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Guidelines for prepping hairies skis

Wed, Dec  16, 2009 - By Peter Hale


Madshus Zero ski – Hypersonic mod. 258
Sandpaper 60, 80, 100, 120 grain
Scraper (5mm thick), or cork
Liquid silicone, or fluoro powder


Rubbing the base of the ski makes the hairs, which stand up on the base material. These standing hairs provide the grip needed for wet snow conditions. 

General guidelines:

  • Coarser rubs for more humid snow, i.e. wet, heavy snow. 
  • Finer rubs for aggressive snow, i.e. snow with lower humidity.
  • Rubbed skis are optimal in wet and heavy snow and when there are large fluctuations in temperature, especially with rising temperatures. In these conditions the zero skis provide kick while normal kick wax ices up resulting in slippery skis.
  • The rubbed area stays ice free by corking in silicone or fluoro powders.


1. Start by wrapping a piece of coarse sandpaper (60 or 80 grain) around a scraper or cork.

2. Place the scraper on its edge and angle it 45 degrees on the special base material in the kick zone. Rub the hardest part of the camber (under the binding) and continue rubbing 15-20 cm forwards and backwards from this point at 45 degrees to the ski.

Important: Make sure to keep in the centre of the ski with the coarsest sand paper, not rubbing too far towards the tip or the end. Rubbing too long from the centre will damage the glide zone and result in slower skis.

Rub the kick zone area of the ski several times to force the hairs to stand up. Repeat rubbing from both sides at 45 degrees to create a cross pattern.

3. Switch to a finer sandpaper (80-100 grain). Wrap the sand paper around the scraper or cork and work as described above. Start rubbing at the end of the coarse rubbing zone and work towards the ends of the special base material. Rub backward and forward at 45 degree angles. 

4. Work the final 5-10cm on each end of the kick zone (special base material) with fine sandpaper, 100-120 grain.

5. When the entire kick zone is rubbed, finish up by applying two or three quick passes with an open flame along the kick zone. Important: Move the flame constantly, never letting the flame remain in one spot.

6. Rub silicone or fluoro powder by hand in the rubbing zone making sure to cover the entire kick zone. 

If, when you try your ski they are sticky, the kick can be mellowed by using a finer sandpaper (4 or 5 passes).  If you need more kick, use a slightly coarser sandpaper in the centre of the kick zone.
This method allows you to adjust your kick as you would with traditional kick wax. 

These are general guidelines. Feel free to experiment with finer and coarser sandpapers, etc.