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Adding Graphite powder to pure fluoro for an overlay... - Page 2

post #31 of 47
Them XC guys are ruthless, at Calgary '88 a Canadian team tech got fired right after a race for choosing the wrong wax for a top athlete. Guess thats why they call em misery sticks.
post #32 of 47

Amen to that...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMAS29 View Post
I still think he's overthinking it and should focus on good archery not finding better arrows.
...just to add another data point, waxing for speed out here in the Rockies is disconcertingly simple, which is something Willy Wiltz discovered and related to us in a tuning clinic. We are pretty much cold and dry a bunch of the time, so here's what we do:

- First, for new skis or skis that have a summer's worth of wax and dust, wax and hot scrape a couple/three times with something like Toko red (I use Toko because (a) it runs fast (b) it's simple...blue, red, yellow and (c) one of my teammates can get it for us at pro form prices). Then into the hot box with either red or Toko graphite/moly shop wax.

- Most of the time, for training or free skiing, I don't even look at the temperature. I just iron on, let cool, and scrape/rotobrush the Toko graphite/moly shop wax, which is all of about $12 for a kilo's worth. If I think there's going to be a little moisture in the snow, I may go with Toko Red.

- If it gets cold, I'll usually do graphite/moly for a base layer, cool, scrape, brush, then a thin layer of Toko blue.

- Overlays on race day or speed event training? If it's cold and dry, I may go with some Dominator R6...but probably not, if the snow squeaks like styrofoam. A lot of the time, I'll just run with bare metal Toko blue, scraped really thin and brushed out fully. I have some of the new Toko Nano spray that I want to try out in these conditions.

If you wonder how fluoros perform in these conditions, don't. They suck, period. I was at a DH with a lot of gliding a couple of years back. It was warm, but a cold front was coming in. I played it safe and went with Toko blue. One of my competitors went with Swix Red/Yellow high fluoro, with plenty of warm Cera powder on top. On a minute and thirty five second course, I beat him by six and a half second in one race and nine seconds in the afternoon race.

If the temperature and humidity says go for a fluoro overlay, the best I've found is Toko Helix warm, the spray on application. Seems to have a wide range, a good breakaway characteristic, and doesn't blow into the woods like all that funny looking white powder...
post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post
if the snow squeaks like styrofoam. A lot of the time, I'll just run with bare metal Toko blue, scraped really thin and brushed out fully. I have some of the new Toko Nano spray that I want to try out in these conditions.

If you wonder how fluoros perform in these conditions, don't. They suck, period. .
For a graphic example of this, go out some cold sunny morning after a cold clear Colorado night with pure fluoro overlay. Fluoros will run slowly in the sun, but stop dead in the shade. I have actually gone face first on my xc skis.

For cold dry weather I would avoid the soft waxes for cleaning and storage. The recent wax history of a ski shows through for several waxings, and I don't want a speck of soft wax in my cold weather skis (Yeah, xc skiers have dedicated cold weather and warm weather skis). Warm scrape with something cheap but hard.

For squeeky styrofoam snow, wax with the coldest hydrcarbon wax you have, maybe with some moly or graphite. Scrape and brush really well, then put the ski out in the cold. The contracting base supposedly squeezes a bit more wax out, and you can give them another serious brushing and get more wax off.
post #34 of 47
Great info. Thanks for taking the time to post it. My point continues to be that the most "exotic'" and expensive waxes and related products often are much slower than the most basic hydro's, depending on the situation. You really illustrated that. Yet somehow people don't get that message, and wax very expensively, and incorrectly. I really hate to see it at the younger junior levels. I've overheard the comment that "you have the fastest skis on the hill" too much, when in fact the poor kid probably had the 9 seconds back mix! Doesn't help the kids develop a love for the sport, and have fun, IMO. A lot to work to do at the youger ages, and lower levels of junior racing other than wax....and certainly so in tech rather than speed at the older ages.

I remember my son hanging around with Willi a decade or so ago at US Nationals, just watching him, and coming home with the comment that "you know the brushes, and the brushing is more important than the actual wax." My son was about 10 at the time. Good lesson. We like Holmenkol, for the same reasons that you like Toko. Real simple...and based on our situation, real cheap. Until you mess with the fluoro!! And we like their brushes!

