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Slow skis after waxing

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I've just started waxing my skis myself this season and thought I had gotten the hang of it.  I was in Vermont this week and before I left, I waxed the skis.  I was a little pressed for time, so I spent less time than usual scraping and brushing, but I did what I thought was an adequate job.  However, the skis seemed slower than usual, especially on the flats and around the lifts, where it felt like I had glue on the bottom of the skis.  I thought that perhaps I had left too much wax on and that it would scrape off after I skied, but it didn't seem to improve much over several days.  It was colder than I exepcted it to be and there was several inches of new snow on Monday, but I was using an "all-temperature" general purpose wax and didn't think the temperature would matter much.  So, I'm not sure what went wrong.  Will insufficient scraping and waxing result in "sticky" skis, or should I consider a different wax? 

post #2 of 23

Universal wax can feel sticky in very cold temps.  Probably has nothing to do with your work, as I have left skis unscraped many times and the wax self-scrapes off within a few hundred feet. 

 

Another "sticking" problem can occur if you take skis from room temperature out into the cold and ski them on cold snow right away.

post #3 of 23

Hi BillT. Welcome to the Art of Ski Tuning and Waxing. If you had ironed in the wax and let cool before scraping and brushing then I would recommend trying a different wax.I do'nt fnow that wax you are using .I have been really pleased with the perfomance of Maplus Race Base Medium Wax. It is available from Terry (Alpinord) at SLIDEWRIGHT.COM. Terry is a supporter and advertiser on this site.This RBM wax has been very durable and provided great glide there in Colorado from temps of -5f to +32f both in both new  and older snow conditions. Even in Spring Slush-wet snow. It is the best performing Universal I've tried for Free Skiing and Race Training. Good luck.

post #4 of 23

First day could easily have been due to not scraping and brushing. 

 

2nd day could be it was just too cold or maybe the structure was not exposed.  Snow doesn't do a good job of brushing.

 

3rd day and on , Maybe you just scraped through to wax underneath and it was the wrong wax.

post #5 of 23

Without knowing some more details- like what wax- (not to say the brand is the issue though at all- but there are many brands out there with temp. specific system waxes as well as a general universal) and what the skis looked like after finishing waxing (shiny or dull?) as well as a photo after the days skiing- even universal usually has a temperature range to it but normally wider than a temperature specific wax would, the snow conditions (you stated colder than expected) and the type of crystals, it is hard to arm chair quarterback this after the fact. Sometimes it helps if you are skiing with others to ask what they are using that may have worked better for glide (if they will share waxing info- some racers will not). If you know the temperature (and snow temperature is even better- but most do not know that ever) and the wax used, then some adjustments can be made and suggested.

 

If the universal wax is rated from say 15 to 30 degrees and it was 5 or lower out- then the one thing to try (but you risk possible burning and base damage if the snow crystals are real aggressive) is to scrape some more and brush as much of the wax out as possible (brass brush or harder nylon). If the skis speed up with very little wax on them (after you scrape and brush there are very few particiles of wax at the bottom of the brush cycle) at all then it usually is the wax in my experience. Like wise if the snow crystals are not that agressive and even though it was cold- the snow could have had a high humidity base to it and the wax you used could have been a universal hydrocarbon that will not do as well as even a low flouro wax will. On really cold snow- graphite wax can be a pretty good choice, as it helps with the static as well as the sharper more agressive crystals. Otherwise a basic hydrocarbon wax specifically designed for cold can be another option that works for many. Flouro is much less important on a cold snow (you know when you walk on the snow with your boots and it is very noisy- squeaking and all) that the snow temperature is very cold.

 

As examples: Even a company like Hertel Wax that has a universal white (flouro) wax that they sell for "all" conditions, also has a blue wax that is designed for colder temperatures. Same for the SVST hydrocarbon waxes- they have a white universal and a blue, and even violet for extreme cold.

 

Universal is many times just a compromise wax that is good enough for the average skier in "typical" average snow temperatures.

 

Take a look at the chart posted (by Comprex) on here with the crystals plotted out in this thread:

 

www.epicski.com/forum/thread/81986/fine-details-on-wax-selection-and-durability

 

In addition search this site for more threads on waxing hits and misses discussed by others.

