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Helmets - and waxless problems

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
Has this ever happened to you? It's my first day out this season. I'm at Smuggler's Notch, and the snow cover isn't THE best, but it's not too shabby - some natural, a lot of manufactured. I'm sliding down the hill past a snow gun, when suddenly my right ski catches on something, the binding releases, and I fall forward - HARD - right onto my forehead and face in general. The helmet part: I did get a bloody nose and a fat lip, but I think the damage would have been worse without the helmet. Whadaya say? What happened to the right ski: I picked it up and put it back on. WOULDN'T SLIDE AT ALL! I took it off, looked at the base, and it as covered with wet snow and ice. It took me fifteen minutes to get the stuff off. Some of it was just plain ice, stuck right onto the base like freezing rain sticks to the highway. The ski patroller showed up and said that the snowgun had made a wet pocket. My skis were ice cold, and so the wet snow and water glommed onto the base. Has this ever happened to you? The skis had not been waxed since last season. Could this have been prevented with a good wax job, or is this what happens, regardless of wax, when you run an ice cold ski through a puddle?
post #2 of 48

I have heard it is pretty rough skiing out east but no one ever mentioned ATTACK SNOW !!!!

Not a wax enough expert to advise.

Oz :
post #3 of 48
It's a rub-on.
I think it's teflon.
Availabe at a ski shop near you!
post #4 of 48

I just have to drop a note of thanks for your prodding on the helmet issue ..... yesterday, you saved my melon! Slipped on the ice while carrying the skis to the rack and landed on my butt OK, but the skis went up and then came back down with a resounding crack ..... freshly sharpened (and waxed ), they put a nice gash in the helmet!

Yeah! Wax would have prevented the fall. Don't be intimidated by all of the wax mavens who go to extremes. A good basic wax job will require a $20 investment.

$2 for a thrift shop iron, $12 for a bar of fluro wax, $2 for a K-Mart windshield scraper and $1 for a Scotch-Brite pad and steal some of those heavy duty rubber bands from your office to secure the brakes.

BTW .... the glom and glop on the bottom of an old iron will usually come off with salt. Just place some newspaper on a counter top and sprinkle on a palm full of salt ... fold edges of paper so the grit doesn't escape .... put heat on highest setting and "iron" the salt.
post #5 of 48
What's the windshield scraper for?
post #6 of 48
James- the windshield scraper is a poor-man's wax scraper. Doesn't always give the most consistent thickness on the base, but it's cheap. Considering new plexiglass scrapers are less than $5, it doesn't seem worth it to me.

Oboe- Zardoz is some snot-slick stuff, but it only lasts a few runs before you need to reapply. It's mainly a racing trick, but I use it on my recreational skis as well (because I'm silly that way). You still need a good wax job under it (wax also protects your bases), but it does make the bases faster.

Call me anal, but I usually have my skis waxed at least four times a year. At the end of every season, I have storage wax put on to keep the edges from rusting and the bases from drying out. At the beginning of the season I have a coat of warm weather wax slapped on. Around January I use a colder wax. In March I go back to a warmer-temp wax. And the cycle continues... Even having your skis done professionally is relatively cheap when you consider your investment in your skis. If you consider them a disposable item to be upgraded once a year, this may seem silly, but my wife has very definite opinions about me being a gear-whore, so I have to make what I have last. That is, until I can sneak another pair by her...

I've noticed that man-made snow is grabby when compared to the natural stuff, especially when the temperature gets up there. It's like pockets of Spring-skiing scattered around the mountain.

Helmets... yes. I was hit three times last year before I got smart and got a helmet. This year alone the chairlift bar at a local hill has whacked the back of my helmet 10 times while getting on (tall guy on a short guy's hill). I don't ski without it. To tell you the truth, I was lucky enough to find a helmet that fits my head really well (Gyro 9), so it is more comfortable than a beanie to me. Besides, when friends ask me why I wear one I can reply, "because it's warm". I don't have visability problems, it's comfortable, and... oh yeah... it protects my head too.
post #7 of 48
Thread Starter 
Actually, it has been my former usual pratice to have all skis tuned and the bindings checked before taking them out on the hill. So I tried to save a few bucks this time. A wax job at my local shop is cheap enough, though, so I'm taking them in today for wax and edge touch-up while I lick my wounds. Thanks for the input, and I'll be interested to read more. I'm not yet fully convinced that wax would have helped . . . but I'm not fully convinced that it wouldn't - so wax I will.
post #8 of 48

Same thing, except for the head plant, happened to me at Sunday River a week ago. Essentially all man-made (ok, person-made) snow. Started to ski down from the lodge, I was moving downhill, skis were stuck. Almost face-planted but caught myself.

I hadn't waxed my skis since mid-season, probably late February. Bad boy, didn't do a summer storage wax. Base was totally unwaxed.

