Klister Baby!

Klister Baby!

Drew Holbrook, the CB Nordic Director of Development, who looks down on me (because he’s tall and I’m short), pulled rank because he’s a big, fancy “Director” and I’m just a Groomer/skier.  I think he’s still angry that he only beat me in the last Town Series Race by about five minutes even after he missed the start.  Anyways, since spring is coming, Drew “d-i-r-e-c-t-e-d” me to write a CB Skier’s Journal about klister.

Several years ago, I went to a cross-country ski camp in Bend and a former national team skier and now Head Coach for Canada, Justin Wadsworth, told me everything there is to know about klister.

You put it on with your thumb.

If klister looks messy and hard to apply, just put it on with your thumb.  If you don’t know which kind to use, there are some recommendations below, put them on with your thumb.  If your klister freezes in the tube, you cannot put it on with your thumb and you need to put it on with your thumb.

Once you squeeze it out of the warm tube in little herringbone marks in a shortened area of your skis’ kick zone, press it smooth with your thumb.  After smoothing klister with your thumb, let your ski and the klister cool outside (overnight is O.K. or you can put it close to but not touching a groomed snow surface to help cool everything down).

Putting klister on is worth the hassle because if you hit it right with klister, it’s phenomenal classic technique skiing, perfectly bimodal velcro kick and massive glide.  It’s like striding on rockets.

When you’re done applying klister to your skis with your thumb, put your ski gloves on and the klister goes away…magically.  Anyone who’s ever been to a landfill realizes that there is no “away.”  When you throw something away, it goes somewhere, not “away.”  But those people are wrong, klister on your thumb in your ski glove goes away (unless you have way too much on your thumb).

Upon finishing your classic technique session on klister, it is a good idea to clean up your skis soon.  If you have to transport the skis, put them in a separate old ski bag to prevent it from contaminating other objects or skis that may touch the klister.  Or, grab some toilet paper to cover the length of klister long enough to get your skis to where you can work on them.

When you remove the klister, make sure it’s warmed back up to room temperature or, even better, warm it with a heat gun (a hair dryer will work too).  You can use a paint scraper to take off the klister (and toilet paper all at once, if that’s the case).  Then clean up the residue on the skis and scraper with solvent.  Swix makes a nice citrus based solvent that’s easier on the environment.  Or, any ski company’s cleaning solvent will do.  Have some fiberlene around too.

You can also sprinkle baby powder on the warm klister and scrape the resulting mixture off in one fell swoop.  The baby powder trick is uncanny when it works well.

Spring time is also a good time for crown or “fishscale” classic technique skis when the snow surface is warm.  Newer “skin” type classic skis or “Zeros / Hairies” can work well too.  None the less, if you like nordic skiing, learning to use klister is worth the investment.  Here a few recommendations.

– Base Klister – Take your pick or talk with the retailer you trust.  This will help keep the layers on top from being abraded and scraped off by coarse, spring snow.
– Swix Universal VM Klister
– Start Universal Wide (The folks at Boulder Nordic Sport like this one)
– Vauhti K Gold for above freezing and Vauhti K Violet for below freezing (this is what the folks at Caldwell Sport recommended)

Klister 201 involves the thickness of application but this is only klister 101 so go ski.

Enjoy the spring skiing!