cushion versus pyramid

What works best and How to

Moderator: Moderator Group

xcskiforum 20K
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:42 pm

cushion versus pyramid

Postby SpecialGreen » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:49 pm

I seem to see two opposite approaches in layering kickwax, between different manufacturers' recommendations. Some will recommend a colder wax for the full pocket, then build-up a pyramid, especially using a warmer wax "under the toe". That's more-or-less what I grew up with. Others will take an approach of putting the softer wax down under the harder, similar to when covering klister with hardwax.

Examples today include:
- FastWax rec for Birkie: blue klister base, covered by green, then blue, then blue extra (I assume in narrowing bands, to make a pyramid).
- Swix rec for Birkie: hardwax base, covered by blue extra, covered by blue, covered by green.

I'd guess that the second is similar to green over klister binder, but not quite as cushion-y. Safer if there is a chance of new snow during the race; should glide better on low-camber skis, should last longer. The "pryamid" approach could have a better kick, until the Blue+ wears down.

I usually use the 1st approach when recreational skiing, except when using a klister cushion: start with hardwax in the klister zone. If hardwax is slipping, try thicker; then try full pocket; then try warmer in klister zone (then try full pocket, etc.). It's easier to adjust at the trail-head.

I tried the 2nd approach 2 years ago in the Birkie (violet under blue), but I put-on the violet for the full pocket length, under the blue, and it seemed very draggy. Should that "mid layer" only be (say) 6 inches around the toe; or just klister area?

xcskiforum 20K
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:42 pm

Re: cushion versus pyramid

Postby SpecialGreen » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:27 pm

I did the Birkie Classic, and was going to do the Fastwax rec. I had a Swix blue klister binder, with four layers Swix green hardwax on top. I tested it without the blue or blue-extra, and it was great. So I just added two more layers of green and went with that.

Kick was great... Not "the best ever," but definitely great, and better than most others. Unfortunately, it seemed to wear-off after about 2/3 of the way. But it got me through most of the climbs where it was needed, and probably helped in the last 5k.

User avatar
World Cup
Posts: 740
Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2006 9:13 am
Location: Choteau, Montana

Re: cushion versus pyramid

Postby Montana » Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:32 pm

While Swix did not mention building a pyramid of hard wax for the Birkie, Swix does recommend this procedure from time to time. I'm not sure what conditions would be present for Swix to recommend one form of waxing over another.

I followed the Swix suggestions for the Classic Birkie. When testing this on Friday afternoon, I found it tobe a little slippery. So I added a layer of VR 40 that covered the center 2/3rds of my wax pocket. I then added a second layer of VR 40 that covered the center 1/3rd of my wax pocket. This pyramids worked pretty well for my entire race.
38th consecutive Birkie in 2018!
Ralph Thornton, Ear Mountain Photography

MN Hoser
Ski Forum God
Posts: 1067
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:26 pm
Location: St. Paul, MN

Re: cushion versus pyramid

Postby MN Hoser » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:17 pm

I waxed my buddies brand new Fischer Speedmax skis--cold version. I was a little concerned about taking a brand new pair of skis up to racing speed, particularly for the Birkie, but it's his race. The glide was simple. He had put down some preliminary layers, and then I did a number of layers ending with a couple layers of Start LF08 (last year's) and Start 75. In the grip area, I put down a vauhti binder (thin) and a thin layer of Start Terva green.

I didn't look at the kick wax recommendations, since that was his responsibility. If it was my skis, I probably would have tested Terva Green (if there was new snow) and Swix special blue if there wasn't (and go from there). As it was, he used VR40 covered with VR30 and he liked his skis. So the 30 cover was to add speed without changing the kick. He felt he had better glide than most on the downhills.

I think the Fastwax idea was assuming there was no new snow. The prediction for new snow had a low probability. Without that snow, the snow was slightly icy so a blue klister binder. (If there was no new snow, maybe this would have been a good call. With new snow, having a klister binder risks being slow.) I don't really understand moving from green to blue to blue extra. I guess it's just as a binder if the snow was aggressive. I'd prefer to put down a layer of the blue extra and see if it seems to be kicking and get a feel if it needs to be thicker, warmer, or covered with something colder to reduce drag.

I'm all ears if my ideas are out to lunch.


xcskiforum 40K
Posts: 382
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:43 am

Re: cushion versus pyramid

Postby Blah » Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:51 pm

Oh man. Lot's to say about this.

A klister binder was overkill. I told Fastwax this as did the Rode rep himself. I instead would have recommended a binder with klister in it like Vauhti Super Base, Start Base Extra or you can make it yourself by putting in 8 drops of blue klister into your binder and ironing it together.
The Swix method is the preferred and correct method. You should always try to put your warmer waxes underneath your cold waxes. This isn't always possible because you may get to the start and find you need to add kick. When you start with cold waxes and cover with warmer you end up with slower skis and a greater chance that you will have icing in your kick zone.
We tested at 4:30 am, again, and even with the new snow in the track Oslo Green had bomber kick and great glide. Terva green was a little too slick because of the abrasive snow underneath. For Torin Koos I put a thin layer of Oslo Green and covered it with Start Cold Fluor.
I think the Swix rec was good seeing as they don't have any other kick wax types to choose from. For Rode I would have done a klister binder mix with Super Blue for kick. Super blue was working very well.
For glide we ended up running Start Graphite, covered with Start HF8, with SFR 75 ironed in on top. Powders were faster than block and SFR 75 tested faster than the Swix, Rex, Ski-Go, and Vauhti powders I tested.
We end up waxing for 3rd, 5th (top American), and 6th place in the Men's skate race as well as second in the men's classic race.

Return to “Wax and Waxing”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests