All the main ski manufacturers including Rossignol, Fischer, Madshus, and Atomic have come out with a classic ski that bridges the gap between a waxable ski and a traditional fish-scale based waxless performance ski. For tough waxing conditions, nordic skiers have previously turned to performance based skis that are waxless, with the kick zone containing the patterned underfoot otherwise known as fish scales. These skis however tend to be slow due to the drag caused by the scales, but work in tough conditions, particularly when one does not want to apply klister. For many, tough or changing conditions makes it difficult to determine the right wax. Under cetain conditions this new line of zero base or rubber base classic ski performs well. The work best at zero degrees Celsius, or 32 degree Fahrenheit, as well as in wet snow. At zero degrees or in wet snow this may be the ski that works best for racing or just training. Several national skiers have raced in this type of equipment and have done well. But these skis do not work in all conditions and so understand their limitations when hitting the trails.
Rossignol has named their ski as rubber base skis whereas Fischer calls them zero base skis, but essentially the different manufacturers are offering these alternatives to having to wax regularly. The waxless ski requires a bit of specialized prepping in the wax zone in order to maximize kick. The kick zone needs to be roughened and then treated with some anti-icing liquid such as the new Swix Zero spray. Another manufacturer recommends roughening up the base with 120-180 grit sandpaper, and instructs not apply anything to the material, not kick wax or any other treatment. Just leave it alone. By using sand paper, you can adjust the grip depending on snow humidity. It will be up to you to determine which is best for your particular climate and conditions. All who have used these rubber based classic ski find they need to test the skis in different conditions to see when they work best. Most also play with the roughening of the kick zone to get the perfect kick. In exceptionally icy conditions or dry snow however, this may not be the right tool for the job.
Rossignal offers the rubber base high performance World Cup Series Classic Ski for racers and technical skiers. The new carbon tip reduces the ski weight by 20-30 grams. The shorter and lower tip allows for less swing weight and improved maneuverability. The honeycomb core is lightweight and provides excellent compression and strength. Each rubber based ski comes with the NIS (Nordic Integrated System) plate, allowing for easy binding mounting. Excellent glide can be achieved by adjusting the binding placement back to get the grip zone off the snow. By using sand paper the grip can be adjusted depending on snow humidity.
Fischer RCS Classic zero based ski comes with glide zones pre-waxed with Swix fluoro. Fischer's kick zone zero material is well-placed. It stopped just where the rear end of the wax pocket would end. This makes the Fischer's easy to ride and a fast skis right out of the box. Madshus and Atomic also make similar technology.
Most make the investment in this type of waxless ski once they have purchased other classic skis. Since these skis work best at zero degrees or under wet conditions, these may be the perfect skis to train or race in if your area frequently has these types of conditions. At zero degrees Celsius, or in wet snow, these may be the fastest skis around. You can just say no to Klister with the zero based technology if the conditions are right.