Klister: Fear Not! - Part 1

Posted by Tom Carlson on Jan 24th 2015

Part 1: Snow Type to Klister Type

Klister is a kick wax designed for less than ideal classic skiing conditions; abrasive, icy, coarse, and finally wet snow. However, less than ideal is a misnomer. Simply put, in these conditions, klisters will have superior grip than hard wax. By opening up to the use and application of klisters, it opens an extended world of classic skiing. Klister often provides opportunities in very fast classic conditions, including glazed/icy tracks.

Klister is softer than hard wax, noticeable at first sight. It is contained in a tube, rather than an open tin like hard wax. Klister has a bad reputation for being difficult to work with, but done right, is almost as easy as hard wax.

Klister Snow Types:

It is easier to approach klisters from the stand point of snow type, rather than temperature ranges. There is always a little grey area with temperatures in regards to wax, which is why looking at snow type and conditions is ideal. Klister is designed for optimum kick in conditions when hard kick wax is not providing sufficient kick.

These snow conditions are:

  • Icy/Abrasive snow conditions (including man-made snow)
  • Icy Dry Corn Snow (melted and re-frozen)
  • Icy Wet Corn Snow (melting)
  • Wet/Slushy Snow (melting and extremely high humidity)

There are six basic categories for klisters: (pictures of all the brands for each category)

  • Base
  • Blue
  • Violet
  • Silver
  • Red
  • Universal/Additives

Base Klisters:

Base Klister is used for all conditions for providing a binder, thus providing hours and hours of endless kick. At certain times, especially very cold man-made snow, base klisters can be used for kick on their own, no other kick required. Base Klister can also be used as a binder for hard wax. This provides an exceptional surface for hardwax to adhere to. You’ll never lose your hard wax if you use klister for a binder. Our favorite is probably the Swix Green Base Klister Spray KB20. Blue Klisters can be used as a binder as well, we recommend either Rex Blue Klister or Rode Blue Special Klister. See Base Klisters HERE.

Icy / Abrasive / Man-made Snow:

In conditions well below freezing, Blue Klister is king. It is the “hardest” of the klisters and provides exceptional kick. This could be when snow melts and refreezes, temperatures dropping out far beyond 30 degress. The tracks will be very icy and glazed. Don’t rule out blue klister for man-made snow. For very abrasive and man-made snow, blue klister covered in either Start Oslo Blue or Green (depending on how cold it is) is extremely fast and has unbeatable kick. The Rode Blue Klister works better in slightly higher humidity cold snow. Rex Gold was designed by the Finnish National Team's Wax Techs and is specifically for man-made snow within the recommended temperature range of -7°C to +3°C.  Fromt time to time, Rex Gold Klister can be grabby, if that is happening, you'll want to cover it to speed it up.  Gear West's favorite blue klisters are Rex Blue Klister and Rode Blue Special Klister. Rode Blue Special Klister has historically also been known as "Skare Blue."  If you see older boxes/containers of it around, you will see the Skare designation.  See Blue Klisters HERE.

Icy Dry Corn Snow & Icy Wet Corn Snow:

Icy corn snow often occurs as snow transforms in the light of day and refreezes. Temperatures will be somewhere close to freezing, either slightly above or below. Sometimes icy dry corn snow will occur when the weather is very windy, removing the moisture from the snow. If icing (icy chunks clinging to the ski) becomes a problem, either covering with or mixing in silver klister will greatly reduce icing. The silver colored additive is aluminum oxide. The best rule for the use of a silver klister, is if the conditions are going from wet to dry. Rode Silver is our favorite silver klister.  Start Universal Wide is a universal silver klister that we love!  Definitely worth having in the box.  Universal Wide is a common klister that we may mix in. Mixing will be discussed in Part 2. 

Wet corn snow is melting snow that is transformed and at or slightly above freezing. Again, this is generally requires a violet klister. KX40S is a violet silver and new to the market.  We haven't had the chance to use this klister yet, so hopefully we can update this and let you know how it runs.  

See Klisters HERE.

Wet / Slushy Snow:

When the snow becomes extremely wet to slushy, red klister is the rule. Red klister is the tackiest and stickiest of all the klisters. These conditions will be sunning and the snow melting quite a bit. Covering the red klister may provide more top end speed, while still having ideal kick. Some reds, such as teh Rex Red, favor new wet snow.  Others, such as Rode and Swix favor wet melting snow. The Rex Klisters are phenomenal: Red for new wet snow, Brown for old icy wet melting snow, and Yellow for complete slush. See Klisters HERE.


Specialty and Fluoro (Racing) Klisters

The Rode Top Line of klisters and hardwaxes deserve honourable mention.  These are a new comer, relatively, in the world of klisters.  They are well worth trying out. The Rode Top Line are specially mixed klisters and hard waxes of their regular kick lines, this combines qualities of 2 to 3 waxes to make an improved overall wax.  

For Fluoro Klisters, the lines are the Rode Fast Fluor KlistersStart FHF Klisters, or Start MFW Klisters.  These are applied as an extremely thin top coat to speed up a "working" underlayer klister via fluoro.  The Start FHF Klisters were used by the US Ski Team and Swedish National Team in Sochi.  Sweden won medals on the FHF.  The Start FHF 10 Wet Red Klister is for wet snow conditions.  FHF 30 Violet Klister is for icy and more humid corn snow.  FHF 50 is used similarily to Start Universal Wide, and can be mixed to supplement more kick.  The MFW Klisters are meant for dirty snow conditons, frequently conditions over 32°F (0°C) are dirty anyways.  This is especially true on man-made snow.  The Rode Fast Fluor Klisters have been around for years and are a staple in the world of racing klisters.

Our reccommendation for a basic assortment of klisters consists of:

Probably the best line of Klister available, easiest to understand and use is the Rex line of Klisters. If you were to purchase one line, this would be it. The Rex Klisters are amazing and are an extremely reliable option in klister conditions, providing enough kick and glide.  However, if you like to pick the "best of" klister, there are definitely standout klisters from various brands. So here is a list of basic klisters that should cover you in a large range of conditions.

If you have any questions or comments, please post below in the comments section!

-Posted by Tom Carlson on Jan 24th 2015