Variable Glide

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Don Callander
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Variable Glide

Postby Don Callander » Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:39 am

Last week I raced in Wisconsin on a course that received 2-3" of snow earlier in the week that was groomed in the day prior. Predicted temp was for a low of 4F rising to mid teens. Actual was 18F-24F. I went with the FastWax recommendation of two layers of HF-10 (green) over LF 0 (extreme White).

The interesting finding was how variable the glide was. At times glide seemed excellent and just a little further down the trail it was like skiing on Styrofoam. I know I missed the wax but at least missed it in the right direction. It seemed to me that others around me had better glide. One guy felt he had Very good skis with Fastwax LF-20. I ended up 105/180.

Any thoughts?

Don

Loran
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Re: Variable Glide

Postby Loran » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:03 pm

Please tell us more about your skis.

What about the wind ?

"styrofoam" glide is typical of wind-compacted dry and cold snow.
At places where the wind has accumulated snow, crystals have been broken into high density of sharp teeth awaiting your skis...
At places where the snow has been removed by the wind, older snow and more round crystals may have been revealed, hence the much better glide.

On cold and dry snow not much to do anyway, except very flat and soft skis and minimal structure.
Last edited by Loran on Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Blah
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Re: Variable Glide

Postby Blah » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:06 pm

Hi Don,

The first thing that stuck out to me in your post was that you said another racer you spoke with had great glide with Lf-20. I just wanted to point out that comparing wax jobs to others really doesn't tell you anything. This guy could have SO many other variables that actually affect glide more than wax. What were his: ski flex, ski brand, grind, previous wax, is your base sealed? Ski flex and grind are much more important to ski speed than wax.
If the snow was still relatively fresh it's likely that HF waxes were not as good as a MF or LF wax. Another important bit of info about wax brand choice is that wax companies like: Swix, Toko, Start, Rex, etc use different fluors for different temperatures. Basically, you get what you pay for regarding name brand waxes vs others..

Don Callander
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Re: Variable Glide

Postby Don Callander » Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:04 pm

Skis: Fischer RCS Skate Plus with a uni-grind. This is the softer of my two race skis. I stopped twice on the drive up which sucked up the time I had to test my identically prepared Stiffer Solomon's.

The base is in good condition and with all the warm weather this year a lot of warmer wax has been put into them.

Good point on the different manufacturer's level of fluoro.

This is a very protected course so wind I do not believe was a factor and the snow did not go through any freeze thaw cycles beforehand. The glide variability still has me stumped.

Don

Blah
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Re: Variable Glide

Postby Blah » Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:20 pm

Air temp may have been warm but the snow likely lagged behind. A Uni grind would not have been ideal compared to a cold grind. It's likely that those with better glide had a cold grind.
It's not just fluor content. Not all fluor compounds are created equal and not all work for the same snow type. There are fluors used for cold, medium, warm snow, etc

Loran
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Re: Variable Glide

Postby Loran » Sat Feb 07, 2015 3:53 am

Unless I'm wrong, Fischer rates "Plus" on the warm side.

So, your skis may have been under their lower limit at 19F and OK at 24F.
Also, waxing a lot with warm wax soften the base even more.

MN Hoser
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Re: Variable Glide

Postby MN Hoser » Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:34 pm

Ok, let's go in order.

Skis. Very few skis are good in cold snow, and I'd say many are just ok. I don't think skis are good in one part of the course and poor in another if the snow is not changing much. I can see how certain skis wouldn't climb well, but differences in skis are probably best felt (only noticed) by trying different pairs. Also, I don't think the difference between Plus and Cold makes much difference.

Structure. You new grind is probably still pretty new, but I wouldn't think this is the cause of being fast in one area and slow in another.

Wax. I have seen were wax can be right on the edge of the breakaway speed. So downhill they're fast and on the flats they're dogs. Or they're fast on downhills and flats, and slow on climbs. I think that's a sign of being waxed just a little too warm or maybe too high flour, or it's just so damn cold you can't make the wax hard enough.

Snow. I can certainly see where snow might be it. One example of wind blown snow was given. Obviously sun makes a difference where a sunny part of the course has old ice and the shade is new crystal. On the Wirth course, the old artificial snow was definitely faster than the new artificial snow (a while back). Also, I could tell one day when they tilled up (well buried) snow. So it must have been some pile of snow that they pushed out. Again, I don't think you had that situation in WI.

So, you have a real weird one.

Jay

Don Callander
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Re: Variable Glide

Postby Don Callander » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:23 pm

Blah wrote:Air temp may have been warm but the snow likely lagged behind. A Uni grind would not have been ideal compared to a cold grind. It's likely that those with better glide had a cold grind.
It's not just fluor content. Not all fluor compounds are created equal and not all work for the same snow type. There are fluors used for cold, medium, warm snow, etc


Since the low temp of the night was 18F that had to be the coldest snow temp possible and by race time probably 20F with 71% Humidity. I chose the softer ski because of the warmer/softer conditions and the uni and not cold grind. Obviously I was one wax range too cold.

How does the consumer know which manufacturer's wax has optimal Flouro percentages and formulations for the various temps?

I suspect I fuss some over waxing (except for pure flouros which I have never used) but my real limitation is having a good handle on ski flex and structure.

Jay made reference to "breakaway" and this was the first time that term made sense because that seemed to be what I was experiencing. Although Loran snow comments might make for the best explanation for the overall variability.

Thanks one and all for taking the time for your well thought out replies. I did some testing this morning on skis and flex but will probably start a new post.

Don

Blah
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Re: Variable Glide

Postby Blah » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:03 pm

Don Callander wrote:
Blah wrote:Air temp may have been warm but the snow likely lagged behind. A Uni grind would not have been ideal compared to a cold grind. It's likely that those with better glide had a cold grind.
It's not just fluor content. Not all fluor compounds are created equal and not all work for the same snow type. There are fluors used for cold, medium, warm snow, etc


Since the low temp of the night was 18F that had to be the coldest snow temp possible and by race time probably 20F with 71% Humidity. I chose the softer ski because of the warmer/softer conditions and the uni and not cold grind. Obviously I was one wax range too cold.

How does the consumer know which manufacturer's wax has optimal Flouro percentages and formulations for the various temps?

I suspect I fuss some over waxing (except for pure flouros which I have never used) but my real limitation is having a good handle on ski flex and structure.

Jay made reference to "breakaway" and this was the first time that term made sense because that seemed to be what I was experiencing. Although Loran snow comments might make for the best explanation for the overall variability.

Thanks one and all for taking the time for your well thought out replies. I did some testing this morning on skis and flex but will probably start a new post.

Don


It's surprising just how much snow temp can lag behind air temp. A few weeks ago at Seeley Hills the air temp had been in the mid 20s going all the way up to almost 30 for a couple days and yet the snow was still reading around 13F.

None of us can really say what you had going because we don't know the temp. I think Loran was spot on regarding the snow variability.

Typically you can use colder wax in much warmer temps than you would expect. With the temps you describe using a colder wax shouldn't have produced draggy skis. Typically draggy skis happen when you wax too warm for the conditions or have too much structure in your skis.

General rule of thumb regarding fluor content in name brand waxes is: Paraffin 0%, LF ~5%, MF ~10%, HF ~20%, fluor powder ~? It is not pure fluor, there are carrying agents to bond to the ski, but the % is different depending on the fluor.


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