And I completely understand Newfy's illustration. I knew there was a reason {other than my girth} why that XC never has worked for me. I am quite sure that many of these dads who are waxing fools don't do something as basic as lettiing the wax sit on the ski overnight {when possible} before scraping and brushing. I have a friend, an exceptional technician, who runs a number of clinics a year for the younger kids and their parents, and many who could learn a lot can't be bothered. I overhear the comments like "Swix is better, and he sells.....". Like that has anything to do with the learning. Having been to a couple of his clinics as an "assistant", I can say that he never mentions wax brands, or tries to sell. He tries to keep it real simple, and get folks to develop a feel and a hand for the whole tuning process. In fact, he always says that they need nothing but hydro in three temp ranges, and depending on the time of the year, maybe two. This guy was a National team guy, and he knows how to make them run.

Gotta get on-line and blindly order $500 of overlays. I hear they're the fastest. Must be as they cost so much. Time to go....
post #35 of 47

A couple of additional thoughts...

...which will be my excuse for recounting a great ski racing story.

First, let's talk about overlays. Yes, they're wonderful, under the right conditions and when properly applied...but as Ken Kesey once said "Nothing lasts" and nothing (joke, ha ha...) truer was ever said about overlays. Overlays are for getting you out of the start quickly and up to speed in the first few gates of the course. After that, they're gone...$10 or $20 or whatever's worth of fluorocarbons are now sitting in the snow waiting for the next racer down the groove, which is why #1 in a speed event isn't always the best bib number. And which is also why you see everybody in the Betty Up area for the second run of a race (or the second race of the day). Overlays are for breakaway speed, not for the long haul.

Waxes with some fluoro content, on the other hand, are for the somewhat longer haul...as in, maybe two race runs. What this means, of course, is that you need a pair of skis for warmup and another pair for the race, all buffed out (but typically sans overlays) wrapped up in a base protector that you stick in the snow by the start to cool off. If you ain't got two pairs of skis...well, a wax with some fluoro content might be a good gamble, or not, depending on how much you scrape off in the warmup.

"Inadvertently scraping off the race wax" happens to the big boys, too. In the 1968 Winter Olympics, Jean-Claude Killy figured that the toughest gold medal would be the donwnhill, because of all the variables. And he was, right, too. Killy beat Guy Perillat by .08 of a second to win his first gold. What most people don't know was how he managed to win in spite of his wax, or lack thereof. Michel Arpin, who was Killy's teammate, had badly injured himself, and though unable to race, wanted to stay in the game, which he did as Killy's Dynamic ski technician.
Arpin got what he decided was the winning wax combo applied to Killy's skis, and told him to go ski the wax in on a short practice slope near the start of the race, which was something that racers often did back then.

Unfortunately, Killy picked a slope that had extremely harsh, granular frozen snow and basically stripped off all his race wax. When he showed the damage to Arpin, knowing there was no time to rewax, Arpin just told Killy not to worry about it...the skis would be fast enough, but Killy might consider taking some chances and cutting off the line more than he had planned. Which he then did, and you see the results. Perillat, who was a little guy who was smooth as silk, skied an incredibly clean, fluid, and fast run...Killy, who was a bigger guy, just took some ridiculous chances, pulled them off, and managed to glide well enough to get the win. Sound familiar? See, it isn't just Klammer and Bode...

Now...do you want to hear my story about how Arpin helped Killy beat the course record by over 3 seconds at the Hahnenkamm?
post #36 of 47
Only if it involves some vin rouge, to some degree. Just kidding. Bring it on!

Good points, by the way in terms of the overlays vs. the fluoro's. In fact I've joked many a time that there's no need to worry about what your juice is in a DH, and if you're stating after the first page, the starting ramp will have more overlays on it than ice! Too funny.

Great Killy story. Many forget that Killy took plenty of chances with tactics and line in his day. I was fortunate to see him ski a number of times, with my dad, and my dad would grumble that he was making poor decisions, taking too many chances.....much like I grumble from time to time about Bode. Funny, hadn't really thought about that, as so much else has changed.

I want the Hahnenkamm story!
post #37 of 47

Okay, here goes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post
Only if it involves some vin rouge, to some degree. Just kidding. Bring it on!

Good points, by the way in terms of the overlays vs. the fluoro's. In fact I've joked many a time that there's no need to worry about what your juice is in a DH, and if you're stating after the first page, the starting ramp will have more overlays on it than ice! Too funny.

Great Killy story. Many forget that Killy took plenty of chances with tactics and line in his day. I was fortunate to see him ski a number of times, with my dad, and my dad would grumble that he was making poor decisions, taking too many chances.....much like I grumble from time to time about Bode. Funny, hadn't really thought about that, as so much else has changed.