 

post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the great responses.  The wax I used was a universal hydrocarbon wax from Dr. D., and it has worked well for me all season.  I ironed it in and let it cool before I scraped and brushed for last week's trip.  The only thing I did differently (I think) is that I scraped and brushed less than usual.   The bases appeared glossy when I finished.  I suspect, based on the feedback here, that it may have been just a little too cold for the wax (the wax doesn't seem to have a range on the package, so I can't be sure).  I thought that maybe what I experienced suggested that it was time for a base grind, but I think I will try some different wax first.     

post #7 of 23

The uni wax is pretty hard so if probably wasn't a temp thing.  Excess wax will slow you down, especially in new snow.  New snow has sharp crystals and digs into the wax to slow you down.  It is hard to say whether you need a base grind because the wax clogging the base structure would produce the same effect.

 

Click here for a link on base structure

 

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post #8 of 23

How do your bases look after the third day?  Do they look dried out/oxidized with lots of white areas?  If so, you will need a base grind.

post #9 of 23


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrzinwin View Post

 

How do your bases look after the third day?  Do they look dried out/oxidized with lots of white areas?  If so, you will need a base grind.


 

This is so "not" true.

If the bases appear grey, then a good brushing with a brass brush followed by a hot scrape cleaning, then waxing and more brushing should take care of it.

If they are really grey then the BBQ brush needs to come out first.

Remember grinding can severely lessen the life of a perfectly good ski. Only do it if the bases are concave or convex.

In case you haven't heard. P-Tex does not oxidize. It's not chemically possible. A little base burn yes, but oxidize no.

Read up as much about tuning and waxing as you can here on the forums, and on the websites of the tuning gear sponsors. You can learn a lot. I did.

 

Mike

post #10 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctskierguy View Post

 


 


 

This is so "not" true.

If the bases appear grey, then a good brushing with a brass brush followed by a hot scrape cleaning, then waxing and more brushing should take care of it.

If they are really grey then the BBQ brush needs to come out first.

Remember grinding can severely lessen the life of a perfectly good ski. Only do it if the bases are concave or convex.

In case you haven't heard. P-Tex does not oxidize. It's not chemically possible. A little base burn yes, but oxidize no.

Read up as much about tuning and waxing as you can here on the forums, and on the websites of the tuning gear sponsors. You can learn a lot. I did.

 

Mike

 

The logic here is pretty simple.  If the skis are slow, it's because the bases are messed up.  The only way to fix them, is to resurface the bases.  Maybe you can try to fix it with some waxing and brushing.  But I doubt it.  To restore the bases to their original condition, grinding is necessary.

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

The bases did not look (to me) to be dried out or oxidized after the third day.  The reason I thought of the base grind is that when I compared my bases to someone else's, his seemed to have a more noticable "grid" pattern or structure than mine did.  Also, upon closer inspection, my bases seem to be slightly concave under the boot section of the ski.  Being a newbie to this, I'm not sure what to consider standard tolerance or a problem.  (I also realize that diagnosing the problem via the internet and without pictures is difficult, sort of like the "what boot is right for me" kind of question).  Anyway, I think that I will re-wax the skis to see if it makes a difference, and if it doesn't, then I'll try having the bases ground.  This would be the first base grind on the skis, so I don't think it would damage them.  

 

Thanks again for all the replies.  I have learned quite a bit from the forum, enough that it encouraged me to give waxing a go.  Next year, maybe tuning. 

post #12 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillT View Post

   Anyway, I think that I will re-wax the skis to see if it makes a difference, and if it doesn't, then I'll try having the bases ground.  This would be the first base grind on the skis, so I don't think it would damage them. 

 

You're absolutely right about the whole internet thing, but It doesn't sound like you really need a grind just yet.     All of what you describe can be blamed on a combination of not enough brushing and sharp new snow.

post #13 of 23

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillT View Post

 

 Anyway, I think that I will re-wax the skis to see if it makes a difference, and if it doesn't, then I'll try having the bases ground.  This would be the first base grind on the skis, so I don't think it would damage them.  

 

Sounds like a good plan! 

post #14 of 23

I gotta ask, "How cold WAS it?" 

 

I've used Dr. D's universal and green hydro waxes in super cold conditions and normally I swear by them.  But, if it's first thing in the AM, the snow is in the shade, and the temps were -17F the night before and still below zero, I've found that the dreaded Swix CH4 works better.  I hate that stuff, it's a lot of trouble to get off, but there are certain limited conditions it works better than the green wax.  I know it's not a brushing issue, the structure is good and I now brush like a madwoman (three trips down the ski per brush (four of them) and about 25-40 strokes per trip).  I think it's the lack of moisture at those really low temps that makes the flats tough.  But, since the problem is usually over by 11 or so, I'm not going to struggle with that damned CH4 more than once a season.

post #15 of 23

 

 

 

sibhusky, my suspicion is that it was not as cold as you describe, but a lot more humid than the conditions you see, so the sharp snow was fairly cohesive.  IOW,  I'm betting BillT  could probably have made really nice, hard snowballs.

