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Best wax for manmade snow

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I need to buy new wax for next season and I wonder what I should buy. I do know our local hill is usually manmade snow and some waxes are better than others for those harsh crystals. I usually use CH wax, but any recommendations?
post #2 of 20
Any wax works on man made, the secret is a religous waxing schedule...daily. Man made snow is very abrasive and strips wax like a belt sander.
post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylormatt
Any wax works on man made, the secret is a religous waxing schedule...daily. Man made snow is very abrasive and strips wax like a belt sander.
I agree. I ski my storage wax the first day.*scratches head* Well, except for last year. It was a powder day. Good structure is the key to keeping some of your wax on man made. Sometimes I'll use CH4 and leave it on a little thick so it lasts a little longer too. That can get a bit grippy on sunny days though.

Peace
post #4 of 20
Toko makes (or used to) wax specifically for man-made. I've used it and have blended it with other waxes and really liked the results. While it didn't last a super long time, it did last longer than most waxes. If you are sticking with the more conventional wax, a CH is probably best, but like it was said above, you'll need to wax em more often.
post #5 of 20
A lot depends on the condition of the manmade snow. Age, temperature, and relative humidity can all play into the equation.

The Swix wax manual has a chart on the back that lists the appropriate wax for various conditions, which is a good place to start. Generally, the more abrasive the snow, the harder wax I use. I may go down a level or two below the suggested wax if the conditions warrant it to save the ski bases and then topcoat it with a more temperature specific wax or rub-on. The main goal is to ensure the bases stay lubricated and clean. I usually start out with a soft, base prep wax, add in a graphite wax if needed, and then put on the wax of the day.
post #6 of 20
I'm assuming youre planning on hot waxing, so ill go that route with my reply. I ski primarily on man made snow as well, so i have a lot of experience in that department. It is true that man made snow will strip your bases, so your best weapon against this is a lot of waxing. Make sure the bases are never dry. Start out the season by waxing the skis several times with a warm temp wax (swix ch8 is good). After waxing each time, hot scrape, let the skis cool, and do it again. Between 5 and 10 times will be good for recreational skiing. After you ski each time (on man made snow) or at least every other day it is a good idea to wax your skis. If you do not do this you may end up needing a base grind very quickly. A good weapon against base burn is a brass brush though, i would definitely invest in one of those when you buy your wax. As for the kind of wax - wax for the tempurature after that. Dont use HF or LF waxes unless youre racing as they tend to dry out your bases.
Later
GREG

btw, Swix all purpose wax works great for repeated waxing - very cheap and seems to work in most conditions w/o drying out bases.
post #7 of 20

Abrasion Resistance

All snow types can be compared to sandpaper. Different snow types are like different grits. The idea is to find a wax that is "flexible" enough to have good gliding characteristics and good protective qualities.
Dominator Zoom and Swix CH7 are great choices, as they are comprised of one soft component and one hard. This principal allows the parraphin to soften a bit when the surface temp warms up, and stiffen up a bit when it becomes cold.
On the World Cup, I waxed Hilary Lindh's Dh skis with the same wax combo for virtually most events, using Flouro's ONLY when necessary. At this level of competition it's very important to enter as few variables into the tune and wax equation as possible. Lower variability will always increase one's chances for success.
Here was my most versatile wax combo:
LF8-LF6-LFG8 1:1:1
Polyethylene base material is a petrolium based product. It does not "dry out."
The "drying out" effect is the process of snow abrasion actually "tearing out" the soot particles from graphite sintered base material. Base material does not oxidise. A new ski can sit on the racks for hundreds of years being exposed to air, and it will never turn grey.
The first and most critical component to ward of the effects of abrasion is a good base grind. A perfectly hairless finish on the base will always attract less friction, therefore slowing down the abrasive effects of snow on plastic. Once you start to "disturb" the base material with sandpaper, over-heating or other abrasive devices, abrasion will come quicker.
The next critical component is wax. It is a lubricant and protectant. The more you wax, the more protection. To receive the ultimate benefits of wax protection, you need to iron hot wax, then during the ski day, rub on wax at various intervals. The very best tool for this is called a Wax Wizard. Look for it at www.alpineskituning.com. I helped test this product, and can verify its amazing qualities. However, proper waxing technique will dictate whether you burn the base or not. Most people do burn their bases by using a poor iron that is too hot, combined with not melting enough wax on the base to start with. Or by using a wax that is too hard CH6-CH4, when the bases have not been pre-warmed using a softer wax. If you run the iron more than 3-4 continual passes, your chances for burning will increase tenfold.
Base burning melts the pores of the base together creating an extruded surface. This will decrease the bases ability to absorb wax. Whenever your iron sticks to the base, you have instantly burned it. Whenever you scrape the base and the scraper feels like it catches or drags, the base has been burned. This condition is known as "peels." You will find dark residue in the wax scrapings. Some people think it's dirt, but unfortunately it's your base.
Visually, burning is indicated by various shaded areas along the running surface, dark and light spotting.
The only way to get rid of this, is a stone grind to reveal a fresh layer of polyehtylene and start fresh again.
Suffice to say, this is a great topic, but I have to stop now.
Please let me know if I can be of any more help.
Skidoc
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
This is the kind of discussion I was looking for. Before I read all this, I was thinking I needed a really hard wax for protection, but I know I need something that is also soft enough to be absorbed deep into the base.

