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The XC Skier's Spring Checklist

Tips & Ideas Friday, April 15, 2022

Make it up for one last ski. 

So what if it's April? Most Nordic skiers check out just a few weeks too soon—and miss out on long, sunny days, cold mornings, and the elusive spring crust. 

Hit the wide-open spaces. 

You don't need groomed trails for a morning of pure Nordic perfection. Any open space will do, including spots like Berthoud or Rabbit Ears passes, or local meadows, golf courses, and Nordic centers. Aim to hit the snow early, when temps hover around freezing. In the mountains, the crust holds until about 10:30 or 11 a.m. depending on the weather. 

Be flexible with ski choice. 

For crust skiing, skaters rule, but classic skiers will enjoy it when the crust softens slightly or with an inch or two of new snow. Waxing for crust can be tricky, as the abrasive snow wears wax off quickly. Really old snow (granular ice, crust, corn snow) is so rounded that hard waxes may not give much grip, so for classic skiers, Klisters are often used for these conditions.

Plan an après-ski tailgate. 

Whether it's a sleeve of Girl Scout cookies chowed after a ski or a more elaborate plan, this is THE best time of year to soak up the sun, the views, and the last of the Nordic camaraderie for the season. Pack a few camp chairs, and a wireless speaker and pick up some to-go cocktails from a local distillery and you're a few sips from post-ski paradise. Check out made-in-Colorado spirits and fab cocktails from the Fraser Distillery in Grand County, Rising Sun Distillery in Frisco/Summit County, 10th Mountain Whiskey and Spirits in Vail/Eagle County, Steamboat Whiskey Company in Routt County, or Carbondale's Marble Distilling Co. & The Distillery Inn in Garfield County. 

Put the skis away for the summer. 

Brush skis with a copper brush to remove old wax and dirt. Apply a mid to soft wax to the ski (like Too Red or Six CH7) to penetrate the skin. Iron it on, let it sit, and do not scrape; the barrier will protect your skis from dirt during the off-season. 

If you don't have access to a wax bench (or want to deal with the mess), take them to a trusted Nordic center pro for a thorough tuning so that they're ready when the first snow flies next fall. Once cleaned and waxed, you're ready to zip them up until next winter. 

Pro tip: Resist the temptation to store your skis in a garage or basement. The fluctuation in temperature and humidity isn't great for your skis. Opt for a closet inside your house instead.

 

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