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Bases don't "dry out"?

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
A discussion in another forum leads me to offer the following food for thought.

Discussions about tuning and waxing always seem to lead to an admonition that bases can "dry out" if they are not waxed periodically. In my opinion this is an unfortunate term to use, since it does not describe what is actually happening, and implies a decreasing amount of moisture somehow resulting from atmospheric conditions.

Actually, the wax is being heated/drawn out of the base by use, thereby exposing the base to heightened base-burn/abrasion, resulting in the "whitish tinge" and microscopic hairs. Base-burn is another name for it. Skiing on the ski causes the wax to be drawn out, and abrasion to wreck havoc on your bases. Waxing regularly keeps wax in the base and hence keeps them from becoming abraded.

As proof of this, look at some skis that had a reasonable wax job (or even a factory wax job) that have been stored properly for a year or two. The bases do not "dry out" when they are not used. Leftover skis in a shop a couple of years old look the same as they did when they were new.

If you are a hard-charging carver, even the best wax job will result in base-burn down each side edge of the base by the end of the day on "frozen granular/New England packed powder". This can be combated by driping/rubbing a thin line of the coldest (hardest) wax you have down each edge of the base before ironing. One can also use hard powders such as Swix CH3 or LF3 along the base edge of the ski.

Perhaps it would be more appropriate to refer to the base as being "full" or "empty" of wax rather than "dried out"?
post #2 of 2
That sounds right to me. People also use the term "oxidation," which seems like a more elaborate and equally inaccurate term. The most obvious clue that it's rubbing against snow, and not exposure to air (or anything else) that does it is that the white area is (typically) along the edges, not in the middle.

I suspect someone will take exception, though.
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