That snow stuck to it like barnacles to a boat. By the time I made my way down the hill by muscling and poling downhill, I had about 1.5 inches of snow crud building up on the bottom.

Popped them off, walked out to the front of the closed base lodge I'd gone down to, and waited for the shuttle bus to take me over to South Ridge where I got them tuned and waxed before daring to go out again. Skis slid ok after that. I was in crummy early-season form, but the skis moved once they had some wax on them.

Funny thing is, as much as I should have waxed them before my first time out this year, the last 3 years I had not done so either. Usually get a tune after my first day out. Never got stuck on unskiable snow before.

Nasty fake snow :

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 31, 2001 09:42 AM: Message edited 1 time, by MarkXS ]</font>
post #9 of 48
I'm confused about the scraper... please tell me if the self-waxing routine I was taught is missing something:

1. Apply wax in snail-trail fashion across base.

2. Use iron to melt & distribute.

3. Buff/remove excess with Scotch-Brite pad.
post #10 of 48
Oboe, Sorry to here about the nose and lip. You could have always gone with the "you should see the other guy" excuse.

My $.02 about the wax. If you do it yourself, and you know its going to be cold and/or they are going to be blowing snow, go with a blue wax. Blue is for very cold conditions and wil help with the typical eastern powder conditions (snow gun powder). If you don't do it yourself, but know the conditions, ask the shop if they may have blue wax or buy some and ask them to use your wax on your skis.

I just did a day on Beech Mtn in NC, and conditions were very much the same as up where you were. Skis were great and the wax allowed me to play closer to the guns where the better snow was. Again, just my $.02

JD, the scraper allows you to take off the extra wax easier and more uniform without all the scrubbing with the scrotch bright. Scrapers are cheap and do a better job than brush and/or scotch brite alone. I polish my base some with scotch brite but use scraper/brush for the main work. Be careful with how you use SB becuse a little pressure in the wrong area leaves you with dull edges.
post #11 of 48

Let the wax cool for a few minutes and then scrape. You will be scraping off about half of what you just put on. Just use a scraper that is wider then you edges then a quick buff with the pad.
post #12 of 48
I'm a bit rusty on my waxing technique, but aren't you supposed to scrape down to the base, as the base is supposed to absorb whatever wax is needed and anything else is extra, unless you were doing a storage wax...?

Personally, I take my skis to the shop now 'cause I'm lazy (and I have hooks)! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #13 of 48
Thread Starter 
I was not able to "pole" down the hill - the stuff was glommed on so much that the ski would not move at all. The guy at the shop said that the situation may have been somewhat lessened by wax, but not totally prevented. Anyway, I'm picking them up on New Year Day in the late afternoon, and when my flesh is healed, my spirit will take me back out to the hill.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 31, 2001 02:57 PM: Message edited 1 time, by oboe ]</font>
post #14 of 48
Hi oboe -

I can't recall a single time that I've seen an incident like yours occur for the reason I think you are hypothesizing, ie, ice formed on your bases immediately as you went through the puddle, and that ice is what threw you.

Rather, I think what happened is that you hit a patch of wet/grabby snow, the change in friction threw you (without any ice being attached to your bottoms at that point), and in the several minutes it took to get yourself together, your skis did eventually ice up from the water.

Usually, what happens is that if you had been able to stay on your feet and keep skiing, any water between your bases and the snow would have been pushed off in the next couple of feet, and you would have observed no lasting effects from the puddle (except perhaps for some inconsequential ice forming on the *tops* of your skis).

My major worry about going through puddles is that water sometimes gets into the bindings, turns to ice, and causes them not to release.

The classic cause of snow stuck on ski bottoms is when the skis have just came out of a nice warm SUV or hotel room, the person throws them down on the snow to click in, the warm skis melts the snow underneath, but the temp of the skis is dropping fast, so that within a minute or so eventually everything (bases, melted water, water saturated snow, etc.) all drop below 32F and stick together like glue.

Wax certainly is important in minimizing deceleration in patches of grabby snow, but learning to read the snow ahead of you is equally important. Most of the time you should be able to recognize the change in snow texture where it gets grabby. At that point, I usually slide one foot ahead to increase my fore-aft stability for the inevitable deceleration, and schuss right though the patch. Short skis (such as I believe you have) reduce fore-aft stability, and require some compensatory change in technique.

Tom / PM
post #15 of 48
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by oboe:
I was not able to "pole" down the hill - the stuff was glommed on so much that the ski would not move at all. The guy at the shop said that the situation may have been somewhat lessened by wax, but not totally prevented. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That's right. Once the ice formed, it can be next to impossible to get off. Waxed bottoms will make it easier, but if the ice is encasing your skis, its still not going to be easy - think serious whacking at this point!

The guy in the shop was right - waxed bottoms will reduce the decceleration you experienced, but will not totally elminate it (hence my suggestion to slide one foot forward in my previous post).

