Cross-Country Ski Skin Care – How To Clean And Maintain Ski Skins?

Cross country ski skin care is essential because it not only elongates the life of your ski skins but also adds to a better skiing experience.

Cross-Country Ski Skin Care Guide

Firstly, let’s discuss why is it actually important to clean and maintain cross-country ski skins. Here are a couple of good reasons:

  • Regular maintenance of the skin protects the ski base from icing.
  • It improves the gliding properties of the cross-country ski.
  • There is an increased amount of leftover soft wax or klisters on the trails.
  • A thorough cleaning might prevent inconsistent grip on the snow.
  • You get a better and safer overall cross-country skiing experience.

When you return home from cross-country skiing trip, you should try clearing out the dirt accumulated from the snow surface, and reserve deep maintenance for special occasions. However, if you notice a bit of goop on the skin, it indicates an urgent need for a deep cleaning of the skin.


How to Clean Cross-Country Skins?

The tools you need for cleaning your cross country ski skins include the following:

  • a nylon brush
  • cleaning cloth
  • XC skin cleaning products

Regular skin cleaning involve the following:

  1. Use the cleaning cloth to apply the cleaning product to the skin.
  2. Do this from the front to the back of the ski in the direction of the glide.
  3. Apply medium pressure to remove any dirt or wax residue accumulated on the skin of your ski.
  4. Next, you should use the nylon brush to brush the ski skin, following the direction of the glide and the grain of the ski as before.
  5. Once you have cleaned the ski skin, apply glide wax to the skins. Do this by simply rubbing a small amount of good quality bar of wax in the direction of the hair.

Note: Even when you are not thoroughly cleaning it, try using the nylon brush to brush any dirt off your skin.

Deep cleaning your ski skins occasionally can be quite beneficial for you. Cleaning them will help enhance their performance and ensure your protection on the trail. Here are some important things to remember.

5 Essential Tips on Ski Skin Care

1. Understanding the Skin Type

Most brands use two types of hairs for their skin; angora goat hair or mohairs. Saloman is the only exception as it uses synthetic pomoca skin on its performance skis. All other brands use one type of skin for their recreational skiis and a different kind for their performance skis. Although different, we will assume that both types of skis benefit from the same treatment.

2. Avoid House Cleaning Products

These can be counterproductive and can decrease the efficiency of your ski skin. These solvents erode the adhesive that holds the skin onto the ski. You can use Swix skin cleaner or any ski solvent from a reputable brand for the best performance.

3. Icing and Moisture Management

If you are getting an inconsistent grip, chances are that your skins are probably icing up. The same happens with waxable skis when you ski at freezing temperatures.

Ice and snow stick to your skin or wax and don’t escape easily. This results in the accumulation of more snow and ice onto the skin. To avoid this, you can use an anti-icing solution on your skin. Apply the solution to a lint-free cloth and rub it onto the skin. Ensure it is properly dry before using your ski.

4. Fixing Wear and Tear

Even the best of skis can get damaged. After using the product for hundreds of kilometers, you will notice some wear and tear. This often appears on the end of the skin. This may make for an alarming sight, but this doesn’t indicate a total loss. You can still extend the life of your skin by staying off ice and dirt. However, it would be best to replace the skin as soon as you feel an uncomfortable grip.

Skis lose their glide when ski skins lose their kick in colder conditions, especially when they enter deep snow. This is because the hair on the bottom cannot grab onto snow due to a significant layer of ice.

This also means that a thick layer of ice is killing your glide. To help fix the issue, you can use products like start Skinglide paste and cleaner. This will help keep your skin ice-free even at 16°F. You can even bring these products to your skiing trip and keep them in your thermo pack.


5. Prevention is always better than damage control

Careful handling of your ski is essential to long-term enjoyment and progress. If you want your skins to remain intact, you need to ensure that you don’t enter into puddles or very soft snow.

When the skin gets wet repeatedly, it tends to lose its waterproofness. This ultimately increases its risk of snow clumping in drier snow and colder conditions.

Aside from that, try protecting your skin from resin, roots, dirt, pebbles, and grime, as they can severely damage the adhesive side of your skin.

How Long Do Ski Skins Last?

When appropriately treated, ski skins usually last for many years, depending on the brand, frequency of maintenance, and usage. Typically, a higher quality XC ski skins can last for at least 150,000 meters of vertical track.

If you want to extend the lifespan of your ski skin, try to dry them properly. Moreover, try carrying your skin next to your body at low temperatures. Lastly, never make the criminal mistake of putting your ski skins on a heater.