If waxing too impt, try a format that relies less on wax?

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Re: If waxing an issue for USST, format that uses less wax?

Postby UPrSKr » Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:56 am

I'm sorry if I misread your statement, I thought you were trying to imply that local master skiers didn't know who the best skiers in the country or world are, and maybe they thought that some local was the best skier in the country or world because they were that clueless.

Skiing at the world cup level is now an elitist sport. Nordic or Alpine. You need money and support, starting at a relatively early age in most cases, to be competitive. Giving up work or even school, travel, going to academy, enduring hardship, and having state of the art gear are pretty much necessities. The days of amateur athletes being farmers and lumberjacks, and stepping from the woods onto an Olympic podium are pretty much gone. Competitive gear, including fast skis, are a necessity. It's just too competitive at that level to overcome bad gear. In guessing that the cost of waxing for the powerhouse teams is pretty irrelevant at that level compared to all off the other cost needed to get to that point. I get it.

At the local skiing level, there is also a lot of money being spent on ski gear including wax. A lot of people like spending money, if they got it, especially if they think it will give them an edge, and partly just to flaunt their wealth. Sounds like an entrepreneur's dream. LOL. Personally, I like having fast skis. All of the time, regardless of whether I ever actually enter a "race". But I don't like, and can't really afford, to spend a ridiculous amount of money on ski wax. That's the conundrum. An there has also been some concern that using the fluor ski waxes, especially if you are a bit slovenly like many of us are, can be severely detrimental to one's health in the long term. So I think that at least having the discussion about the use of "less wax" in skiing is a legit one. I would have no problem with skis that could be made fast without the use of ski wax and that even becoming the norm for racing, but the ski wax companies would probably not like it too much. Plus those skis would probably cost a fortune. There has also been the discussion that the high cost of ski racing at the entry or junior level can prevent younger racers from getting started early enough to realize their potential. If only rich kids can play, the sport can become rather inbred. Hopefully, coaches can spot these situations and find a way to help them. Some say that a more level playing field at the early stages of racing would be a good thing for development.

I have nothing but respect for all of our athletes in skiing, and I'm especially impressed with the depth of the team starting to develop, both in Nordic and alpine. That's one of the keys to ongoing success. That's what the Scandinavians have had going for them in Nordic, and the Austrians in alpine. I know it is always going to be controversial to single individuals out for praise but that's the way it is. The "best of all time" in the world moniker is always going to be subject to debate, and I regret bringing it trying up to make a point. But I will say that anyone even remotely interested in skiing or even sports in general, know the names of those worthy of that consideration. To me it has to transcend simply winning an Olympic medal (which is all the mainstream media seems to care about in skiing) or even the overall World Cup. To me in Nordic skiing, that individual is Bill Koch because of his impact on the growth of cross country skiing in this country and turning us on to innovations like skating, hairies, and sand skiing. His impact has been word wide and game changing.

I'm currently trying to undergo some self therapy in an attempt to wean myself of spending too much on ski waxes. I just bought this microscope on ebay for $146. A precision Ernst Leitz in pristine condition for the same price as a vial of high fluor ski wax which is almost empty now. LOL. I didn't really need the microscope but thought it would be nice to have. The neighbor kids might break it in an attempt to learn about freshwater microbiology if I let them use it, but I'm quite certain that it will outlast that vial of ski wax.
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Re: If waxing an issue for USST, format that uses less wax?

Postby jt10000 » Sat Feb 13, 2016 6:10 pm

Personally, I like having fast skis. All of the time, regardless of whether I ever actually enter a "race". But I don't like, and can't really afford, to spend a ridiculous amount of money on ski wax. That's the conundrum.

Are you saying you can't get fast skis for fun skiing without spending a lot of money?

That's not my experience - a few LF waxes, skis in good shape with lots of CH waxes in the base. Maybe a pure flouro block for really warm conditions. Seem plenty fast to me outside the context of a race, and that expensive block will last a long time.
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Re: If waxing an issue for USST, format that uses less wax?

Postby UPrSKr » Sat Feb 13, 2016 9:17 pm

Are you saying you can't get fast skis for fun skiing without spending a lot of money?


I wouldn't know because up until now I've been spending a lot of money on wax. LOL.

