Start Grip Wax – Things I Like
Classic skiing on fresh tracks on blue hard wax is the ideal day for everyone who enjoys Nordic skiing. Let’s face it—those days are becoming few and far between. The reality of warmer weather, busy schedules, and classic tracks hammered by those terrible metal-edged skis drives so many of us to just grab skate skis and go. Classic skiing is so fundamental, though, that it is important to practice it often, especially if you’re just learning. So rather than skip classic for the convenience of skate, why not Start Grip Tape?
The instructions are pretty clear, but it’s a little nerve-wracking any time you have to deal with something completely new. Start has a fantastic video to make it easy. I applied mine in about five minutes—to warm skis in a warm basement—smoothed the edges as per the instructions, and put my skis in the box for the next day.
The temperature the first day I tried this was a balmy 42F. The range on the tape says it goes to 41F. After agreeing with myself that it would be a good day for a double-pole workout, I left without any alternatives. The verdict was, they kicked, but only if I had proper body position. I call that a win. Remember, I was outside the recommended temperature. The kick in really warm weather was akin to hard wax, although in some places where the tracks were in the shade it kicked like klister.
The second time I took them out it was about 32F. Well within the range of the tape. The kick was klister-like and I had a fantastic day. More importantly, I did absolutely nothing to my skis since the last time I skied them. Nothing.
I haven’t been classic skiing long, but I relish it. With little kids, jobs, and other responsibilities I can’t guarantee I will be able to ski at 9am and mess with the wax of the day. Obviously, the best practice for classic is hard wax, but I have to think that some classic is better than no classic, which is the choice so many of us make when we’re in a hurry.
The tracks where I ski are pretty abrasive right now. The surface of the tape has that orange-peel look of an expertly applied, very thin layer of klister. The difference is, this stuff is supposed to last up to 200k. So far I see no wear, and I plan to keep skiing these until I can’t. Bonus—my gloves have yet to become sticky even with accidental touches.
Some people have giant quivers. Cold, warm, klister, hard, rock, skins…you get the idea. I have “good” skis and “rock” skis. The rock skis have been broken and are glued together (pregnancy accident). That said, at less than $20 retail for a roll of tape—which lasts 100-200kms and can cover two pairs—I can’t find a better deal. Sure, we would all love to have a pair of those new skin skis, but until the piggy bank is full, this is an amazing alternative. Outfit an entire junior squad with mess-free skiing for the year for the price of a pair of skis, turn your old skis into a guaranteed fun time with no hassle, and best of all, add more classic days to your week. I wouldn’t stop there—if I was facing down a rough wax race day and was unsure, I would put this on a second pair of skis just in case nothing else was working.
Available at most fine ski retailers including Wild Rose Sports in Salt Lake City. There is also a HF version.