2016 Cascade Crest Wax Recommendation

Looks like SNOW!

cascade_crest_weather

The Cascade Crest Ski Marathon and Relay race is this Saturday at Mt Bachelor. Luckily, it is still very much Winter here in Bend. It looks like we are supposed to be getting snow from now until race day. Friday night’s low is supposed to be about 30deg, with a race day high of 33deg. Expect soft conditions. It will be a winter wonderland!

Here is our wax recommendation:

Iron in a base layer of Solda HC28   (If you are skiing the whole 50km, we would recommend adding some Solda S-30 to help harden the base and increase the durability of your wax job). Scrape and Brush.

Apply a layer of Solda F31 Pink (designed specifically for new snow). F15 Pink will also work, but is less fluorinated. Scrape and Brush.

Apply Solda Fluor 100 as your top coat. Iron in. Cork and Brush.

Remember, WebCyclery/WebSkis’ end of season sale is on now! All ski stuff, including SOLDA wax, is now on sale (even though we have 2-3 months left of great skiing).

Have a great race!

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2016 Birkie wax recommendation

Bert and Kevin are out in Wisconsin at the Birkie. Here are Bert’s latest notes:

2016 Birkie Solda Fluoro Powders Test:
Weather: rain, fog, air +2C, snow -0.1C.
Snow: Old, dirty, but holding together at the test site at Birkie Ridge.
Grooming plan: rumor has it that they will wait until the coldest part of the night and till as deeply as they can bringing up the coldest, oldest snow from the bottom and mixing it with what is here on top now.

No big surprises with the Solda powders. The winner was good old Fluor 100. A close second was the new HP04 Carbon with regular HP04 third. HP05 Carbon next followed by HP05 and last was the new Marathon Fluor that is for cold, abrasive snow. I had one ski with the paraffin winner, Solda F40 Carbon Yellow and it tested very well, nearly as fast as the HP04 Carbon. If you wanted to save some time and money and are not excited about burning powders, go with a couple layers of the F40 Carbon Yellow. The advantage of the Fluor 100 is in dirt repelency and durability. That will insure a cleaner ski base longer into the race and that is important with the current condition.

Structures: I tested 4 structures and the winner in this snow was the Finite Tool V05 the whole length of the ski. My guess is that will also work tomorrow. It the snow sugars up then I would consider a .04 linear over it.

Have a great race.


Bert Hinkley
bert@webcyclery.com
550 SW Industrial Way
Suite 150
Bend, OR 97702
541-318-8809

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Madshus Mohair (Intelligrip)Grips and Glides

MADSHUS INTELLIGRIP

Let me start by stating that I am a skier who really likes glide. Glide is what makes skiing different from snowshoeing, running, walking, hiking. I have enjoyed many years and many kilometers of classic skiing on good skis with kick wax. I even enjoy the challenge of finding the right kick wax when the snow is less cooperative. I finally gave in a few years ago and got a pair of Fischer Zero skis for those days when it is right at 0º C and snowing. But I have not given in to the temptation to get “waxless” skis, until now.

I now have a pair of Madshus Terrasonic Intelligrip classic skis.

mad-mohair 2

Some of you may remember the mohair skis from the ‘70s. Well, they are back. This is not a new idea, but lets say a refined one. The mohair insert on the Madshus ski runs under the foot to a few centimeters in front of the binding, just like a kick wax zone. the hairs are laid down to glide one way and not the other.  When mine arrived I put down a few layers of glide wax on the tips and tails and waited for snow.

My first try was on a day with temps hovering around -1ºC (30ºF) and snowing. The track was soft and there  was a little new snow in it. I have to admit, the skis worked pretty well. If that is not a ringing endorsement, read on. I felt that they were a little draggy on the glide, so I adjusted the Rottefella binding back a couple clicks and the glide improved immediately. Kick was still easy and I could walk up any hill I encountered that morning. Other members of the group had pattern (crown) skis and one guy on wax. My Madshus, over all, had better glide than the crown, better kick than the wax ( on that day ) and felt good.

The next try was on Christmas day with much colder soft snow (-7ºC). Again the skis worked well. I found that the glide was consistent and predictable in a well prepared track. If there was some different snow dropped in the track, then they were a little grabby. When out of the track skiing over unconsolidated surface they grabbed a bit. But over all it was a good feeling, albeit not as good as a waxed ski on that day.   So, my verdict is that they are not as good as a kick waxed ski in most cases, but they provide a great day of classic skiing with very little fussing and messing with the kick wax mystery.  I am keeping mine

 

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2015 COTE DAME MARIE LOPPET

2015 COTE DAME MARIE LOPPET

HANSON HILLS RECREATION TRAILS

GRAYLING, MI

SATURDAY, JANUARY 17

 

26km, 13km, 7.5km Freestyle mass start race.

