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New race ski wax prep questions ( kind of long)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Next season I will be participating in a City League recreational racing program for the first time and I have some questions about wax prepping new race skis. I did a search on waxing and found a lot of threads but nothing quite on point.

This summer I plan to do some skiing at Mt. Hood (abrasive snow in the early morning often softening to glop later in the day). Presently I wax new skis as follows(after checking base for flatness and polishing edges):

1)Fiber-tex with green Scotch-Brite pad (the one you can buy at the grocery store) 100 passes each ski.
2)Hot wax with Swix CH10 (yellow) hydrocarbon wax.
3)Scrape while wax is warm to clean bases(repeat wax and scrape twice).
4)Brush with nylon brush 25 passes each ski.
5)Apply Swix CH4 (blue) hard hydrocarbon wax to bases and iron in three passes (repeat at 10 minute intervals 3-5 times).
6)Apply Swix Ch3 hard powder along edges and iron in (repeat at ten minute intervals 3 to 5 times).
8)Brush 25 passes each ski with nylon brush
9)Fiber-tex with green Scotch-Brite pad 25 passes
10)Apply appropriate Swix hydrocarbon wax and iron in (repeat at ten minute intervals 3 to 5 times)
12)Brush with nylon brush 25 passes
13)Brush 25 passes each ski with green Scoth-Brite pad
14)Repeat only steps 10-13 every two to three days of skiing.

This seems to work for recreational skis. My questions are:
1)In prepping new skis, how much brushing with a green Scotch-Brite pad is okay without wearing down the base structure prematurely?
2)Is brushing 25 passes with a nylon bush after waxing enough?
3)Is using a hydrocarbon wax okay for prepping the bases or should I prep them with a low-flouro wax. (The racing and summer skiing will be in the PNW)?
4)Should I be using Molybdenum as part of the base prep?
5)Finally, should I be using a special base prep wax or is Swix Ch 10 (yellow) hydrocarbon wax good enough for the initial base prep?
6) Should I be doing something else differently?

I am looking for a good approach to wax prepping new race skis. I realize that working on my technique and basic strategy and tactics will be much bigger factors at my level.

If any of the racers out there have some time to respond to these questions I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks. [img]smile.gif[/img]

EDIT CORRECTION: Step 5 should read Swix CH6(blue), not CH4.

[ May 23, 2003, 01:19 PM: Message edited by: Lostboy ]
post #2 of 8
Your prep is more involved than most racers I know, at least for their slalom and GS skis. However, it's pretty much the same as the prep I do for all of my skis.

I use the black Swix fibertex instead of Scotchbrite, mainly because I have it and I think it's a little less abrasive. How many passed I do depends on how agressive the structure is- on a coarser structure I'll do the full 100 passes, on a fine structure I'll do fewer. It's not that I'm worried about wearing the structure off the base, I just don't think it's as necessary when the structure is not as aggressive. You mainly want to get the microhairs and knock off the high points left by the stone grinder. I'll run my Holmenkol bronze brush every 10 or so passes to raise the hairs and use the fibertex to cut them. I also do 20 passes with the fibertex tip to tail, 20 passes tail to tip, and then finish off the remainder tip to tail. Those microhairs tend to lay down a bit and some won't be cut while running tip to tail.

If I'm pretty sure I've gotten most of the hairs off of the skis, I skip waxing with a hard wax (CH-4/CH-6) to remove the micohairs and move on to cleaning.

After I'm done with all of that fun, I wax with a soft wax like LF/CH/BP-8 or 10. First I crayon on a bit to ensure even coverage (the bases are pretty much stripped at this point), and then goop on the wax and scrape it while it's still semi-soft to clean the bases. Like you, I repeat as necessary until they're clean.

Then I move on to actual waxing. Still using a softer wax, I goop even more wax on, spread it properly, and then leave them overnight (or at least for an hour) in a cool place to allow the wax to soak in a little. I do this a couple times before I start progressively stepping up to the wax I usually ski on, which varies between a CH/LF-6 and a CH/LF-7. All told, I wax anywhere from 5 to 10 times after I hot scrape them and before they touch the snow. From there, I just ski and wax frequently.

I've found the wax generally lasts longer on skis that have been prepared like this. At any rate, they seem to glide a little better.

A few tips I've picked up:
- I use blue painters tape to mask off the tops of the skis and the bindings while I'm gooping the wax on so that they don't get covered.
- I use a nylon mesh pot scrubber like you can get at a grocery store (not a brillo pad or other metallic scrubber) to clean the wax off of the edges.
- Base prep and hydrocarbon waxes are just fine for preparing race skis, and a lot cheaper. If you want to run LF, just replace the BP/CH wax with LF on the last couple of wax applications. When it's cold and dry, hydrocarbon is faster than fluoro.
- Brush until no wax dust comes out of the base. I brush tip to tail in long strokes. Run your fingers over the base to look for areas that have excessive wax buildup- they're not always that easy to see.
- I use a Holmenkol oval bronze brush for pretty much everything except fluoro powders. Brian Burnett (Bode's speed ski tuner)uses them, so I figure I can too. It's mild enough not to ruin the structure, but agressive enough to remove harder waxes.
- You can't brush too much.
- It's cheaper to buy wax in bulk. 900 gram boxes of Swix LF wax from Reliable Racing are $149 ($129 for the variety pack), and the 900 gram CH box is $44 ($40). Compare that to $55 and $16 for 180 gram bars. 900 grams should last a long, long time- even when you use a lot to prep skis.