Happy new year!

Tom / PM
post #16 of 48
Yes, I too have done the face-plant-into-hardpack trick, and had a broken nose for it. It all happened so fast I wasn't inclined to theorize about it. And that was in my Pre-Helmet period. I also looked like I had taken a cheese grater to my forehead.
From what you describe, Oboe, it sounds as though you're lucky you didn't "wishbone" yourself, with one ski going fast and the other one suddenly hitting the brakes.
Every first week back on skis brings it mishaps. Glad you survived yours.
post #17 of 48

The same thing has happend to me,however, without the injuries(knock on wood). The only thing that a fresh layer of wax would have done is lessen the time taken to scrape the ice off the base. Snow guns are funny, a change of one degree in temp. or humidity and there's a totally different snow being made. One run you could be skiing next to a gun and the snow is great, the next run you do the same and you find yourself on your ass.

If there are any specific questions about snow guns, temps, mixtures, air/water percentages, grooming, etc... I can answer some questions but the person to really ask is lbrother1. He's been on the Toggenburg mountain crew for a number of years now and knows all about snow making.
post #18 of 48
Thread Starter 
Well, you're quite right, CERA, that patch was fine on the previous run before my mishap and on the next run after my mishap, and there was nothing visible to my eye on any ocassion to warn me of trouble or any difference in appearance. However, I did not fall on my ass, but rather on my face, which may to some folks appear to be as ugly as my ass. Remoinds me [yup, phonetic spelling] of the VUR-mont fahmuh who said to me, "Why, that woman is SO UGlih, every time I see huhr face I got to grab my own ahss to make shoo-uh it's still THEY-uh!"
post #19 of 48
Another good reason to wear a helmet is the unexpected rain. Caught us yesterday and the helmets kept us dry and warm. Not at all like our unprotected faces...stuck out there in the rain and wind. BTW Oboe, how do you get those MOD X's to bend on wet ice. I was struggeling. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #20 of 48
Call me anal, but I usually have my skis waxed at least four times a year.

Mike, if that's anal then I must be a psychiatric horror case. I won't ski more than 3 days on a wax job, and in the spring, where the corn strips the wax clean, I wax after every day.

Working in a ski shop for a number of years makes you respect the value of a well-tuned base. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #21 of 48
Thread Starter 
Ryel, I'm 140 pounds and those flexed for me as much as ANY ski, and you are heavier that I am [as most people are!]. So if I flexed those skis, YOU flex those skis. If there's a real big problem, then the conditions warrant getting off the hill. I remember one year I and my sons went to Sunday River, and on the third day it rained. When the rain stopped, we went out to ski. It was like trying to ski setting concrete, and our legs couldn't cut it - so we quit for that day and went back out the next. BTW, they're Mod 7/8's, not the Mod X [the Mod X is a stiffer ski] and the perfect size and shape for both you and any decent skiable conditions. In fact, they're the easiest skis I've ever owned. Try them on a better day, and let me know how it works out. I usually use my T-Powers for ice and the K2's for decent stuff. I much prefer the K2's.
post #22 of 48
I'm starting to panic here, because to my horror I totally agree with you.
Every 3 days I get them done. (and I've been helping out at a shop for a few years, so I see a lot of skis that have been abused)

post #23 of 48
I must be more psychotic than the rest. I wax every time I ski unless I'm on a trip.
post #24 of 48
WTFH, it's an Irish thing (maternals - Carroll, paternals - O'Neil)

Lucky, we always knew that about you!
post #25 of 48
Gonzo, that explains a lot...

Is there anyone else out there who would like to come out of their closet and admit to being...

So far, there's me, Gonzo, and little miss SS.
post #26 of 48
Now I'm worried...i usually wax before every day, including when i'm on vacation. BTW, security is very suspicious when you carry on a bag containing wax blocks, especially when they prob don't even know what skiing is...
post #27 of 48
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by oboe:
the perfect size and shape for both you and any decent skiable conditions.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
They are perfect for me but your right about the conditions. I'm waiting for some fresh snow. This warm front is killing me.

post #28 of 48
Gonz: I'm surprised you don't live in Butte with the rest of the Irishmen.
post #29 of 48
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by DaMtnRider:
Now I'm worried...i usually wax before every day, including when i'm on vacation. BTW, security is very suspicious when you carry on a bag containing wax blocks, especially when they prob don't even know what skiing is...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Me too. I usually wax every night after skiing. It's only a few minutes and gives me a chance to check my edges and bases. I figure if I keep it up, I won't get stuck working on them for a long time when I skip a few days and start to dread the extra work.

Speaking of security, just think how strange they must think of someone carrying not only the wax but an iron, steel scrapers and files. HMMM. Maybe I'll have to rethink this next trip's packing....
post #30 of 48
As long as you don't take it in your carry on luggage, you should be OK.

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