It is winter time! The time to get your skis ready, and fit your winter tyres.

Skier cleaning snow from his car

How to get grip-ready?

Wintersports enthusiasts simply can’t wait for the start of the season.

The winter is fast approaching with its freezing temperatures and slippery roads. It is almost time to get your skis and snowboards ready, and fit your winter tyres so you’re grip ready, too.

But what does the word "GRIP" mean?

What parameters must be considered in order not to slip and slide on wet and icy roads? Read on to learn more about how to gain maximum control while slicing through the winter season.

Great grip on snow and ice


To improve the friction performance of snow runners like skis and snowboards, they have to be treated with a special ski wax. The result depends on the right composition of the ingredients, and some producers therefore keep their exact mixture a secret. What we know for sure is, that the waxes consist of different chemical ingredients like hydrocarbon molecules, paraffins and synthetically produced fluorine-carbon compounds.

While ski wax improves the gliding properties of the skis, the rubber compound in tyres is there to optimise the tyres’ grip.

It has to be soft enough to adapt to the unevenness of the road while at the same time the structure of the profile blocks has to avoid slipping on ice and snow. The main component of the tyre, the rubber, delivers the slip resistance on the road. To reduce the rapid wearing of tyres and raise their durability, ingredients such as carbon black, silica, and chalk are added to the mixture. Softeners are also important as they guarantee better traction on snow and ice and contribute to the slip resistance.

The right components matter

The perfect grip on snow and ice also depends on the components of the tyre.

The right combination of the two major components - tread and body, ensures stability and running performance.

The tread package consists of

  • Tread - for high running performance, good traction, and water displacement
  • Jointless cap plies - allow high speed
  • Steel belt layers - optimise driving stability and rolling resistance
Ski and winter tyre components

Ski and winter tyre components

The body consists of

  • Belt plies - add strength to the tyre
  • Inner liner - ensures that the tyre will hold high-pressure air inside
  • Sidewalls - give the tyre environmental resistance
  • Beads - support driving stability and precise control
  • Core profile - raises driving stability and comfort
  • Steel core - provides the strength to fit the tyre to the wheel 


Skis or snowboards are easier to knit together.

Everything revolves around a light wooden core, usually made of bamboo or poplar. In order to achieve optimum stability, the laminates are interspersed with channels for threading carbon or glass fibres. A combination of hardwood and softwood is glued together in a sandwich principle to achieve the best driving characteristics on snow and ice.

A decorative plastic lid is then pulled over the core to protect the ski or snowboard from scratches. Upper and lower belts distribute the frictional forces optimally, while the side bolsters protect the core from impacts. Steel edges on the side provide the necessary grip on the slopes. Beneath the correct ski wax, you find the surface and damping elements, which ensure smooth running.


The right profile for winter sports


The word "GRIP" refers to adherence to the road.

The surface interlocks with the ground and thus ensures driving stability. Decisive for the necessary grip are the already mentioned material properties, as well as the tread structure and the correct tyre pressure. Having the right profile is the key to a confident performance in winter sports. For skis and snowboards, a good cut of the edges is essential for good cornering adhesion. Depending on the cut, the driving behaviour of winter sports equipment changes. Ski or snowboard edges are sanded at an angle of 85-90°. The smaller the angle, the more aggressive the handling becomes. The edges cut like knife blades into the snow or ice surfaces and thus ensure a stable cornering position.

But that`s not enough for the winter tyres pattern. Here, well-designed snow hooks in the pattern grooves and grip edges ensure driving pleasure in alpine snow conditions. Perfectly arranged blocks have numerous sipes that provide sufficient grip on slippery roads. The tyre pressure of winter tyres also plays a decisive role in maintaining grip and not slipping.


Take note of the tyre pressure specifications of your vehicle manufacturer and check the tyre pressure regularly. You can easily measure the tyre pressure at any filling station using tyre inflation measuring devices. It is important that the tyre is cold during the measurement i.e., you should not drive more than ten kilometres at a moderate pace to the nearest filling station. And don`t forget your tyres. If the tire pressure is too low, here you find the correct values:

  • On the B-pillar of the open driver's door
  • On the inside of the fuel cap
  • On a sticker in the glove compartment
  • Directly in the manufacturer’s tyre pressure table

Short braking distances on wet or slippery roads


Sharp edges and a skilful downturn at the end of the ski slope are enough to bring you to a standstill on the slopes or on powder snow.

In your car, however, a complex tyre tread plays a decisive role in order not to get into a tailspin when braking or accelerating. A good winter tyre delivers stability in all of the following conditions:

  • Snow: The tyre offers strong road grip, very good braking performance and precise handling on snow
  • Wet: The pattern ensures a high level of safety on rain-soaked roads
  • Dry: Even in dry weather the tyre offers maximum stability in corners
winter tyre handling on snow

Winter tyre handling on snow

winter tyre wet handling

Winter tyre wet handling


The tread with its block oriented and siped pattern allows effective water distribution when braking and cornering. The V-shaped structure displaces water and snow from the contact zone providing solid control on wet, slippery roads. The structure and stiffness of the shoulder blocks ensure reliable cornering stability.

For a successful and safe skiing trip your skis have to be well waxed, and your tyres should meet all the right winter parameters as do the Semperit Speed-Grip 5 or Van-Grip 3.

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