Question: Can an iron burn a base without any smoking? My concern is my iron is a one temperature only SWIX iron (250 degrees). With warm wax it is tricky. I warm up the iron a little and then unplug it. When it stops melting the wax, I plug and unplug again.

My plan for next year is use one bulk wax for most everything, but have something else to put on top for the warm days. Usually, I am skiing in 18-32 degree weather on manmade snow. I have narrowed down my primary wax choice to Swix Universal cold wax, Dominator all-temp Zoom, Toko Universal all-temp wax, or Toko Cold wax. Any strong opinions?

Question to skidoc. You mention how bad abrasion is. I always read about brass wire brushes to open up the structure. Isn't that abrasive? Or it that a good kind of abrasion?
post #9 of 20
I'm sure Mike will answer later but I'll try to answer since I have burned many bases before. http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=18270

You can definately burn a base without smoking the wax. I would not unplug and plug in the iron randomly as it will cause the iron temp to fluctuate too much. CH8 or whatever warm wax you are using should not smoke at 250 F (121 C). Remember that cheap irons do not always hold the temp properly and usually have a range. My crappy one temp SKS iron has a range of 260-280 F which is on the high side. I might pickup a better iron that has a variable temp setting and can hold a steady temp better.

I am also going to try out Dominator Zoom wax this year as plenty of people love it. I had been using Swix CH7 before.

A steel wire brush is used to "refresh" a base but I wouldn't use it because it is abrasive. A brass brush is used to get wax out of a fine base structure and is not as abrasive but I beleive it should only be used tip to tail and not to be pressured heavily.
post #10 of 20
Has anyone had any experience with "Not Wax"? Does it hold up? Does of work? Does it protect the bases at all?
post #11 of 20
Check the annual Notwax thread for opinions on Zardoz.
post #12 of 20
Thanks, I tlink I get the picture.
post #13 of 20
As a one ski trip a year skier, I've never waxed my own skis. At the beginning of a trip, I always take my skis into the ski shop and have them hot waxed. I ski for 8-10 days if I'm lucky and usually don't rewax.

When they do the hot-wax, do they remove what's on there, or just put it on over what's remaining from the previous season? I'm going to Snowmass this season, is there a particular wax I should buy while there to apply myself?

I hope I'm not hijacking the thread, if I am, let me know.

johnny
post #14 of 20
I would say that you really don't have very much wax left after skiing on them for 8-10 days.

How much do you pay for the hot wax and how long does it take them?
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scalce
I would say that you really don't have very much wax left after skiing on them for 8-10 days.
How much do you pay for the hot wax and how long does it take them?
Usually its a situation where I get the skis to the shop on the day before I ski and pick them up in the AM. As for price, I know it has varied some.

Is there a particular hot-wax I should ask for?

johnny
post #16 of 20
How many seasons have you been on the skis? Chances are your bases need a basegrind if they have not been maintained well even just skiing on them for 8-10 days a year.

I would make sure they are cleaning the base and hot waxing by hand. Some shops will just run the skis over a wax machine that takes 20 seconds.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scalce
How many seasons have you been on the skis? Chances are your bases need a basegrind if they have not been maintained well even just skiing on them for 8-10 days a year.
I would make sure they are cleaning the base and hot waxing by hand. Some shops will just run the skis over a wax machine that takes 20 seconds.
This will be my second season on the skis (bought the previous season, but only skied on them 1 full day). The following year I skied 8 days. I guess I know enough now to ask how they do the hot wax.

Can you look at the skis and see if they need a base grind?

Can anyone recommend a ski shop in Snowmass Village?

johnny
post #18 of 20
Are your bases greyish and fuzzy to the touch?

Or are they shiny black and smooth.

I am also assumimg your skis are graphite.

If they are colored or white just feel them for roughness.
post #19 of 20
also, do you have a true bar or can you get your hands on one (its just a basically perfectly straight peice of metal) to see if your bases have become either concave or convex, another major reason to have them stone ground.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dgudaitis
This is the kind of discussion I was looking for. Before I read all this, I was thinking I needed a really hard wax for protection, but I know I need something that is also soft enough to be absorbed deep into the base.

Question: Can an iron burn a base without any smoking? My concern is my iron is a one temperature only SWIX iron (250 degrees). With warm wax it is tricky. I warm up the iron a little and then unplug it. When it stops melting the wax, I plug and unplug again.

My plan for next year is use one bulk wax for most everything, but have something else to put on top for the warm days. Usually, I am skiing in 18-32 degree weather on manmade snow. I have narrowed down my primary wax choice to Swix Universal cold wax, Dominator all-temp Zoom, Toko Universal all-temp wax, or Toko Cold wax. Any strong opinions?

Question to skidoc. You mention how bad abrasion is. I always read about brass wire brushes to open up the structure. Isn't that abrasive? Or it that a good kind of abrasion?
Great question!
Yes, brass and steel brushes are abrasive. The difference is that you have a small layer of wax between the brush and the base after you have scraped off all you can.
The brush serves to drive the wax through and out of the structure all at once. This is called "structure enhancement." It is very beneficial to do this when one is in search of speed. Otherwise, the most important thing is to not really have any wax standing on the base that you can see, after a hot waxing procedure. This will cause two problems:
1. Create excessive drag.
2. Mute the tune by keeping your base edge surfaces from making proper contact with the snow surface.
Skidoc
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