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Powder? Wax? Different conditions

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I ski in the midwest, man made boiler plate garbage mostly.  last weekend skid 100% manmade and it was 50 degrees...my fujas cruised down the hill as fast as I would take them.

 

Skied today in 10 inches of powder that was on the wet side. Felt like I was dragging a 30 weight behind me down the hill?

 

Now i thought it was the tune on my boards or the type of wax that was put on by the shop.

 

But then I saw a lot of other people that weren't moving that well either? The hills here are a joke so when you have some powder that slows you down it makes it even less enjoyable. Dont get me wrong powder was fun today!

 

So my question, does this sound like a snow type moisture issue? If so, what type of wax should I carry in my arsenal for a day like today? The snow was the type that falls on your jacket and pants and soaks you pretty good after 5 hours

 

 

I am agressive skier, moguls, double diamonds in Colorado etc...

post #2 of 5

Wet powder is sticky and leads to a suction effect on the base of your skis. 

 

The grind in the ski base can make a difference.  For example, in cross country skate skis (nordic) you can purchase skis with base grind for cold or warm conditions, and this does make a notable difference in glide.  A good ski tuner with the right equipment can stone grind different patterns on your skis for various snow conditions.  However, it is really very unpractical to have a grind on your base to match the conditions (e.g. lot of skis to lug around) unless you are a world cup racer where the grind could make the difference in winning or losing.

 

In addition, in sloppy mashed potatoes, your skis are pushing a lot more snow as you glide forward, which slows you down too.  There is not much you can do about this, although some skis work better.

 

About the only thing that is practical for the conditions that you have described is to make sure that you have on fresh wax that matches the temperature on sloppy wet days.  Typically, waxes are color coded and most yellow wax is for warm conditions and there is a range including red, green and blue as the temp gets colder.  A soft, warm weather wax works poorly when it's cold.  Many people and most shops pick a wax that fits for mid-range conditions. 

 

Also, consider using a high fluoro wax - I find that it really makes a big difference, although these waxes are expensive.  A ski shop won't use HF wax unless you ask for it and pay them extra.  Most ski shops put on cheap hydrocarbon waxes without any additives.  The other people you saw who where also sticking probably had no wax or the wrong wax.  The fluoro is an additive to the wax that repels water and reduces suction.   A wax to consider is Swix HF 8 or HF 10, depending on conditions, but these cost about $70 per forty grams.


Edited by canadianskier - 12/9/12 at 9:05pm
post #3 of 5

What was the temp range?

 

As pointed out above, HF waxes will work, but they are expensive.

 

You don't tell us the air-temps, so I'm going to  guess medium-cold-ish and  point out budget alternatives that work /great/ in the conditions you name:

 

1) Swix CH06 combined with Zardoz Notwax.   Good from about 15F on up.   Apply it according to the Felix process shown here:  http://www.zardoznotwax.com/what-is-notwax/waxing-techniques.php    Don't use the Purple Hays process until you have a fair bit of experience or you'll wind up with a gummy nasty unskiable mess.          You can use this process in Colorado but you will probably want to switch to straight CH06.

 

2) Another budget combo that works well in most wet conditions is Swix CH06 combined with Hertel Hot Sauce.     Good from 20F on up.     You can switch to straight CH06 when you go to Colorado.  For extra speed, use CH06 with a bit of Hertel FC739

 

3) Third alternative (no ironing but does require polishing) -  Swix F4 paste.   If you're really good at polishing it should be good down to 25F.     Less polishing -> less good at cold temps.   Not optimal for Colorado.

 

The top two choices will require scraping and brushing.    For wet snow with any manmade snow content at all, I recommend you polish any wax you're using, with a white non-abrasive pad, or a felt block, or, as a last resort, a scrap piece of fleece.   Polish really, really well.

post #4 of 5

The manmade snow being so slow was definitely a snow moisture issue maybe compounded by aggressive new snow. The water in the snow creates suction on the bottom of the ski much like the way the bottom of a glass sticks to a wet counter and won't slide. When you get some glide, that you have the friction of the new man made snow. As Canadianskier pointed out, a high fluoro wax is going to be best but they are expensive.  A ski race tech looking for the absolute best solution would  have hot waxed with a high fluoro wax probably with something like Dominator FG new snow additive.  (Both specific to the snow temperature).

 

Since this was manmade, I'll assume that the load of new snow was a surprise and you have to rule out any hot wax solutions.  Some of the rub ons that I like and carry with me are: Dominator Momentium (this comes in a new snow version), Zuprtour which is sold by Race Werks, and for really super wet snow Dominator Butter (which is the most expensive of the 3 but is excellent). Any of the rub ons don't last that well, so you may need to redo the bases after half a day (maybe more often in extreme situations).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post
 For wet snow with any manmade snow content at all, I recommend you polish any wax you're using, with a white non-abrasive pad, or a felt block, or, as a last resort, a scrap piece of fleece.   Polish really, really well.

As Cantamount said, you have to polish any of these and don't overload the skis with the stuff, anything of the rub on not stuck to the base surface is going to be wasted. What I have found works best for me is a cork pad (available at any of the ski tuning supply places like Slidewright (don't get the little tiny ones, they are a lot more work)) which I wrap in a piece of a nylon/pantyhose. Rub hard and fast. The bases should be dry but look quite shiny when you are done.

post #5 of 5

Canadianskier touched on the grind pattern, but basically whatever the structure pattern is, if there are areas where the structure has worn down to smooth you'll be in trouble in certain high moisture/cold air conditions.  The structure needs to be edge to edge and what happens, naturally, is that over time the structure running along the edges is the place that wears the fastest.  Check that 1/4 inch along your edges and make sure to take in your skis for a fresh grind if the structure is smoothed away.

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