We recently blogged a bit about wax vs. waxless cross country skis (scroll down to read the recent post) but we thought we should mention a 3rd option: Grip Tape. Pictures above is an in-stock roll of Start Grip Tape for conventional wax-style cross country skis. The concept is pretty simple. Instead of applying grip wax to your skis before every outing you simply apply the grip tape once and it lasts for many outings. What’s even better, it works consistently in different snow conditions so you don’t have to worry about different types of wax – one application of tape will do you for most conditions.
Why do we still use and sell wax then? Well frankly because if you’re willing to take a few minutes before each outing to grip wax your skis you’ll find that there’s nothing that performs better. So really it comes down to performance vs. convenience again (as is the case with wax vs. waxless skis). If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of performance for the convenience of grabbing your skis and going right away, and if you already have waxable skis, picking up some grip tape might be just the thing for you.
Two more quick notes: (1) Similar to what was mentioned previously with waxless skis, grip tape can provide a solution when skiing thru varied conditions where snow temperature fluctuates greatly and conventional wax has problems, and (2) grip wax works well in near freezing conditions. For this reason some conventional skiers use grip wax on their waxable skis around 0 C.