Preseason XC Skiing Checklist

Whether you are a cross-country skiing athlete or a newcomer to the sport, whether you are planning on hitting the ski tracks or ski out in the wilderness, you’ll want to be ready before the first dump hits your area! Here’s a quick list of to-dos prior to the start of the ski season!

Are my skis ready?

You’ll want your ski base to be ready for that first coat of wax for your first outing! Start by removing the protective wax you put on to store your skis. If you have not prepared your skis for summer storage, there’s a good chance you have old klister or other wax that will not be suitable for late fall, early winter skiing. You’ll also want to look at the overall shape of your skis to ensure they are still good for another season.

Is the top of the ski delaminated (look on tip or end of skis for lift). If they are delaminated, they can be either fixed or changed. Remember, cross-country skis have an average lifespan of X kilometres.
Check bindings. Are they moving at all? Try to clip your ski boots in to see if the mechanism is not stuck and needs replacement.
If you have integrated skins, clean them with SkinCleaner and condition them with SkinImpregnation

Skin cleaning video

Prepare your base: scrape the old wax with a plastic scraper and clean your base with ski cleaner

Base cleaner video

Ski boots

Do your ski boots still fit?

Laces, eyelets, zippers, velcro and adjustment mechanisms still operational

Clipping system under the boot soles is clean, not worn-out and ready to use

Insoles still in good shape

Are your boots excessively worn?


The importance of using good ski poles is often underestimated. The more clicks you put in during the season, the lighter your poles should be. Poles are not that polyvalent and cannot be used across all disciplines, even adjustable ones. Whether you race or practice skiing for fun, your poles should always be picked for the right use and be as ready as you are!

Ferrule Check – If you use your ski poles for roller skating or hiking in the summer, you will want to switch your poles fittings from summer to winter. The ferrule is the tip of the ski pole that holds the basket and digs in the snow. Ferrules can break. If your winter metal tip is broken or missing, you can order replacement ferrules.

Pole handle check – Is the cork in good shape or is it dried out or cracked and needs replacement

Basket check – switch from summer to winter baskets, or from loose snow to groomed snow baskets. Check for baskets that fit your poles.

Straps check –Are your straps in good shape? Is your clip system working well? Don’t purchase an entirely new pair of poles if only the straps are defective, spare parts for handles are readily available.

I have a pole bag to carry them in my truck and avoid scratches and breakage.

Waxing and Tuning

To start the season right, you must have the basics for prepping your skis. This is a non-extensive list of must-haves to allow you to fully enjoy your winter on your cross-country skis:

Wax – does it cover all ranges of temperatures that you will need for your season?


Base cleaner


Waxing iron

Skin care products (if needed)

Table and vises for ski prepping

Wax case or pouch to store or carry daily wax, cork and tools


Protecting your eyes when cross-country skiing is paramount. Harmful sunrays hit the snow and bounce back on your face. Note that polarized lenses are NOT recommended for snow since these types of filters are not optimal to see details in the snow and distinguish icy conditions. Your best option would be to have different protective lens colours to cover all conditions (yellow for overcast days, brown for sunny days) or find lenses that adapt to the ultraviolet conditions such as Julbo’s photochromic Reactiv lenses.

Is my protective eyewear adapted to snow

Do my sunglasses protect me from harmful rays?


Verify your clothing. Does it still fit? Does it need replacement? Ensure you’ll be ready for all-weather conditions with the basic requirements for cross-country skiing clothes. No matter your experience, we recommend the use of multilayers. All baselayers (top, bottoms, socks) should be quick-dry and moisture wicking).

Base layer (top and bottom, quick drying and moisture wicking for next-to-skin use)

Middle layer (warmer layer to put on top of baselayer, wool, xxx, snugfit)

Outerlayer (for changing conditions: softshell, windproof, waterproof)

▢ Pants (softshell, tights, quilted shorts)

Beanie or headband (from light to warm)

Gloves or mittens (light gloves, medium light gloves, mittens or three-finger mitts)

Socks (quick drying and moisture wicking, calf height, snug fit) pick good socks to avoid blisters

XC Skiing Outback Adventure Musts

If you’re planning on going off-piste in the wilderness, you’ll want to carry this extra equipment with you:

Hip pouch or sports backpack

Map holder (try these, from Ortlieb)

 Gaiters for deep snow outings

 Hydration equipment

 Trail or access pass holder




 First aid kit with survival blanket