Is this is stupid idea?

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liège
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Re: Is this is stupid idea?

Postby liège » Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:16 pm

Back to the original question: Yeah, I'd give it a try. Those skis have a Sintec base, and I don't think you can do them much harm. Worst case scenario, they're slow, or the wax wears off quickly. If they're slow, you can just clean them with wax remover, then re-wax them like normal. Shouldn't be an issue.

I don't know if I believe teams on the World Cup are grinding skis, doing a short prep (1 day) and then racing the next day on the World Cup at -18C (or -16C).

In the last three seasons, there haven't been many days that cold on the World Cup. Maybe close to that in Rybinsk in 2015 for the 10/15km skate, maybe in Ruka in 2012, maybe 2013. But if there were, and we'd just gotten a pair of new/newly ground skis, we'd get them up to "speed" in less than a few hours.

If it was crazy cold, maybe we'd throw a couple of layers of cold CH/LF on them before going to paraffin, but in three years, I've only done that maybe six times. It's not a huge thing - but that's also assuming that you're going to be putting on a "race" base, then a "race" HF paraffin, then a powder, then a topping. And that's also assuming that the skis you're testing have the right grind for cold conditions, and have the right camber profile for cold conditions; good skis and grinds are pretty forgiving.

As for prep on a new (or newly ground pair of skis): Generally, the skis show up from the grinder (or rep) with some soft, red wax on them. It's often rolled on from a pan, not ironed, so I don't think it's penetrating too deep. So that gets promptly scraped off. Then we'll put on a layer of CH6 at ~138-140 C. Maybe iron it twice. If there's time: Scrape, brush, re-apply CH6. No hot boxing.

From there, that's considered ready to go into race waxing. Like Randy said: A base paraffin (usually LF), and then on to HF paraffin, powder, structure, topping.

Anyway, if you got a new ski/grind, we're talking about 20 minutes of work on a particular pair of skis to get them ready to be raced on (though that work is done between doing a ton of other skis - so 20 minutes of actual work on a particular pair of skis, within a six- to 10-hour window of working on stuff).

For example, prep on two pairs of skis that have won medals:

At the Team sprint from Val di Fiemme 2013, a pair arrived on Saturday afternoon and was raced to a win Sunday morning - so maybe five layers of paraffin total - two layers of LF6, an base paraffin, an HF to test, another HF of race wax (because the snow was dirty). (Plus powder and many applications of topping between rounds, but I don't think of pure fluoro as conditioning a base).

For the Team Sprint from Falun 2015, a pair showed up that morning - definitely, only five layers of paraffin (same as above) before they were raced (and they were really fast, though the result doesn't reflect that). That same pair was used in the 10km, and after it was fluoro cleaned Sunday night, it got a layer of CH6. Monday afternoon, they got tested with an HF on them, them cleaned and covered with CH6 for the night. Tuesday morning, a base paraffin, an HF to test, and (again, because it was dirty), the HF race wax. So that's a total of 11 paraffin layers: 4 X CH6, 2 X base paraffin, 5 X HF.

As a side-note, we used to store skis in LF6, but two seasons ago, we ran out, so we asked Norway if we could borrow some, and they told us they were using CH rather than LF. So we changed, too - it's much cheaper. And the main reason we're using Swix is that it's so readily available: You can get CH6 in any shop, in a pinch. There's nothing special about CH6; it could be Rex Blue or Maplus Red or Toko Red or Holmenkol Beta Red or whatever.

They are grinding between just about every race on the WC. The fastest skis are those with fresh base material.

No, not grinding that often. Fresh base materials can be very fast, true, but a) not always and b) logistically, getting skis to a grinder and back to the next race venue is an issue. A handful of teams may be all running on National Team grinds (e.g., Norway, though they don't regularly travel with a grinder), but many, many others are using grinds provided by ski companies, along with a small handful of proven grinds from shops/techs. I work with a fleet of 28 skate skis and 17 classic skis, and there is one pair of skis that does not have a "factory" grind.

The ski companies will re-grind, but of course, the same issues arise: They don't have a grinder with them, so the skis need to go back to Austria/France. Sometimes that can happen over the week (if we're close to those countries, and the rep is driving home for a few days between races), but usually not. I've had ~8 pairs of skis re-ground in three years, though there are a few pairs in the quiver that for sure will need to be freshened up soon.

One thing we do that I believe helps reduce the need to frequently grind is to religiously fluoro clean any ski that's been powdered or topped. That, and to be careful with the speed of the iron, so we're not thermo-sealing the bases. But the skis definitely "absorb" wax better after they've been cleaned, and you're not just ironing a bunch of pollution into the base.

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Re: Is this is stupid idea?

Postby jt10000 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:05 pm

liège wrote:One thing we do that I believe helps reduce the need to frequently grind is to religiously fluoro clean any ski that's been powdered or topped. That, and to be careful with the speed of the iron, so we're not thermo-sealing the bases. But the skis definitely "absorb" wax better after they've been cleaned, and you're not just ironing a bunch of pollution into the base.
Do you mean clean with a fluoro solvent?
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liège
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Re: Is this is stupid idea?