I do try to get as much out of my wax jobs as possible - usually 100-200km at least before rewaxing. The conventional wisdom now is to not over wax skis, especially with the base waxes, because the molten wax penetrates heat far into the base. I never really thought about that, but I think over the years I have ruined more skis trying to apply Start Green than all of the other waxes I have used, so it kind of makes sense. By contrast and perhaps ironically, some of the high end powders and liquids iron on real well with minimum ski core heating. Sometimes the skis look a little funky on the surface, but they are fast and they look the same after 100km or more on clean snow. But you are correct, Skiing can still be good without getting caught up in the kind of waxing frenzy that occurs at most ski races these days. I try to economize a little by waxing less often which I think is better for the skis and better for me. I know I'm pretty much done waxing for this season which is kind of nice. I think I would rather risk the dreaded oxidized base that needs a grind than totally ruin the skis by over waxing. Thanks for the advice and enjoy skiing.

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Re: If waxing an issue for USST, format that uses less wax?

Postby jt10000 » Sun Feb 14, 2016 2:53 am

The conventional wisdom now is to not over wax skis, especially with the base waxes, because the molten wax penetrates heat far into the base.


I don't agree with this. Yes, overheating the ski by running a hot iron over a base again and again during the same wax job is not good. But waxing with as few passes as needed to get the wax in is quite a different thing and won't "totally ruin the skis" even if done frequently. A hot iron and two or three passes is enough.

But maybe I'm wrong - would love to hear from more experienced voices on this.
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Re: If waxing an issue for USST, format that uses less wax?

Postby MN Hoser » Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:42 am

Jeff, the waxing success at Falun wasn't a luck as the Norwegian press said (and spread--sore losers). The story I heard was the coaches were out the day before the race when I small snow squall moved in and they noted a wax that was working well. It would be easy to blow off that info, but they had their thinking caps on for the next day. I call that preparation. The Norwegians are normally the ones winning the waxing wars with tons of testers and over the top testing. It seems appropriate that the other teams win the waxing war once in a while.

As for the expense of wax, I'm the type of customer that the wax companies love. So, in the spring I go buy bulk (1 kg) hydrocarbon Fast Waxes (white, blue, red) when they're on sale. These are CHEAP and I often wax my skis each workout and tend to use old skis for training. In the past, I've bought the bulk Swix LF waxes, and now I just keep LF4 and LF6 in the box. My downfall is the pure fluoros. I own and buy too many. This weekend, I'll wax 1 or 2 pair of my skis and probably 2 pair of skis for others at the cabin. That's most of a vial right there.

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Re: If waxing an issue for USST, format that uses less wax?

Postby UPrSKr » Sun Feb 14, 2016 9:05 am

I don't agree with this. Yes, overheating the ski by running a hot iron over a base again and again during the same wax job is not good. But waxing with as few passes as needed to get the wax in is quite a different thing and won't "totally ruin the skis" even if done frequently. A hot iron and two or three passes is enough.

But maybe I'm wrong - would love to hear from more experienced voices on this.


No, you are correct in that you can base wax your skis without ruining them if you are careful, but I've heard that some of the top techs are now stonegrinding the skis and then racing on them with a minimum amount of waxing in between, and doing that specifically to preserve the integrity of the base. The conventional logic in the past has always been that skis need to be waxed many, many times to become fast. For most of us who do not have state of the art stone grinding and experienced wax techs at out fingertips, this might still be somewhat true. But a lot of skiers wax their skis to death attempting to make them faster. Of course anyone with a vested interest in selling wax might be reluctant to tell you this. Hmm, how about that Kuzmin scraper? I like the idea of skis never needing waxing becoming the norm, but that is probably pie in the sky wishful thinking. One thing for certain, there will be tons of waxes being bought, sold, and applied in a frenzied manner with clouds of obnoxious, possibly toxic fumes in the air next weekend at the Birkie. So much for skiing being a natural, environmentally friendly activity. Once in a millennium, maybe a radical change in the game could be a good thing. IMVHO.

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Re: If waxing an issue for USST, format that uses less wax?

Postby liège » Sun Feb 14, 2016 4:15 pm

When downhills get steep enough control is more of an issue than optimizing glide. Indeed, braking becomes critical.


You're forgetting that World Cups are televised, and although some old-school courses might be a better test of skiers, the courses need to be wider to provide television pictures. Looking at the YouTube videos from, say, the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, it's amazing both how narrow the courses are, and how little you can actually see the racers. Interval starts do provide some relief, but those are not as popular for the general TV audience (for better or worse).

And is there a kind of uphill skiing where glide nuances are less of the deciders for the podium? Offhand, I might guess that steeper up's might do that.


No. Fast skis glide uphill faster. Fitness is still a huge component, but faster skis make a massive difference.

But also events that go through more temp changes -- I guess that would mean longer events -- to catch different amounts of shade and sun and warm and cold so that any particular wax job can't be as "spot on" for the whole event.