While at summer camp and on salted courses, use a harder wax than you normally would. Softer waxes generally pick up pretty much everything that's in the snow. I usually ski on CH-4/6 with an overlay of CH-7, and I hot-scrape every night if possible. If the skis feel a little grippy, I'll apply a little Zardoz or a similar rub-on wax to add hydrophobic properties. I try to wipe down and sometimes hose off the skis at the end of the day to get as much salt off them as possible. Camps are about technique, not waxing. Get them to perform relatively well, and forget about them while you're on the snow. Save the expensive wax for races.

Have fun at camp.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Alaska Mike,

Thanks a lot for taking the time to provide the answers to my questions and for your advice. I think I'm set now. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #4 of 8
I'm with you guys except for one thing.... after the initial prep, I'd lay off the scotchbrite. It seems to create hairs.
Try the thick white "omni-prep" pads that tognar sells. It polishes the base, doesn't hurt the structure, and totally removes the hairs.
The best way to make skis fast is to wax them EVERY time you ski on them for the first 15 or 20 times out. Twenty waxings with skiing in between each time seems to work MUCH better than just waxing and scraping them 20 times in a row in the shop. You need the abrasive action of the snow to get rid of those damn hairs. In my opinion, those hairs slow skis down more than anything.
post #5 of 8
I agree, the black Swix pads or Scotchbrite are for initial prep. After that, they would just get loaded up with wax and dump a whole lot of their own residue in the mix.

I tried it both ways this winter- waxing 5-10 times before they hit the snow and waxing every time for the first 20 times. The investment of waxing a whole bunch initially seemed to make the wax last longer. Mind you, I still waxed after every day. I wouldn't be suprised if the frequent brushing had something to do with the enhanced glide.

Wax is a lot cheaper than skis, so I tend to really lay on the wax.

As for polishing the base (like cork polishing standard waxes), I'm a little torn on this. On a cold, dry snow, I can see there might be some benefits, but when there's a lot of free moisture in the snow I generally like all of the structure I can get to break the suction. Any thoughts?
post #6 of 8
Every tuner and race service technician has there own way of preparing skis for the first time out. I use canning wax as my ski prep wax because it is cheap and is pure parafin. I save the good stuff for skiing.

My procedure is as follows.

1) Ensure base is true and at desired structure.
2) Set edges to desired bevels
3) Clean base with wax remover
4) Hot scrape using parafin
5) Wax with parafin ensuring that full surface is covered.
6) Scrape once wax is cool
7) Use soft brass bristle brush and remove residual surface wax.
8) Use a horse hair brush to remove wax dust
9) Repeat #5-#8 4 or 5 times
10) Use cold temperture wax along edge. Allow to cool and scrape and brush with brass and then hair brushes
11) Apply Swix F040 cold universal low flourcarbon wax and ensure good surface coverage. Allow to cool.

At this time, skis can be strapped together and left safely.

For the ski day:

12) Scrape with a sharp scraper. Brush with brass brush. Brush with hair brush.
13) Apply wax for the day's conditions. I use Swix Cera Nova waxes. CH, LF, and HF, depending on the day's snow and weather conditions.
14) As like #12 if you will be using the skis right away. If carrying skis to start, strap skis.

At the start:

14) As like #12 if skis were carried to start. If skis were used to get to start, brush using combi brass/horse hair brush.
15) Use start powders and/or pastes as per directions of manufacturer
16) Ski fast.

After skiing:

17) Perform any base and edge work as required.
18) Wipe base clean using Scotchbrite pads. Hot scrape if required. Use brass then hair brush.
19) As like #10 and #11
20) Continue with #12 onward when ready.

A few extra notes:

I do not like using nylon or synthetic brushes or pads for final work since their use creates static. The brass brush removes the hairs on the base much better than Scotchbite, but nothing is better than skiing to wear in a base. Make certain that the waxes you use are compatible with each other depending how you layer. Some waxes don't like anything on top, and others won't work some types as base layers. It is up to you to determine which wax combinations work with your skis. Don't wait until the night before a race to see if a certain combination works. Try to maintain a log about how a certain wax worked of felt at a certain condition. Take a thermometer and measure snow temperature. Humidity and air temperature information can be aquired from the ski patrol. The more info you have, the easier it is to guess the right wax without going onto the hill on the morning of your ski day.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your views and advice. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Beta Racer,

Thanks for sharing your expert knowledge, experience and expertise. [img]smile.gif[/img]
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