  

Quote:

Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

 

I gotta ask, "How cold WAS it?" 

 

I've used Dr. D's universal and green hydro waxes in super cold conditions and normally I swear by them.  But, if it's first thing in the AM, the snow is in the shade, and the temps were -17F the night before and still below zero, I've found that the dreaded Swix CH4 works better. 


If it was as cold as you describe, the buddy with the pronounced structure would have been stuck on sandpaper just because of the increased contact area drag. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillT View Post

 

The bases did not look (to me) to be dried out or oxidized after the third day.  The reason I thought of the base grind is that when I compared my bases to someone else's, his seemed to have a more noticable "grid" pattern or structure than mine did. 

 

post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 

It was just above 0F in the morning, but the snow did seem to have quite a bit of moisture.  And just to be clear, I don't have any problem with Dr. D's universal wax.  I've used it all season and been very happy with it.   

post #17 of 23

In general...  A base structure that is optimum for the cold, drier snow is one that you can see but not feel, and one that is opimum for the warm wetter snow is one that you can see and feel.  I'm not saying that one has to grind with the seasons (though a racer should) but one should expect some performance issues if the match isn't correct.

post #18 of 23

Wrong wax.  I just saw that system go across New England, and I remember thinking "Wow...that's Rocky Mountain snow."  Universal will work okay until it gets that cold and dry, then you have to have blue.  It's that simple.  All the other stuff...base structure, scraping and brushing, is a factor, but without a cold temp wax, you don't have a chance...

 

post #19 of 23

GREEN wax if really cold.  Check Slidewright - Alpinord.   I bought some Green from him two years ago and litterally slide away from others whe it get really cold up here.

post #20 of 23


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post

 

GREEN wax if really cold.  Check Slidewright - Alpinord.   I bought some Green from him two years ago and litterally slide away from others whe it get really cold up here.


 

True story.  The only thing is, when it's that cold, I ain't going skiing, even with my long overcoat and fur-lined jock.  I'm heading for Acapulco...

 

post #21 of 23


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post

 

 


sibhusky, my suspicion is that it was not as cold as you describe,

 

 


 

Based on WHAT? I KNOW the temp at the top and bottom of the mountain, I checked it. The temps the night before were posted as well. I'm in NW Montana, I don't need to invent things. I went to the mountain today as well. It was -1 at my house, -4 in the parking lot at the mountain and the chair to the summit was closed. Why? Too damned cold. To quote their snow report today: "We will not be opening chair 1, chair 7 or chair 8 today. The temps are 24 below zero with a constant 20 to 30mph wind. That puts wind chill factors at 50-60 below zero." Now, the day I had issues was a bit warmer than today but the snow in question was on the north side in the shade. Today, the conditions were wind-scour or wind-pack. The skis (not waxed since Sunday but had Dr. D's green on them) did fine. But this was on the SOUTH side of the mountain in the sun. Also, I was not on a flat section. But I wasn't breaking any speed records.

 

Or do you mean that Bill's conditions were not as cold as our conditions?

post #22 of 23

 

Huh?    ???

  

Quote:

Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

 

Or do you mean that Bill's conditions were not as cold as our conditions?

 

Yes.    Apparently it wasn't as obvious as I thought.

 

post #23 of 23

This isn't rocket science.  Get a thermometer, where a really nice digital is spiffy, but anything will work, including a drug store rectal thermometer.  Get the snow temp, take a quick look at what the snow type is (new snow, old snow, blah blah blah), find your space on the wax chart, and wax you skis.  Scrape and buff.  If it don't run, maybe it's the structure or something else, but start by getting the wax right and go from there.  I use Toko Moly (red range) shop wax for training, and most of the time I just slap it on and buff it out without thinking about what the snow temp or character is because it runs pretty well over a wide range of temps and snow conditions. 

 

About two weeks ago, I did same, and guess what?  The snow temp and dryness was just on the outside of the red range enough that I was sticking until I got down to bare metal.  Okay, I blew it, and I won't make that mistake again soon, but so what?  I still got to train and it wasn't a total disaster.  On race day, that's another story.  I'll make sure I know what I'm likely to have underfoot, and one thing Willy Wiltz told us in a clinic he did in Boulder a couple of seasons ago, which is basically, if in doubt, go colder.  A cold wax will run okay in warm temps, the reverse isn't true...

 

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