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What is the relationship between snow temp, wax and speed?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Wondering what the relationship is between wax, snow temperature and speed or stickiness of your skis on the snow. We skied this weekend in the coldest weather I can remember skiing in. About -9 degrees. Our skis just seemed to stick to the snow. I bought some universal rub on wax which worked for about 2 runs. As you looked around you could see some people were traversing without a problem while others were struggling with the same problems we were having.
post #2 of 17
At a minimum you get wax for snow temperature. I only have two types colder than -4C and warmer than -4C. When I get it wrong difference is very pronounced. I am sure there are detailed explanations on wax manufacturers websites. I also wax my skis after every (2-3 days) trip given that I can usually feel the difference between first and last days.
post #3 of 17
eug is right. There are actually 3 wax temps but the two eug mentioned are quite sufficient.

Waxing every two or three days is important. I'd say every two days.

Wax belongs IN the base, not on top of it. Wax creates the proper amount of friction in order to melt the snow into water as it passes under your foot. Wrong temp wax and you get too much melt (now water skiing and plowing through too much water), or too little melt, causing too much friction and not enough water and ripping up your bases.

One of these situations causes suction, usually when the snow has a heavy water content. EUG- refresh my memory here.

Anyway, I start with warm temp wax and get it ironed into the bases well. Then I follow this with an all temp wax since I don't know what the temperature is going to be on Mt. Hood. You can check the weather forcast and hope the weather guy threw his dart right.

You can also melt them on at the same time if you wish. make many passes on the skis, wait 30 minutes until they are cold, Scotch brite them, brush with long strokes, Scotch brite again and polish with a soft cloth.

For details go to www.lacyslatherworks.com and hit Bob's ski page. I've had great raves from customers who love the way their skis slide doing it this way.

It's not how much wax you use but how often you wax! For those days when it just started to rain where the snow likes to slam on the brakes without notice, I carry a small can of paste wax in my jacket. Rub it on. Wait for a couple of minutes. Rub it in with your glove or cork (This creates a little bit of heat.), and you're good to go for one or two runs.

The brushing I mentioned is to get the wax out of the structure of the ski, which is critical. When you are done, it will look like there isn't any wax on the skis. you will want to put some back on. DON'T! One fellow mentioned here, "Well, I don't want to scrape all the wax off." WRONG!

Try it out. Wha did that old commercial used to say? ... Try it! You'll like it!
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the indepth post. It gives me somewhere to start and a better understanding of the wax process. Time to start waxing!
post #5 of 17
Cold snow is tough, because you don't get that thin layer of melting snow from the pressure of the skis. The snow's ice crystals, when dry and cold, have tiny little edges that dig into softer waxes and ski bases... and slow you down!

That's why the hard waxes are generally used for colder conditions...

Ever try Zardoz, the "Not Wax"? It's not too bad when it's really cold, and works great when the snow is wetter.

And it's easy to do, very quick application.
post #6 of 17
While your on the topic of wax. I have seen waxing done by ski shops "on snow", where they just run each ski through a machine. It takes about 10 seconds per ski & they charge about $5.00. Is this type of waxing Ok? :
post #7 of 17
Most wax companies, particularly SWIX, color code their waxes, usually as follows.

Blue: Real cold days, or all man-made snow

Purple: Slightly less cold (think 10-20F)

Red: Your average spring day (35 degrees or so)

Yellow: "Bikini days"! 50F and above.
post #8 of 17
Skeeter- Those machines are for a quick fix. Wax belongs in the base, not on top of it. After scraping and scotch brite, using the brush gets the excess wax out of the structure. This is a must because the structure (those little lines youi can almost catch your fingernail on) are there to guide and expell excess water from the base.
Those machines are good for one day or 1/2 a day of skiing at best, and the wax stays on top of the base. Great for rental shops. They do 100's of skis each day or so.
Gotta watch the color of waxes. Each company seems to use a different color code.
post #9 of 17
Those cool spinning RotoBrushes on the cordless drill work great for brushing...

If you're really fussy (racing) Swix, Toko, etc. have charts and that help you make waxing decision based measurements of snow temp and air temp. Kind of interesting to mess with...
post #10 of 17
If you wax your own skis, usall went it gets down in the teens, some cold weather wax is an excellent idea.

