Icing up of Grip Zone

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phadw
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Icing up of Grip Zone

Postby phadw » Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:19 pm

Hey Everyone, I am in the middle of a great ski season in Ottawa. Question: Icing up of the grip zone. What is the most common reason for this and how do I avoid it? Can it have to do with too much grit left over from the initial sanding of the grip zone prior to putting on a base layer?

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Re: Icing up of Grip Zone

Postby Montana » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:58 pm

The most common cause of icing or snow buildup in the grip zone of a taxable ski is using too soft a wax.
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Re: Icing up of Grip Zone

Postby osloskier » Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:24 am

In varying conditions when areas in the shade are below freezing and sunny areas are a bit warmer, you can get a thin, often almost invisible layer of ice in the grip zone. Wax/klister that works in the sun will tend to ice up in the shade. In such conditions too soft wax is unavoidable if you want any grip in the warmer snow.

You can cover the warmer wax/klister with a layer of colder wax to keep it from icing up while still getting grip from the warmer wax underneath. If this happens while skiing, you have to thaw the ice before the wax will stick. Warm the wax inside your jacket while thawing the ice. The softer wax must be cold and the harder one must be warm before you can (relatively) easily apply the cover wax. The more expensive fluorinated waxes are more resistant to icing. Using one of those for the last layer helps.

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Re: Icing up of Grip Zone

Postby PJT » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:42 am

It's definitely from using too warm/soft wax for conditions. I've had it happen with klister (nearly impossible to deal with midrace) and even hardwax like VR40 during a very cold snowstorm. Ever try to thaw out an icy ski base in 10F? Or scrape off klister while on the trail? It is not fun.

What happens when you ice up is that the sharp snow crystals penetrate the warm wax and do not release. They begin to build up, you briefly turn them to water via friction, and voila! Popsicle skis. Anyone who has had them knows the horrible feeling of skis that are simultaneously too grabby to glide, but slipping on hills as well. It's the worst.

Remember the grip wax mantra: When in doubt, err on the cold side. If you don't get grip when testing, apply thicker, then longer in the grip zone, then change to a warmer wax. Trailside, it's much easier to fix a ski that is waxed too cold than one that is waxed too warm.

TLC: Thicker, Longer, Change

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Re: Icing up of Grip Zone

Postby osloskier » Thu Feb 12, 2015 1:09 pm

PJT wrote:It's definitely from using too warm/soft wax for conditions. I've had it happen with klister (nearly impossible to deal with midrace) and even hardwax like VR40 during a very cold snowstorm. Ever try to thaw out an icy ski base in 10F? Or scrape off klister while on the trail? It is not fun.


If those questions were aimed at me, then yes, I've thawed icy ski bases and scraped klister while on the trail. Agree it's not fun, particularly trying to get rid of klister. The best way to remove ice is to scrape away as much as possible and then cork vigorously. Corking will generate heat and melt the ice, and you can keep your gloves on while doing it. This doesn't work with klister, though.

If you pick a wax that is entirely too soft, you will usually get a layer of ice/snow that is immediately recognizable. But when the wax is almost right you can get a layer of ice so thin that you can't easily see it. A ski base version of black ice. If you don't recognize what's going on and try to fix the slipping skis by adding more klister, you might end up with three layers of klister, klister all over the rear glide surface, zero grip and zero glide. A symptom is that wax will not stick when you try to apply it, there is no friction.

Hydrex prevents this for klister, but that is, ahem, a bit expensive. Covering the softer wax with a harder one fixes the problem at a more reasonable price, and this is the standard solution when conditions are too variable for a single product to handle it. E.g. Rode Violet covered with Super extra or universal klister covered with VR50 or VR55N.

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Re: Icing up of Grip Zone

Postby TooHeavy » Thu Mar 05, 2015 2:41 pm

Sometimes the result of a lot of water in the snow (rain) then a cool down below freezing and fresh powder on top. It is impossible to wax for these conditions. Hairies or Crown are the only answer.

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Re: Icing up of Grip Zone

Postby osloskier » Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:11 pm

I recently tried that. I thought the fresh snow would transform, but it didn't. I tried a wax covered universal klister. Total disaster. I scraped off as much as I could, but with klister skis I then had no grip and poor glide. At least I was able to turn back without carrying the skis... :D

I went home and tried again with base + thin layer of Rode Violet Special klisters covered with Skigo HF Red. That worked, no icing and the layers didn't mix.

Are there klisters which are more suitable for covering than others? I've had success covering ice klisters (easy), Rode Violet Special (easy), and base + Rode Violet Special + 50/50 mix of Rode Multigrade and Violet klisters. But Start Universal Wide seemed to immediately mix with the Rode Violet wax I covered it with, resulting in a sticky mess which was no better than the klister on its own.

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Re: Icing up of Grip Zone

Postby TooHeavy » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:16 pm

I have only covered Klister with hard wax if it can be froozen first. Slightly off topic but I used to ski a lot at Hardwood Hills back when they had two Piston Bully's going every day. They would power till the snow and ice into dust. It could be -15 C but you had to put on a very warm Klister (swix sp red) and then freeze it and cover with a hardwax to get decent ski's for climbing the hills on the trails.
Surprised you found something that works in those nightmare conditions I described in my earlier post. :rock:

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Re: Icing up of Grip Zone

Postby osloskier » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:51 pm

I let the klister harden outside overnight, but that didn't help. I was able to cover it easily, but the cover wax just mixed with the klister so I might as well not have bothered covering at all.

There was very coarse, wet snow underneath 2 or 3 cm of moist, sticky, almost-fresh snow which came down the previous morning. Air temp about +1 centigrade, -3 during the night. The grip could have been better, maybe HF yellow would have been the right choice as the temp rose another degree while I was cleaning and re-waxing.

I think the Skigo HF waxes are great, they are amazingly resistant to icing. They are pretty expensive, though, so I try to use something else if I think I can get away with it. Rode violet special seems to be safe when covering a thin layer.

BTW, hard klisters are obviously easier to cover than softer ones, what I'm looking for is info about klisters that are better for covering than other klisters in the same temp range. Or at least which ones are impossible to cover.
Last edited by osloskier on Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Icing up of Grip Zone

Postby Blah » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:55 pm

This seems to fall on deaf ears every time I post it but you guys REALLY should try Start Oslo Kick wax. It is one part klister, two parts hard wax and it basically replaces the need to do klister covered up to about 35F.

In Minneapolis we really have only been able to ski on manmade snow all season and this wax absolutely rocks on manmade snow. It also has Pine Tar in it is if there is new snow in the track it works well there as well. This year at the American Birkebeiner we had 1 inch of new snow covering icy abrasive snow and Oslo rocked.

If you look it up it is actually called Racing Super, Extra, and Special on the tins.

http://xcski.gearwest.com/product/start ... 53/1903207

I guarantee you have better kick than the combos you are discussing

osloskier
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Re: Icing up of Grip Zone

Postby osloskier » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:03 pm

Ok, will try that, I promise!

Not many shops carry it and I was confused about the name as there's something else printed on the box.

Thanks 8)

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Re: Icing up of Grip Zone

Postby TooHeavy » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:14 pm

Interesting wax. I wonder if they had it out when the Vancouver Olympics were on because the only thing that worked there were Hairies apparently..http://www.startskiwax.com/en/skiwaxes/kick-waxes/. I found it under the view our newest product section. Page 21


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