Postby liège » Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:33 am

Do you mean clean with a fluoro solvent?

Yes. We've mostly used the Swix and the Maplus fluoro cleaning solvent: Swix because it's easy to obtain (they have reps and product at every World Cup), Maplus because they sell 1.5 liter bottles, so we aren't having to constantly buy more.

There is also a Vauhti cleaner which is a little funky: It has a solvent that will break the fluoro powder/topping bond, but also has like a liquid wax in it, so after it dries, you can roto-fleece it and get a really hard, shiny finish. At least, that's how it was explained to me. So, not that far off of what the OP was asking about.

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Re: Is this is stupid idea?

Postby jt10000 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:48 pm

Thanks. And sounds like you're not a fan of cleaning with a "hot scrape"?
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Re: Is this is stupid idea?

Postby MN Hoser » Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:53 pm

Interesting stuff. As I recall, the quotes came from a conversation with my grinder, who talked quite confidently. I should print off this thread and give it to him.

That said, I got a couple grinds from BNS this year (one was a 0.3). That grind did not seem to need "skiing in" or extended base prep of previous grinds from "my grinder." That suggests to me that the grinds I have been getting are too aggressive and need waxing and skiing to round them out.

Jay

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Re: Is this is stupid idea?

Postby liège » Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:37 pm

And sounds like you're not a fan of cleaning with a "hot scrape"?

ZC isn't a big fan; I'll defer to his knowledge of micro-crystalization or whatever.

If it's really dirty, I'll hot scrape. Well, warm scrape; I'm not a fan of using a really soft wax and then scraping while it's still liquid, but I'll put a layer of storage wax (such as CH6) down and scrape it relatively soon. I'm more interested in brushing the ski out, hopefully getting all the junk out of the structure - and it's easier to get them fully brushed out when the wax is solid rather than molten. But generally, on race skis, I'm leaning toward fluoro cleaning them with solvent, brushing them out well with a clean steel brush, wiping them down with a towel and then covering them with a paraffin.

That suggests to me that the grinds I have been getting are too aggressive and need waxing and skiing to round them out.

That could be the case. Definitely, though, the stone is a big factor. I know that Caldwell was stoked about one he got last year, as he was able to cut a really "clean" pattern into a base, so there wasn't too much to do once the grind was down, in terms of smoothing out hairs or prepping the ski or whatever you want to call it.

OR: Those skis just might run better in different conditions. With a fleet of 28 skate skis, we've got 13 different grinds, three different base materials, four different constructions, 28 different flexes and camber profiles ... I've got a lot more to work with, and more room to find the "best" ski that day. I'm testing at 6-10 pairs of skis on race morning. So if I throw two pairs into the mix with a grind that's too aggressive, and two with a grind that's too fine, I'm still choosing between 2-6 pairs of skis with grinds which should be in the mix. Which makes it especially embarrassing if/when I botch it.

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Re: Is this is stupid idea?

Postby MN Hoser » Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:23 pm

I'm curious about what makes a good ski for Sierra snow. I don't have much experience with racing in wet snow. If it's above zero around here, we're usually on artificial snow which drains well. So what makes for a fast ski in natural snow (I assume Tahoe is mostly natural), temps that go warm (into the 40s) and probably warm sun?

Atomic has a new "wet ski construction" for next year. Fischer 610? Short, high pressure zones in the tip and tail? Splaying tips?

Thanks,

Jay

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Re: Is this is stupid idea?

Postby liège » Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:25 am

So what makes for a fast ski in natural snow (I assume Tahoe is mostly natural), temps that go warm (into the 40s) and probably warm sun?

I haven't been in the Sierras, for a while, or, to be honest, on natural snow. But short, high pressure zones in the tips and tails are generally what I think of when we're looking at wet snow skis (along with a pretty big grind). Relatively high camber, usually. A lot of that depends on if it's wet and slushy, or icy, transformed snow that is also wet. I know that for the sprint at SuperTour Finals last week, it was so icy that people were choosing skis that they could get to hook up on the ice, so they could skate, and whatever the grind was was an afterthought.

One thing that differs with WC is that we're getting skis which have either already individually been tested and proven good (mainly from companies with fewer skiers, like Rossignol and Salomon) or are coming from production series that have tested well (mostly Fischer and Madshus, as they're producing skis that are more homogenous from a particular production). So:

    a) I'm not having to pick the skis out of a big rack of unknowns - a company rep is helping with that. Definitely, some techs are going in and squeezing a lot of skis still, but with the brand (and athlete) I work with most, they're coming to me with what I'm asking for.
    b) I'm not paying anything when I get a bunch of skis to try (though most companies "own" the skis, not the athletes).
    c) Once I try them out, if I don't like them, or I want to change the grind, I can always return them.

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Re: Is this is stupid idea?

Postby MN Hoser » Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:14 am

I realize that a lot of snow on the World is artificial and difference than what I ski on, but...

Can you provide a short list of waxes that seem to be always near the top of testing? Maybe a couple parafins and a handful of fluoros. This is something that rarely comes out. I did hear of a few waxes from "a wax tech" a number of years ago, but I think that short list might be old. Personal message is fine. :lol:

Thanks,

Jay


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