champion, CXC Elite Athlete), Brian Knutson (Midwest Ski and Service Legend), Matt Fox (Gear West Structure Master), and Oumar Cherif (Coach, Collegiate Racer, Salomon Service Tech).


You spent the last 364 days preparing and anticipating. We spent the last 364 days waxing. Let us wax your skis so you can have your most enjoyable Birkie ever. Spots are limited register here now or call 877.473.4327 to guarantee you have your fastest skis ever, stress free.  


Toko Race Wax Tips

North American Vasa

Mora Vasaloppet 

Owl Creek


Check out the other 20 Race Toko Wax Recs click here.

 Swix Weekend Racing Wax Recs


New England Race Wax Recs

email Swix Tech Teamer Mike Innes

02/12/2011 Flying Moose Classic Bethel, ME 

02/13/2011 Ichebods Revenge Huntington, VT

02/13/2011 Maine Huts Marathon Carrrabassett Valley, ME 

02/13/2011 The Balsams 15K Freestyle Colebrook, NH 02/13/2011 Vermont Elite Team J2EHSC Qualifers Craftsbury, VT


  Mid-Atlantic Race Wax Rec

email Swix Tech Teamer Bill Brooker

02/12/2011 Section 5 Classical Distance Race Harriet Hollister

 02/12/2011 Try It Winona Forest

2/13/2011 Hurt-a-thon Pursuit Queensbury, NY  

02/14/2011 Section 5 Relay Championships Bristol Mountain

   Great Lakes Race Wax Rec

email LP Swix Tech Teamer Pete Edwards  email UP SWIX tech teamer

02/11/2011 2011 North American VASA Sprints

02/12/2011 North American Junior VASA

02/12/2011 2011 North American VASA 

2/12/2011 Lake Erie Region Youth XC Championship JOQ Classic, OH

02/13/2011 Lake Erie Region Youth XC Championships JOQ Freestyle

02/13/2011 The Grand Travers Classic


   Midwest Wax Recs

02/12/2011 Eldris Sprints Mora, MN 

02/12/2011 Pre Birkie Hayward, WI 

02/12/2011 Wisconsin HS State Championships Wausau, WI 

02/13/2011 Bearskin Wilderness Pursuit Grand Marais, MN 

02/13/2011 Mora Vasaloppet Mora, MN

02/13/2011 North End Classic Cable, WI  

Minnesota High School Races


 Rocky Mountain Wax Recs

02/12/2011 Smartwool Wasatch Citzen Series #4 Midway, UT

2/12/11 Aspen SuperTour Classic

2/12/11 Owl Creek SuperTour


Intermountain Race Wax Recs



Swix's complete wax matrix takes the guesswork out of waxing by creating a specific wax for each snow condition.  If you know the air temp, relative humidity you can select Swix's perfect wax no mixing, magic recipes, stressing or slow skis required.  Get Your Winning Margin Wax Rec at and SwixNordic on Facebook

rudy 40% off helmets



The 32nd Annual Rendezvous Race will be held on March 5, 2011


There is just under a month to go until the 32nd annual Yellowstone Rendezvous Race.  Final preparations are in place and there is still time to train for the big day.  Join hundreds of Nordic skiers at the start line on March 5th, 2011.  Register before March 1 to avoid late fees and all registrations will be closed promptly at noon on Thursday, March 3. 


Whether you are skiing for prize money or just to cross the finish line, all racers invited to the Yellowstone Rendezvous Race.  True marathoners can enter the 50 kilometer race, which consists of two laps around the perimeter of the Rendezvous Ski Trail system.  Skiers can choose the 25 kilometer event under classic or freestyle technique.  The 10k race is open to skiers not ready for a long race, with the 5k and 2k races geared for kids. 


Bring your friends and family and stay a few extra days.  From skiing to sight-seeing, West Yellowstone is the home base for winter fun.  There is no other place in the world where you can spend one day racing on 25 kilometers of professionally groomed trails and the next day see bison grazing next to hot springs or bald eagles soaring past geysers. 


The Rendezvous Ski Trails are in great shape and the entire trail system is groomed with both a skate lane and classic track.   With three feet of groomed packed powder on the ground and more on the way, there is no reason not to expect perfect corduroy for next month's event.  End your race season with a bang at the 32nd Annual Rendezvous Race.


There is still time to sign up for the Rendezvous Race.  For more information, go to 


 Tood Lodwick Nordic Camp Home Camp Raffle 


Just $10 for a chance to win $1,000'ssss The Raffle Pot Just Got a Whole Lot Sweater BAP, Big Agnes and Honey Stinger have joined   Wilier-USA The Home Ranch Madshus Skis Steamboat Springs Nordic Council Buy your raffle ticket now - And support Nordic skiing in the Yampa Valley Make your honey the happiest Nord in Nordland

CLICK HERE NOW!!! Or go to

 This event and raffle will help raise money to purchase grooming equipment to be used for early season grooming on Bruce's Trail and for in town grooming at the future Howelsen Emerald Mountain Park


Free Rudy Gear

Methow Valley Winter Festival Nordic Ski Camp


Presented by Olympians,

Leslie Hall and Laura McCabe

Monday, February 21 and Tuesday, February 22


click here for more info

Telemark Lodge
"Once and Again"
Telemark Lodge in Cable, WI
home of the American Birkebeiner
is taking reservations!

SkiTrax Special Offer

SkiPost-SkiTrax Special Offer !!
SkiPost and SkiTrax Magazine, the largest cross-country ski magazine in North America, have teamed up to bring you great savings. SkiTrax keeps you up to date on all the latest Nordic news, Canadian, US and International race reports, ski gear, adventure and recreational skiing and much more - in the mag and on line - check out

Save 30% off regular subscription prices today and add more kick and more glide this season. Try a SkiTrax-Pedal Combo with 15% more savings and get Pedal Magazine, Canada's leading cycling magazine, as well - to order click here

Factory Team Skis for Sale

We have a few pair of classical skis

201 and 206 cm for skiers 150-210 lbs

left over from the Saab Salomon Factory Team 

Drop an email to


About SkiPost

Cross-Country skiing's community lodge. Where knowledge and stories are shared. The goal of SkiPost is to make the sport of Cross-Country skiing easier and more enjoyable for all who choose to participate. If you have questions on Cross-Country Skiing see or email us at

Enjoy Winter,
Andrew Gerlach
Director/Editor- SkiPost

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