This does affect things, but wax companies are trying to address this, especially since marathon racing has gotten so big. Vauhti LDR powder (with LDR standing for "Long Distance Racing") and the Swix Marathon glide waxes, for instance, have been developed to work in a wider range.

Anyway, how did you like the USST skis in Falun this weekend?

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Re: If waxing an issue for USST, format that uses less wax?

Postby liège » Sun Feb 14, 2016 4:32 pm

I do try to get as much out of my wax jobs as possible - usually 100-200km at least before rewaxing.


Damn, man. ;)

The conventional wisdom now is to not over wax skis, especially with the base waxes, because the molten wax penetrates heat far into the base. I never really thought about that, but I think over the years I have ruined more skis trying to apply Start Green than all of the other waxes I have used, so it kind of makes sense.


I've destroyed many skis using cold waxes (CH4, Start Green, etc.), too. Three options are:
1) Get a digital iron, so you're not running too high of an iron temperature
2) Get a cheese grater and powder your wax. Swix sells LF3 granular, so you get more base coverage. It's less that the wax is destroying bases at its melting point, and more that the iron is hitting bare P-Tex.
3) All of the above.

For the record, though, I wax a lot of skis in the winter -- more than you could fathom -- and I haven't significantly burned a ski in a long time. That's not to disparage you, but to counter your conventional wisdom. Waxing with cold waxes is dangerous for the ski, for sure, but you can limit the possibility for damage by being careful.

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Re: If waxing an issue for USST, format that uses less wax?

Postby liège » Sun Feb 14, 2016 4:54 pm

... I've heard that some of the top techs are now stonegrinding the skis and then racing on them with a minimum amount of waxing in between, and doing that specifically to preserve the integrity of the base.


So, don't wax your skis? Got it.

The conventional logic in the past has always been that skis need to be waxed many, many times to become fast.


Ah, OK! :)

The truth is that skis can be very fast from the grinder with a minimum amount of waxing -- like, two or three wax jobs. Realistically, a grinder takes them out of the machine and will give them a hot-scrape with soft wax (like a yellow) to clean off the skis, scrape and brush them, and then wax them with something cold (blue or green, depending on who's doing it) to "remove the hairs", scrape and brush them (though with better machines, that's less science and more tradition), and then put them in something relatively universal to transport them (like a blue or violet). Then whoever gets them (assuming they want to test them vs. their other skis) will scrape, brush and wax them with whatever their old skis have on them. So that's three or four waxings before they get on snow, at a [usual] minimum.

But any skis looking to protect their investment will wax their skis when they're transporting them, or storing them for an extended period of time. Even if those aren't being used in a race, they're still getting waxed when they're scraped and prepped for testing. And if they're being raced, they're not just getting waxed, they're getting powdered, and topped with liquid or fluoro, and structured.

Good skis are meant to be skied on. They don't last forever. Nothing lasts forever. It's better to have good skis for one day and enjoy yourself/race fast than it is to have crappy skis and slog. [If you don't care about how fast your skis are, more power to you. No judgment.]

Of course anyone with a vested interest in selling wax might be reluctant to tell you this. Hmm, how about that Kuzmin scraper?


Kuzmin is a joke if you're trying to produce the fastest skis possible. If it was a viable solution, it would be used in World Cup and the Olympics. All of the national teams are paying for wax, and they all have limited budgets -- even Norway! -- and it simply isn't good enough at that level. That said, again, if your goal is to reduce the amount of time you wax, maybe it's worth trying -- but it's not going to give you the fastest skis possible. If the costs of waxing (time, material, health) outweigh the benefits of waxing skis (faster and easier skiing, the Zen-like state you enter while waxing), then give it a try.

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Re: If waxing an issue for USST, format that uses less wax?

Postby jt10000 » Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:18 pm

liège wrote:
Anyway, how did you like the USST skis in Falun this weekend?

No podium. Yet another example of waxing being an issue for the USST as Jeff says, right?
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Re: If waxing an issue for USST, format that uses less wax?

Postby MN Hoser » Sun Feb 14, 2016 8:58 pm

The women did well, very well...again. Jessie (wow), Liz, and Patterson (another wow, ok, a wow for Liz too). It's cool to see the women do so well, and Erik 21st. That seems like a break through race too. So yeah, I hear Eli's over there. He must be good luck. :-P

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Re: If waxing an issue for USST, format that uses less wax?

Postby JeffOYB » Mon Feb 15, 2016 10:06 am

I apologize if I misrepresented the US ladies. I know they are massive now and that's great.

