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What Wax for Creaky Snow?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
In the PNW, we usually have wet, heavy snow aka Cascade Concrete. However, we have dry powder now. Today the temp was in the teens and the skis were making a lot of creaking sounds on the snow. I can ski ok, but I suspect that this snow/ski interface was interfering with some tight pivot turns.

This noisy snow is kind of irritating. Any special wax for this?

I kind of prefer the creamy pow.... a lot quieter.
post #2 of 18
Hitting the wax on a dry powder day definitely bumps it up a notch. Waxes perform at their best when they complement the snow temperature and humidity. Do you know the snow temp?

I can't imagine wax masking the snow sound........maybe Apple can come out with some iWax. :
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
The problem might be that I don't scrape the wax off after hot waxing. My skis were on a second day after wax. So, there was still some wax buildup. I use a general purpose wax. I am going to try a cold wax and scrape it down, because cold wax takes a long time to wear off.

Creaking means the ski is grabbing, which isn't good.

I have to admit I have been sloppy with my wax jobs. Normal snow (cascade concrete) isn't a problem. But it seems like under 20 degrees and warmer than normal (slush) can present problems.

Another problem is that temperatures can vary up and down the mountain at times. Which is why I normally use general purpose wax.

Creaky snow only happens occaisionally around here so I haven't had much chance to test out different treatments.
post #4 of 18
awaiting more wax-gurus to pop in here... oh just scrolled up and saw alpinord. sorry. (please expand alpinord, any articles?)

anyway, your creaking is actually the sharp crystals scraping your bases and actually catching. think fingernails on a chalk-board. There is static in there too, hopefully someone will address this issue as I haven'r researched it enough.

I recommend admitting how important a structure is. many of us just wax and scrape, if that much. And on powder days, many of us just blow off everything believing that minute performance differences aren't recognizable. (it's all about flex and shape in pow, right?- no.)

if your snow is creaking, it's humid and cold and like riding a gazzilion needles all facing up. You need a cold wax (hard) and fine structure.

toko blue (or any cold/hard wax)- then scrape- then cork- then a 3m pad- then horse hair.

The above is my coldpow happiness. there are many others, but it works well enough for me. (and no, the creaking doesn't stop.)

Any other ways to defeat the super-duper sharp crystals that have grown fingers on their branches due to the humidity? It's like trying to ride a cotton shirt down a hill covered in tennis balls that have needles pointing in every which direction.

Japan is a very humid country. Very foggy too. during and after these cold crystals fall, the humidity actually grows off the crystal. Imagine a big snowflake placed in the freezer. Imagine frost growing on snow. aka, a ball of needles.

EVERY square milimeter of everything exposed to the air is covered in frost at my hill here in japan. Pow sessions are about skiing trees that are literally completely white. There is no bark. There isn't anything but fog, frost and shades of white. Nearly impossible to wax for. But fricking beautiful. grey doesn't even enter the color-spectrum. the trees don't have leaves either. Think skeletons.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Horse hair? Have to look at that one.

Thanks, out comes the cold wax and full treatment. Might as well clean the base while I am at it.

You are right, I thought a lot of this super waxing stuff was for racers. But, I find that I need to do better in this super cold snow.
post #6 of 18
You may already have a horse-hair brush. check your shoe-polishing kit that never gets used. If the brush hasn't been used yet, go for it. It's not quite as nice as the one that costs 30 bucks at your shop as they bristles may be fairly long, but it's worth a go to see if it helps you have more fun.
post #7 of 18

Creaky ski noise

Get some Blue or even Green, I use Blue a lot over here when it gets really cold. The blue sets up very solid so I: Scrape bases clean, hot wax in blue, let cool but not till ice cold, maybe 5 mins afters it not warm any longer, scrape, let sit 15 min, horse hair brush, polish base. Works for me.
Minus 3 here yesterday and blue worked good. Almost green weater but don't have any - yet.
post #8 of 18
The quality and amount of snow as well as air temperature all influence if snow will be noisy or quiet underfoot. Snow has air trapped between each flake, and when stepped on, those air spaces absorb sound. Dry, fluffy, new snow has more air trapped between each flake resulting in quiet footsteps. Wet, hardened, old snow has less air trapped between each flake, which means that less sound is absorbed resulting in noisy or squeaky snow. The amount of snow affects sound, too - the more it snows, the more air gets trapped, and thus, the quieter the snow. However, snow only makes sound when the thermometer dips below 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 degrees Celsius). Temperatures above 14 degrees allow the snow to melt just enough to slip silently under your boots as you walk. So your boots can be a good indicator of just how cold it is outside in the winter.
- Retta James-Gasser, Gooseberry Falls State Park naturalist
post #9 of 18
Racing aside, using the ambient air temp to determine the appropriate wax will substitute for measuring snow temps. Until springtime, I'd forget about the humidity factor and just go with a hydrocarbon wax.

These last couple of days I crayoned in some Swix CH4/ CH6 that I melted together into a single block for the heck of it last season. I then hot waxed with CH 6. It has worked very well these last two days.

I'm sure that you could skip the CH4/6 combination crayon job. I just mixed up the combi wax last season because I had a block of CH 4 laying around for several seasons that was scarcely used and nothing better to do at the moment.