I want the Hahnenkamm story!
...in 1966, in Portillo, Chile, Killy won his first big downhill, which was a surprise to everyone but Killy, who nudged out teammate Leo Lacroix for the gold. Killy, in fact, was little known as a ski racer at that point, which he credits to the fact that he wasn't as physically strong as he wanted to be because he was recovering from a broken leg and an attack of jaundice.

Everyone remembers Killy's 1968 Olympic triple gold, but in fact, 1967 was arguably his best season, which was, coincidentally, the first year of the FIS World Cup. In the 1967 season, Killy won 12 races over the then 3 disciplines, and overwhelmingly earned the overall title. Among those races was the 1967 Hahnenkamm, which Killy had never even entered before. Killy trained well in Kitzbuhel, and had the top training time going into the race. Michel Arpin, however, thought he could do even better...with the right skis.

So Arpin drove non-stop to the Dynamic factory in D'Annecy, France, and made Killy a pair of skis for the next day's race...the perfect length, width, flex, base, and so forth, that Arpin calculated Killy would need to not just win, but do something very special on the Streif.

Arpin tuned and waxed the skis, and drove back to Kitzbuhel, arriving in the early morning as the lifts opened. He and Killy were the same size, and had the same boot size, so Arpin went up and made a single run on an easy slope on the newly fashioned skis, which he then judged to be perfect.

He then skied down, knocked on the door of the inn where Killy was staying, handed the skis to Killy and told him he would win, big, with these skis. Killy trusted Arpin implicitly, so he went up to the start, warmed up on another pair of skis, strapped on the skis that Arpin had made the night before...and which he had never skied on...and crushed the course and the competition, breaking the course record by 3 seconds.

Now...do you want to hear the story about how Killy jumped from a chairlift in Yugoslavia because he was late for his start...gashed his leg on some bolts on a chair tower on the way down...and with blood running down his suit, won both runs of the day's GS? Or the...never mind, you get the picture...the guy was, and still is, one of the great ones...
post #38 of 47
Hmm.

I want some of that epoxy or resorcinol or whatever Arpin used.
post #39 of 47

No dash...

Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
Hmm.

I want some of that epoxy or resorcinol or whatever Arpin used.
...I'd pay a lot of money for that stuff. Can you imagine somebody building a ski in two hours or so, let alone a ski that would end up winning the Hahnenkamm?
post #40 of 47
Great stories!

I remember the wax episode, but never heard the Kitz blitz.

Killy said all he needed to show up with was his gloves and Michel Arpin.
post #41 of 47
Great stories guys!

And very reassuring information for a frugal Scotsman who finds it hard to square spending a small fortune on overlays

I have always wondered if it was just me being cheap relying mainly on Holmenkohl or Swix hydrocarbons when watching the almost universal use of overlays etc at masters speed events. let's me feel better about it now that it is just me that it is slow, not the skis
post #42 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post

Killy said all he needed to show up with was his gloves and Michel Arpin.
I was told by my father that all of the Arpins are somehow related. I wonder if it has something to do with my tuning abilities?

I never got the invite by Killy though. I think I was four at the time.

Michael Arpin
Just have to add an "e" to the name
post #43 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
For a graphic example of this, go out some cold sunny morning after a cold clear Colorado night with pure fluoro overlay. Fluoros will run slowly in the sun, but stop dead in the shade. I have actually gone face first on my xc skis.

For cold dry weather I would avoid the soft waxes for cleaning and storage. The recent wax history of a ski shows through for several waxings, and I don't want a speck of soft wax in my cold weather skis (Yeah, xc skiers have dedicated cold weather and warm weather skis). Warm scrape with something cheap but hard.

For squeeky styrofoam snow, wax with the coldest hydrcarbon wax you have, maybe with some moly or graphite. Scrape and brush really well, then put the ski out in the cold. The contracting base supposedly squeezes a bit more wax out, and you can give them another serious brushing and get more wax off.
I'm not contesting your comments except to point out that my fluoro waxes do not suffer from this and as such they are very popular in Norway/Sweden (see http://www.racewax.no/ and http://www.racewax.se/ for example). My fluoros are manufactured with a different type of fluoro additive.
post #44 of 47