I did recall that their first big early season distance-event podium seemed influenced by heavy snowfall on the later, favored skiers. But they have been piling on the good results. So I didn't mean to say that flukey fast skis were behind all their success.

I've also really appreciated the Susan Dunklee's biathlon success.

I have Kikkan's cereal box.

I do often hear the skis being blamed or praised on the videos. I suppose pricey ski tech is always going to be a big factor. If it's no barrier to any team in the WC then fine. But to me the semi-trailer vs the trailside bench is always going to matter. Maybe we can play up the underdog factor more in a way that the public could relate to -- ie, by showing it in videos.

For our local action, maybe ski/wax tech is so freely available now that the playing field is somewhat level, tho few will be willing to play there properly. That is, everyone has a good chance if they have a basic ski quiver and well-stocked work-bench. The wax forecasts probably really help. (Do they?) But how much potential is there for sport popularity with that kind of overhead? Well, maybe many other sports are far more expensive and it's no big deal.

If a course has bigger ups and downs will wax matter less? When you have a screaming, twisting downhill it seems that ski control (ski flex) and handling skill is more impt than glide-wax. You're often scrubbing speed in such cases. I don't mean to discount climbing-glide. It just seems that wax becomes more impt in mellower terrain. Maybe at the WC level wax always matters a lot. At our local level, on a technical trail the skis are almost irrelevant, it's the skill that counts. A cheap midlength tour ski becomes the optimal choice. ...It's just a thought that such skiing might be more easily popularized. Kids (and others) have more time to develop skill than they have money.

About the Masters... Masters are in a funny place in lots of outdoor sports, it seems. The Boomers were into the outdoors and maybe younger gens are less so. I recall the industry strategy of emphasizing selling top-shelf skis more frequently to the committed, meaning to the white-collar Masters. If they can be talked into buying fresh top-shelf skis every 2 yrs rather than every 5 yrs this will be a critical marketing gain. I've seen this in print a few times. It does seem that pushing for youngsters is a low priority.

I see local Masters doing some community outreach and volunteering at their own events. Maybe the trick would be in talking them into doing more of that and downplaying their own racing. Tough sell, I suppose.

Maybe the generation cycle is coming around again. I was part of a UM Ski Team that was big in the 80's. We had a big budget and every perk. When we aged-out and moved away we absolutely could not give the club to anyone. So, for the 90's and 00's there was no college club from downstate MI. ...But just last year they re-started the club! They now have at least a couple dozen young college skiers -- bang, out of thin air. They're having fun. (I gotta chat with them more about how it happened. I'm pretty sure a couple Yooper girls did it.)
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Re: If waxing an issue for USST, format that uses less wax?

Postby jt10000 » Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:37 pm

I did recall that their first big early season distance-event podium seemed influenced by heavy snowfall on the later, favored skiers.

Jeff, what race was that?
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Re: If waxing an issue for USST, format that uses less wax?

Postby jt10000 » Sun Mar 20, 2016 12:16 pm

I did recall that their first big early season distance-event podium seemed influenced by heavy snowfall on the later, favored skiers.

So Jeff, now that your ski season is over, maybe you can let me know what race you were talking about when you wrote this.

I sure don't "recall" that happening this season. What race was it?
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Re: If waxing an issue for USST, format that uses less wax?

Postby UPrSKr » Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:58 pm

C:\Users\Ken\Pictures\2016-03-20\002-e.jpgC:\Users\Ken\Pictures\2016-03-20\005-e.jpg
I skied a little over 60km on these skis today, for a total of well over 200km on this pair since waxing them last. I brushed them out and will probably use them again tomorrow without rewaxing. They were still fast today at MTU trails. I was about 18F frost snow when I started at 9:00am and 32F warming snow when I finished skiing at 1:30pm. They were last waxed for the Bear Chase a couple of weeks ago, but I went with a different pair for the race so I have been skiing on them off and on ever since. I had waxed them with a base layer of SkiGo LF graphite mixed with LF violet (ultima), followed by a layer of SkiGo P16 covered with Solda F40 violet, and topcoated with SkiGo C44/7 powder ironed on. I know I am stretching the limits of what can be expected out of a $30 plus wax job, but I'm rather impressed with the effectiveness of mixing hardeners and fluoros to gain durability. These are 192cm, 610 mold, carbonlite Fischers, 89km, 1.9mm, with a Sports Rack "NC" grind. Waxed as a universal spring ski for mixed old and fresh snow, 10-32F temp range. I guess I hate waxing skis any more than I need to.
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