Swix CH 4 range is from -26F to +14F
Swix CH 6 range is from +10 to +21F

Other companies make waxes in similar ranges.
Swix makes a Universal Cold Wax (U10) with a range of -4 to +32 which is more of a compromise but works reasonably well.
post #10 of 18
It's cold-as here and I'm going to have to bite the bullet and actually wax the skis. the only wax I have is some horrible green stuff (Swix CH 4) I got in the big freeze in Vermont years ago, and I'm not sure I want to work with that again... it's very hard and brittle and won't go on nicely. So I bought some red, and I'm going to mix it with the green.

Very cold snow is a pain because it grabs onto the skis and they won't run smoothly. You need harder wax for colder snow, and it's not very nice to put on. Or scrape.
post #11 of 18
rux,

The harder cold temp waxes like swixch4 are a good wax for what you want, but hard to scrape after hot waxing. I scrape them while the ski is still slightly warm. Scrape as much as you can and because the wax is so hard, brush with a bronze or bronze/nylon brush until there is no wax visible on the surface of the base. A softer brush can used after that (no corking necessary). For extreme cold (-20 to 0) a graphite wax works well. The snow crystals actually squeek when you walk on them or ski over them. The graphite wax works as a lubercant rather than a water dispersing agent.

RW
post #12 of 18

Warning: blatant plug

No articles samurai, but personal experiences to pass along. We just had a good cold snow dumb with 'Creaky snow' and was pleasantly surprised to find the the Maplus Race Base med was running very nicely in the powder and on squeaky packed snow as it has been in higher temps and wetter conditions. In powder the zero resistance feel factor of the bases along with the float is a hard sensation to beat.....on boards anyway. : Now that it has dropped below zero, I haven't been out to see if it's still true, but I know the RB Hard is as hard as you can get and does work very well and as the temperature rises, it still runs well. The P1 & P2 colds & meds (mid range) work great in these conditions as well per several times skate skiing. Nothing like skating and gliding fast on cold dry snow.

As samuarai described, proper scraping and brushing is also very important to get the glide.

One of the real values of Maplus high melt waxes is they have broad temperature ranges and are as hard as you can get as far as I've been informed (take it with a grain of salt). The RB med is easier to work with than the Hard, but could require half the number waxings as other same temperature waxes, due to it's high durability. It is fast on and in the San Juan snows. It is becoming my personal favorite as a no brainer 'universal wax' for our conditions and with longer life. Using the more temp specific P1 or P2, bumps the glide a notch as an overlay.

(I would also suggest that those advocating removal of the shipping waxes of skis in wrappers from major ski manufacturers, to try a quick cleaning only with something like Simple Green or a citrus cleaner and brushing/polishing, and try them out before recommending others to spend their time and mess with hot scraping and reapplying more wax. You may be pleasantly surprised. ).
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
anyway, your creaking is actually the sharp crystals scraping your bases and actually catching. think fingernails on a chalk-board.
Are you sure of this? I thought that most of the sound when skiing in creaky snow came from the constant compression of new snow as the ski moved forward, much like described in this post about walking in creaky snow, and not from "grabbing".

Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post
The quality and amount of snow as well as air temperature all influence if snow will be noisy or quiet underfoot. Snow has air trapped between each flake, and when stepped on, those air spaces absorb sound. Dry, fluffy, new snow has more air trapped between each flake resulting in quiet footsteps. Wet, hardened, old snow has less air trapped between each flake, which means that less sound is absorbed resulting in noisy or squeaky snow. The amount of snow affects sound, too - the more it snows, the more air gets trapped, and thus, the quieter the snow. However, snow only makes sound when the thermometer dips below 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 degrees Celsius). Temperatures above 14 degrees allow the snow to melt just enough to slip silently under your boots as you walk. So your boots can be a good indicator of just how cold it is outside in the winter.
- Retta James-Gasser, Gooseberry Falls State Park naturalist
If so, wax will help "grabbing" and the very high friction you encounter in extremely cold dry snow, but won't do a thing about the noise.

YOT
post #14 of 18
no... not so sure, just trying to give a brief explanation about those crystals breaking and grabbing. Compression, as you mentioned is also a factor, those crystals breaking against each other scream in agony. No matter how well you wax, the creaking won't stop, as it is the result of other snow touching other snow, not just your skis as you pointed out. i was just hoping to make the contact wtih teh ski recognizable via a chalk board example.
post #15 of 18
I don't know about anyone else but I like the sound of squeeky creeky snow under my skis.
post #16 of 18
Quote:
The problem might be that I don't scrape the wax off after hot waxing.
An easy way to remove excess wax is, after ironing the wax into the base, melt it one more time and immediately wipe the excess off with a paper towel. I have my iron in my right hand and the paper towel in the left, wiping as I melt the wax. No, not good enough for racing. Yes, just fine for everyday skiing.


Ken
post #17 of 18
Next time, try placing the paper towel, brown paper bag or fiberlene between iron and base while running it down the ski to absorb excess wax.

I agree slider.
post #18 of 18
Umm, don't put freezer paper between the iron and base. That comes from experience. It heats up, stuff comes out of it, and leaves white crap all over the base. I used it for about 30 sec. and had half a ski full of white pasty crap. Had to scrape it all of, and try again.

So, again, don't use freezer paper between the iron and base, if by some weird reason you ever get the idea to.
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