Applying Klister

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General

Klister is a ski wax that seems to have a mixed reception. It can turn difficult skiing conditions into a very enjoyable day. Yet many people avoid it because of the "war stories" they have heard. As with most things in life your personal attitude strongly shapes how you approach klister. Start with a positive attitude and the result will be more positive. And more positive means a great day skiing.

What is Klister for?

Klister is a grip wax. As with regular grip wax it is designed to allow the snow flakes to penetrate into it. Regular grip wax is designed to work with snow flakes that have fairly stiff, strong and defined shape. A defined snow flake shape, for example, is with arms (as shown in the background of this web page). Klister is designed to work with snow flakes or crystals that are softer and are lacking much shape. The change in shape occurs for many different reasons.

Conditions that klister can be used in are:

Essentially any condition where there is difficulty with the snow penetrating into regular grip wax.

One question that is often asked is: why not just use a softer (warmer) regular grip wax? Well, you can. In fact that is often the easiest thing to do first before trying klister. But this has it's limits. In addition to klister being "grippier" than regular grip wax the glide portion is also adjusted.

The first item to help you control your klister is the small sized ziploc freezer bag (sandwich bags are not strong enough). One per klister. The plastic is heavy enough it will not tear and the ziploc ensures the klister will not escape if it decides to leave the tube.

During the off-season storing the klister (in the ziploc bags) in a cool to cold spot out of direct sunlight is best. Many people store klister in their freezer. Cold klister doesn't go anywhere. Warm klister expands and wants to go places. Remember, cool is, well, cool.

When storing your klister for travel keep it away from the vehicle passenger compartment. If you have a ski carrier box on top of the vehicle this is an excellent spot. After this the trunk, if available, is a good spot. In mini-vans and station-wagons position klister as close to the rear hatch as possible (this is the coolest spot). Never try and warm klister with the heater of the vehicle; you'll just be setting yourself up for trouble.

One of the primary reasons klister escapes its tube is from overheating. When warmed klister expands. This places stress on the tube & cap. This stress can cause klister to ooze past a cap not fully closed and cause stress fractures in the tube that eventually can crack creating a hole or series of holes for klister to escape through.

** Only warm klister as described below for the cleanest handling **

Applying Klister

A little klister goes a long way. Great gobs of klister are not needed for an effective wax job. Great gobs create great messes.

In a warm wax room note the kick zone that you are going to apply klister to. Clear any glide wax shaving away from where you are going to work. Glide wax shavings blowing into your klister job is not desired. The skis should be laying horizontal so that once klister is applied it will not run into the glide zone of the ski. Select the klister you are going to use and remove it from the ziploc bag.

The klister may be cool or cold depending how you have had it stored. You should never heat klister while the cap on tube is still attached. Klister expands as it is heated. If it is heated and then the cap is removed the klister will burst forth because it is escaping from the pressure in the tube. The easiest and safest method is to open the cap and see how runny it is before warming. Depending on the klister it may be runny enough already for you to apply. If the klister is still too cool to move you may heat the cap end of the tube, not the whole tube, with your hand or with a brief burst from a hair dryer or hot air gun. Remember you only need the klister to flow slightly. You do not need it to be runny yet.

Place small dabs of klister along the kick zone on both sides of the ski groove. Each dab should be about 3cm apart with each dab about the 4mm to 7mm diameter by 1mm thick. Now place the cap back on the tube and place the tube back in the ziploc bag. Place the klister in cool location.

With a hair dryer or hot air gun warm the ski and klister on the ski together. Using your thumb, a klister applicator or scraper edge smooth the klister in the kick zone so it is evenly applied. Now warm the klister until it becomes runny. Wipe up any excess klister that flows over the edges of the base. Let the klister cool for a few minutes before moving the ski. After a few minutes move the klistered skis outside to a shady spot away from falling snow. Lay the skis down horizontal on the ground with the bases facing up (to the sky). Let the skis cool for 10 to 15 minutes. This avoid snow clumping on the bases and the klister running into the glide zone. Now test the skis.

If there is not enough grip you may need to: (a) add a bit more klister to thicken the layer, (b) choose a different klister, or (c) extend the length of the kick zone. If there is too much grip with the klister and normal grip wax could not provide enough you may want to overwax the klister with grip wax (see: applying grip).

Some people will use a torch to heat klister. A torch can be difficult to handle and we do not recommend it with klister. This position is especially true with fluorocarbon-based klister. The high temperature of a torch can easily exceed the safe limit for flurocarbons. You also risk melting or sealing the ski base (the base melts at 135°C).

   

Open klister tube carefully

Dab the klister in the kick zone

Warm the klister (easier to spread)

Spread the klister with thumb or scraper

Heat the klister into the base

Klister should appear even, smooth and glazed

Removing Klister

Do not try and remove klister by directly using a plastic scraper. You'll just end up with a very sticky scraper.

The most effective way is while the ski and klister are still cold to place a strip of fiberlene, or toilet paper over the klistered area. [Strong and absorbant toilet paper works best. Cheap toilet paper gets cheap results. Using fiberlene is always better.] You want the klister to stick to the fiberlene or toilet paper. Now bring the ski into a warm room and allow it to warm up. You may use a hair dryer or a hot air gun to warm the klister. Once warm, using a plastic scraper, scrape the cloth/paper and klister combination. This should remove the vast majority of klister. You may accelerate the warming by using a hair dryer; never use a torch. Now dab a small amount of wax remover onto some polishing cloth or a rag and wipe the kick zone clean. Now clean the plastic scraper of any klister on it before returning it to your wax box. Plastic scrapers are a low-cost and effective tools and every skier should have a few (glide, grip, klister).



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