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Cross country skis tuning question

Whitey

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Dec 10, 2008
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I am more of a downhill skier but I used to do a decent amount of cross country skiing too. I was thinking about getting back into it more. I have an older pair of back country skis (metal edges, a little wider, fish scales under foot, meant for cutting your own trails - not really for groomed tracks) that I used to use a lot. From years of dragging them over stumps. rocks, etc the fish scales are pretty beat up and non-existant. Because of that when I go to push forward the skis just slip back. Someone said to try putting kick wax on them but that didn't really seem to work too good. When the fish scales were newer they were great to go out into the woods and make your own path and kicked pretty well.

I talked to a guy at a ski shop that tunes X-country skis and he said there's no way to bring back the fish scales & that I should chuck those skis and get new ones. So I was just wondering if anyone can confirm or deny that? I would even be willing to put them in a box and ship them somewhere to have them redone. But maybe the ski shop guy is right and I should just chuck them.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts/ideas.
 

abc

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X-country skis aren’t that expensive. I wouldn’t think it worth the cost to put the fish scale back in. Let alone shipping it to get it done.
 

Whitey

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X-country skis aren’t that expensive. I wouldn’t think it worth the cost to put the fish scale back in. Let alone shipping it to get it done.

I hear you but I think you may be thinking of just regular ski groomed/tracked stuff skis, i.e no edges, light fish scales, etc. These were pretty high end in their time and replacing them with a like set would likely be 400-500. Not bad but I thought I'd see if there is anyway to recondition the fish scales on these first. Probably end up buying new.
 

abc

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Mine have metal edges too. But I’m not sure how high or low end it is. I looked at the time, didn’t find that many different models to choose from, no obvious price or quality differentials either.

I bought it a few years back. Similar price as any good regular track skis (~$300 range at the time)
 

Bumpsis

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Refinishing the bases with a dremel tool, or trying to somehow revive the waxless base seems like a lot of effort and the results may not be all that great. If you want to keep those skis and use them as you have in the past, for getting out into the woods, making your own tracks, I'd explore the possibility of sticking mohair strips to the bottoms. They work very well - I don't know this from my own experience but I heard it works well.
My personal experience is with waxes. They work superbly well if you're willing to learn a bit about them and experiment. You don't have to be an expert in this craft, just pay attention to the temperature ranges and see some You Tube tutorials. My wax XC skis will just about always outperform waxless in terms of available kick and they will glide better too. The only time I'll use waxless (fishscales bases) is when snow gets really tricky to wax to wax for, like around 32*F or above. Messing with soft, sticky wax or klisters just to get a bit of a kick is just not worth it and it's a mess.
If your intention is just to run around the woods at XC ski areas, I would probably get dedicated track skis for that. It's fun and great workout. Plenty of good stuff out there cheap on used ski market as well.
 
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