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Friday
Mar162018

Hot Waxing Climbing Skins

It's that time of the year again. The solar is on but it's still snowing. This creates wide fluctuations in snow surface temperatures and snow consistency leading to the dreaded glopping of skins. Anyone who's spent anytime touring in the spring knows what I'm talking about. It's absolutely maddening. I've covered many aspects of the climbing skin in these pages but this final detail has eluded publication here until now. For those new readers, you can catch up here, here and here.

The most obvious way to deal is sold right next to your skins at the ski shop and is typically Black Diamond's Glob Stopper. Coltex makes a similar rub on product. These are fairly warm, rub on waxes that can be applied either before snow exposure or even after you've been beaten down by the phenomenom on the skin track. The problem with doing it late is that the hydrophobic nature of wax makes it difficult to get good plush coverage once the skin surface is wet. It's often better than nothing but relief can be short-lived. Enter hot waxing.

I first became aware of hot waxing skins during my tenure as a skimo racer while living in Jackson, Wy. Several of my ski partners were members of the U.S. contingent traveling to Europe for the World Championships. These trips often yielded handy tips and tricks from European athletes. Hot waxing is one such tip. I would say that it's far from common place even today as most weekend warriors are unaware of the technique. I'd guess most of this crew has Glob Stopper on hand but the hot wax remains unknown. Maybe this post will unveil the magic for a few readers.

For the uninitiated, reading comments below some of the videos can be confusing. There are a few of these "experts" weighing in saying that hot waxing will ruin your skins or make them climb poorly or not at all. To those of us who actually use hot waxing regularly, this paranoia is mystifying. Clearly, these idiots have never done it. Besides, why would there be so many videos out if they all lead to failure?? Why ask why? Just do it! 

I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here. There are several adequate tutorials on line that get the job done. I actually made my own video out of vanity but realized it was unnecessary. Instead, I'd like to use a video from one of my late partners, the original source of this technique for me, as a way of celebrating his numerous contributions to my skiing over the years and his place in the pantheon of American ski alpinism. He was killed in an avalanche March 7, 2012. So, without further adieu... Steve "Randosteve" Romeo.  

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Reader Comments (1)

I started hot waxing my skins a couple of years ago, way more effective and long lasting than just rubbing on. Spread the word!

April 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

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