Cross-country Skiing Tips

Preparing your equipment

Hard Wax

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.

What to bring

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.

Buy a ski bag

A bag will protect your skis and make it easier to load them on the bus and to carry them on the Metro. Please identify your bag clearly with a piece of contrasting fabric with your name on it tied to the outside of the bag, or write your name on the outside of your bag. If you do not have a bag, then your skis should be strapped together securely and labelled with your name.

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.

Avoid overdressing

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.

On the trails

Be sure to consult our On the Trails page for lots of useful advice.