Other wise for most an all purpose works jst fine. Keep it simple, and you will wax more often.
post #11 of 17
One way to be sure you have waxed correctly is to layer soft over hard. Happens alot when someone is out of their mid temp range ("universal") wax. The idea is that if you encounter aggressive, cold snow conditions, the soft wax abrades away, leaving you with the correct, harder wax.

If the snow is old transformed &/or non aggressive warmer snow, you're prepared w/ the soft wax right out of the gate.

Piece o' cake
post #12 of 17
I've got a question for the techies...

Is there a problem or concern with Zardoz NotWax "clogging" p-tex such as I have heard with some of the expensive pure fluoro waxes?
post #13 of 17
From what I understand, the NotWax product is so chemically inert that there is literally no way to get it off your ski by any method other than capillary action. In other words...once you've applied it, it's there for the long haul until you've skied it off.

That's not a problem if you're constantly in sloppy wet conditions. NotWax seems to shine in those situations only.

The problems is when you need to wax for mechanical protection rather than glide enhancement. I don't care how many claims they make about their product, it simply does not perform in abrassive snow - hence the "Felix Process" (a.k.a. The Scramble To Make Something Up To Satisfy Those Who Know A Little More Than Usual But Not Too Awfully Much About The Waxing Process).

If you try to apply hot wax on any surface covered w/ something chemically inert you get little or no adhesion. So, in a couple of runs the wax is gone and you're left w/ snake oil in it's place.

The list goes on, but you get the point. I personally wouldn't recommend using this product to avoid the risk of base damage. That alone is reason enough to stick w/ the regular stuff.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 05, 2002 04:10 PM: Message edited 1 time, by snojock ]</font>
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice so far. Since posting this I have decided to take the plunge and start taking responsibility for my own ski tuning. No longer will I be at the mercy of a young minimum wage ski tech! I went out last night and spent my REI dividend check on $140 worth of ski scraping, heating and waxing stuff. I've read lacylatherworks primer 3 times and sometime tonight will heat my iron up for the first time. This weekend my wife and I will hopefully be skiing on perfectly waxed and edged skis, probably for the first time in our lives. Thanks for all your help guys.
post #15 of 17
My main bit of advice is DO NOT EVER leave the iron on the ski without movement or no wax and don't work on one area for more than a few seconds at a time(keep checking the temp). It's actually pretty easy to deform the ptex bases.
post #16 of 17
Enjoy the new waxing and have a good time on the newly waxed skis. Once you get used to well tuned waxed skis, you will always want them tuned and waxed. One other hint...

set up a nice area to work in your basement or wherever you plan to wax/tune.. Leave the clamps /boards up throughout the ski season. Find a "ritual time" to wax and check your skis and do them as soon as possible after your return from the slopes.

This does several things,
It keeps your equipment in great shape,
It makes it so if you decide to go to the slopes on a "whim" all your equipment is ready,
It's out of the way so you don't keep putting it off.
by doing the work on a regular basis, the little nicks and scratches don't start to build up and become a big job/hassle. I spend maybe 5-10 Min each time (this kind of time block I can afford) before I put them in the storage rack. When I get my friends skis to help him, (usually after 10-15 days of skiing on them) It often takes me up to an hour and lot work sharpening, patching, scrapping, filing and cleaning. 1 hour blocks of time are much harder to come by.
post #17 of 17
Snokarver- thanx for the info on the "inert" stuff! I'll keep that in mind.

Powderhound- Thanx for dropping by my site. My wife makes some pretty good soap huh! let me know how your sliding turns out.

Dchan- Absolutely right! you can't leave teh iron sitting there and go smoke a rope or answer the phone! Too long in one place pulls a sintered base back into an extruded base. P-Tex is only extruded stuff. No way around it. A small repair doesn't make any difference. After a repair, though, I use a riller bar to put some structure back into that little area. Rats! I got off the subject. Sorry! Just tell the old dog to go sit by the fireplace and "STAY".

The cold weather info here is great. At Mt. Hood we usually don't get into that kind of weather, but sometimes we do.

Does anyone have any idea what general range of temperatures universal temp wax covers?
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