What they said...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rise To The Top View Post
I plan on using a lot of hydrocarbon this year with a little bit of low fluoro, but it can get a tad warm here in NH as you know, esp in the spring series races which are usually on old wet snow. That said, exactly how much graphite should be mixed with a fluoro overlay that will be put on after a few hydrocarbon cycles? 1-4 graphite to fluoro, or more or less?
...you're making this way too complicated, IMHO. By the time you get to the overlay part of the show, you should have already done the graphite/no graphite part of the show with your iron in wax. As I said in a similar thread, all an overlay is going to do for you is give you some breakaway speed out of the start in the first few gates. Then it's gone. It's hard to say that graphite is ever a bad thing, but it tends to be what you want when it's cold and dry, not old and wet as you describe. There are basically four kinds of friction you are trying to overcome with whatever you have in the base:

- Wet friction. When you've got actual water content at the surface of the snow, it can cause your ski to stick to the snow. Take two plates of glass, cover them with water, and stick them together. They'll tend to stay stuck together. Fluoros, which are hydrophobic (water repelling) are a good solution for this kind of friction.

- Dry friction. This is when the snow is so cold and dry that there's very little moisture content. It's like skiing sand in the desert. I've seen charts that show that the snow is inherently 40% slower, or something like that, when you drop down from 32F to 0F snow temp, or something like that. As we've discussed above, fluoros are a very bad choice for this kind of snow. What is a good choice is something really hard, like blue with some cold powder.

- Electrostatic friction. Right now, it's way cold in Colorado, and the snow that's falling is incredibly light, fine, and dry. If you don't do anything in these conditions, you take a couple of runs, take your skis off, and look at the bottoms, and there will actually be fine snow flakes sticking to the base due to electrostatic friction. The solution for this tends to be graphite, moly, or a combination thereof...with a really cold, hard hydro like blue, and maybe some xtreme cold powder dusted in and ironed over the blue.

- Dirt friction. Snow with some water content in it is fast, snow with some dirt content in it isn't. Try skiing across a muddy parking lot in the spring. There's all kinds of gunk in the snow in the spring, or when the snow is warm and wet. It's just like a wet towel in a windstorm, which attracts all kinds of dust and other doo doo. Once again, fluoros are a good choice, because they do a great job of repelling dirt, while hydro waxes tend to attract it.

To get back to what you ought to do, it's pretty simple:

- Rely primarily on hydros. Even if the snow is wet and warm, it's not exactly like hydros suck. The temp formulations vary the amount of wax vs. the amount of stuff like silicone. If you don't do anything more than carry a thermometer to the hill and see what kind of temperature ranges you typically experience, then apply the appropriate hydro wax for the temp, you're going to be way ahead of most people. Out here in the Rockies, it's easy, especially if you use a simple 3 color system like Toko. Without even looking at the temp, I know that most of the time, either red or red with a graphite/moly content, is going to do the trick. The graphite moly is for when we have lots of hydrostatic friction, which is pretty much all the time. In these conditions, on race day, I've found that a little bit of Dominator R6...which has some fluoros but also some moly/graphite or some other stuff like that...might be indicated.

When it gets so cold the snow squeaks like styrofoam, as it is right now, I do a base layer of red/graphite/moly, scrape it and do a quick rotobrush, then put a thin layer of blue over that, scrape it really thin and rotobrush the snot out of it. When it's like that, no overlays at all.

- Gradually feather in some fluoro base wax and overlays, as appropriate. For example, let's say I'm at the upper end of the red range. Once again, it's not just temperature, it's also the character of the snow (new, old) and the moisture content. I don't have a hygrometer, so I just go by the old test. Make a snowball, if it falls apart, they ain't no water content...lose the fluoros. Make a snowball, if it stays together, there's some water content, use a low fluoro (I think mid fluoros are really stupid...either go low or high, and forget the middleman). In these conditions, I might, even for training, especially if we're going to be on the clock, use Toko Red Lo Fluoro, and yes, if it's a race, I'll probably spray on/buff out some Toko Helix Warm at the start. I don't really need the graphite in these conditions. However, if I'm right on the border line (some water content, but minimal), I might use Toko Red Moly Graphite Lo Fluoro instead. If it's new snow, however, and very fine grained, I might not do any fluro at all.

If I can make a snowball and water runs out of it, I've definitely got some moisture content. The stuff that's incredibly fast in these conditions is Toko Yellow Lo Fluoro. I know what you're thinking...why not Toko Yellow High Fluoro? Because it costs a fortune, even though I get the stuff at pro form prices from one of my teammates, and I'm not convinced that it's going to make the difference for me personally. As soon as I get within a couple of tenths, on a minute and 10 second GS course, of the top dogs, I'll start worrying about high fluoro. And yes, on race day, especially for speed events, I'll use some Toko Helix Warm.

