Scrape off old wax before applying a new layer. The evening before your trip listen to the weather forecast and apply your wax so that you can save time when you arrive at the centre. It is easier to apply wax indoors where the skis and wax are warm. Apply several thin layers of hard wax, smoothing out each layer with a cork.
Remember that a little bit goes a long way! The more you put on, the more debris that gets stuck in it and the more there is to remove. Put a few dabs of klister along your kick zone rather than applying a continuous line. Smooth it out so that it is as thin as possible.
Carry a Waxing Kit
Save short stubs of wax to take on the trail. You may need to rewax if the weather changes or if your wax gets worn off.
Ski Waxing Clinic
Many outdoor stores offer excellent ski waxing clinics before and during the ski season. Try contacting Boutique Courir, MEC (MEC Ottawa for English classes) and La Cordée for information about their clinics. There are also clinics offered by Les Amis de la Montagne and Ville de Laval. It is definitely worthwhile and will improve your skiing.
What to wear
Wear layers of clothing
Each layer traps an insulating pocket of air. Also, each layer can be added or removed to control body temperature. A middle layer may not be necessary if it is a warm day or if you ski energetically.
Too much clothing makes you sweat, increasing the flow of heat from your body and possibly leading to hypothermia. Garments with insulated linings are too warm for all but the coldest of days.
Avoid cotton fabrics
Cotton absorbs water and sweat, reducing its level of insulation. Wear a layer of polypropylene or polyester clothing next to the skin as these materials are hydrophobic: they wick away moisture. The outer layer should be made of a wind-breaking, quick-drying fabric such as nylon or polar fleece.
Keep your head covered
A large proportion of body heat is lost from the head, so it’s important to wear a hat on cold days or, on warmer days, a headband or earmuffs.
Wear two layers of gloves and socks
Thin polypropylene inner gloves and socks will prevent moisture build-up. On cold days, mittens will provide more warmth than gloves.
What to bring
Buy a ski bag or snowshoe bag
A bag will protect your skis and snowshoes make it easier to load them on the bus and to carry them on the Metro. If you do not have a bag, then your skis or snowshoes should be strapped together securely.
Bring a change of clothes
After working up a sweat, you will be much more comfortable if you change into dry clothes for après-ski and the trip home.
On the trails
Carry a backpack
Even on short outings on groomed trails you should carry a backpack with everything you need in case of emergency: ski repair kit, first-aid kit, food, drink and extra clothing.
Carry your Medicare card and money
Both items will come in handy if you run into trouble or get lost.
Don’t ski alone
We usually ski in groups of at least four people in case one person gets hurt. One person can stay with the injured person while the other two go for help.
Use the map
Maps are provided at every area we visit. Carry one and keep track of where you are. Most centres have signposts at trail junctions. Never assume the person in front of you knows the way.
Keep an eye on the time
Give yourself plenty of time to get back to the bus before the scheduled departure time, otherwise you risk being very unpopular with some 40 or so other Club members and causing the trip leader undue concerns.
Check for frostbite
On cold days, check yourself and your companions at regular intervals for signs of frostbite. White patches on the ears or face or numbness of body parts indicates that frostbite is imminent. If there is no shelter nearby, warm a frost-nipped part by placing a bare hand on it. DO NOT RUB THE AREA because this will cause further damage. Windmilling the arms will warm up cold hands.
Avoid overexertion, dress appropriately and eat and drink at regular intervals. Fumbling, stumbling, disorientation and uncontrollable shivering are symptoms of the early stages of hypothermia. Hypothermia is progressive and must be treated without delay; it can lead to unconsciousness and eventually death! Get to shelter, if possible. Remove wet clothes, add another layer of clothing, drink warm liquids and keep moving to warm the body back up.