So because you're tilting toward warmer/wetter/older snow in the spring, yes, you could head more in the fluoro direction than I might at the same time of the year. But from what I remember (I lived in Stowe for two winters), New England winters have their warm spells, but they also tend to have a lot of Artic Circle days and nights...so I'd say you ought to stock up on a lot of hydros for the next few months...
post #45 of 47

A couple of additional thoughts on this one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotsSkier View Post
Great stories guys!

And very reassuring information for a frugal Scotsman who finds it hard to square spending a small fortune on overlays

I have always wondered if it was just me being cheap relying mainly on Holmenkohl or Swix hydrocarbons when watching the almost universal use of overlays etc at masters speed events. let's me feel better about it now that it is just me that it is slow, not the skis
...it's not just wax, structure counts, too. I've heard that the WC techs think the right structure is more important than wax, especially for speed events. This is a whole other weird science subject that would be a fun topic to debate, so let me start by telling you what I think/know:

- Some structure is better than no structure. The basic idea of base structure is to break up the suction that occurs when the ski runs over the snow, which warm the snow and causes moisture content to come to the surface. Most race stock skis come from the factory with incredibly good structures. I just got two pairs of race stock Atomic GS12s, 186 cm., and a pair of Atomic race stock SL12s, and the factory structure alone is so fast (and the bases themselves are incredibly quick, which is a characteristic of all the Atomics I've had) that I'm seriously thinking about applying some peanut butter to my bases so I don't scare the beejesus out of myself until I figure out how to handle these ponies. As you ski, especially on harsh, man made snow, as you find on a race course, the structure gradually gets trashed out, and you have to periodically renew it...and afterwords, you have to soak the living daylights out of the base, which is incredibly dry after restructuring. Fortunately, I have a teammate with a stone grinder and I have my own hot box.

- The "right" structure varies considerably, and is the subject of a lot of debates. In general, I've heard that a very fine, linear structure is good for cold, aggressive snow, while a coarser, cross hatched pattern is best for warm, wet snow. So...does this mean you need to restructure your skis every time the snow temp/moisture content changes? Not hardly. In practice, on the WC for speed events, the techs all have skis for each racer that are set up for course sets and for either warm or cold snow, in terms of length, sidecut, flex pattern, and how the base is ground. My new Atomics have a cross hatched pattern, which seems to be running fine, but when I need to redo them, we've been going with a linear structure becaused we're usually on cold, hard snow.

And it also varies according to the event. If you've ever looked at the wax charts, they're different for tech events and speed events, where the speed events are generally a step, or maybe even two warmer, because the additional friction from the higher speeds causes more moisture at the snow surface. I've heard that the speed skiing guys use an incredibly course cross hatch structure to start, then a fine linear structure on top, which seems to work at 150 mph or whatever those loons are currently up to.

So for most of us out here in the Rockies, what we're trying to do is not do something that's going to make you incredibly slow...like lots of fluoros when it's Artic Circle time. I just want a relatively level playing field, because it's still up to the horse to run the course fast...
post #46 of 47
You just made my Friday/Saturday nights so much easier.

As a dad it is easy to get carried away.
post #47 of 47
Now I will counter all conventional wisdom... If you use my fluoro, which is of a completely different form than all other brands, you can use fluoro with great results even at the coldest temperatures.  Don't take my word for it, read some testimonials below.  You can argue with the premise but results speak for themselves. Note that the first two I selected cite H1 wax; this is a wax rated for 15F and below and is as hard as a Swix CH4 but loaded with my fluoro.
  1. My daughter just won the 1st race of the year. She not only won her age group as a J-5 she was the fastest girl in the entire race that included J-6 and J-4 (J4s are 11 and 12). Her time was 31.64 the closest girl to her was 32.98 which is an eternity in ski racing. The H1 worked great! (Vermont)
  2. Some feedback on my recent nordic race. I hot scraped, used two coats of hybrid H1, and had my fastest time ever (age 56), very fast skis and pretty good engine. (Michigan)
  3. My daughter this month won all 4 GS runs @ Schweitzer, Idaho. She even beat all the boys, every run. She is a USSA racer J-4. Last year she was ranked #1 for her age in the PNSA division.

Read more racewax testimonials
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