Start time 10:00 a.m.

Weather: Looks like an overnight low around 6F with a start time temp of around 19F; cloudy; RH 85%. There is a chance of some new snow, but not much.

I will list three levels of wax here for different wax budgets. Any of the waxes should run well.

Good Wax:

Base: Solda HC28 crayoned on to a clean base; Solda Performance Green applied over the HC28 and ironed.

Paraffin: Finish this with Solda F15 Violet

Better Wax:

Base: Solda HC28 crayoned on to a clean base; Solda Performance Green applied over the HC28 and ironed.

Paraffin: Solda F31 Violet

Best Wax:

Base: Solda HC28 crayoned on to a clean base; Solda Performance Green applied over the HC28. Then apply a layer of Solda S30 cold powder. Scrape it while it is still warm and do not brush.

Paraffin: Apply a layer of Solda F40 Violet Special.

Top Coat: Apply Solda HP05 powder. After ironing with iron at 275F let the ski cool. Then polish with felt brush. Finish with fine horse hair brush. Brush again just before skiing.

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COLD SNOW GLIDE WAX

Most of us who live in regions where the weather can be extremely cold know the slow glide feeling on that day when the nose hairs want to freeze together and the snow crunches under foot. It feels more like skiing on frozen beach sand than it does snow. The snow crystals when it is cold (below 10 F or -12 C) are sharp and hard and not subject to transformation. They create a dry friction and drag on the polyethylene base material.

It is nice to have a pair of skis that cope with these conditions. One way would be base material that is harder than bases for warmer snow. All the major ski companies make some version of the cold base skis. Another characteristic of good skis for cold snow is a flex pattern that spreads the skier weight out over a large surface area without concentrating force in any one spot.  The ski should have a little tip splay and very gradual and long contact pressure in the front 1/2 and another long and gradual pressure zone to a tail with some splay. Then the grind on the base should be fine and shallow so the sharp snow cannot grab the structure easily.

But if you have only one good pair of skis and want to get out and play when the day is chilly, wax is the only way to modify the base and get gliding. The wax that works on cold snow is harder than the wax for warm snow. The actual hydrogen and carbon molecular bonds are altered to produce a long-chain hydrocarbon wax. It makes it harder. All the major companies make waxes for cold snow, each with a slightly different chemical formula. But all are basically long-chain hydrocarbons that when melted onto a ski base will penetrate the base and make it harder, temporarily.  These waxes usually require higher iron temperatures to apply and so care must be used so the bases are not burned in application. I have seen some people use a cheese grater and make a powder of the wax (usually green in color like Solda F15 Green) and then spread the powdered wax evenly on the base and then iron. I like to use the method I call “touch and rub” . With a hot iron in one hand and the bar of cold wax in the other, it touch the wax to the iron for a second and while it is thus warmed and softened, rub it on the ski base. Then repeat until the whole base has a layer of wax rubbed on. Then iron as always. I like to let the ski cool and then iron a couple more passes. This enables the wax to penetrate more deeply into the base. When the wax is almost cool to room temperature scrape it. Brush when it is completely cool.

Solda ski wax is well know internationally to produce some waxes that are extraordinary in cold conditions. I will begin by taking a look at three additives made specifically for extremely cold snow and take a look at when to use them.

First is the Solda S30 cold powder. It looks like tiny styrofoam balls. It acts as a hardener and can be used with any wax to add durability to the wax job. The S30 really hardens the base, sticks well to the base and can serve as a base for other waxes. On really cold, dry snow it can also be a top coat powder as a finish coat over a hard paraffin. I like to use the S30 as a top coat in very cold manmade snow or snow that is often icy and super abrasive. I have had great skis with Solda F15 Green (hard paraffin) topped with S30 when it was 0 F (-17 C) and snowing at West Yellowstone, MT.

Solda also makes an anti-static additive called S20. It is a greenish powder that is applied like the S30. Often when there are cold dry conditions a static charge can be generated. The S20 is designed to help discharge this static charge. We have found S20 used as a finish coat over Solda F15 green to be a great wax in natural, wind-blown snow conditions. If your trails are out in the open and the snow is wind blown, the S20 is the ticket.

A combination of S30 and S20 is sold as Solda S32. The appropriate snow for S32 is humid, cold, manmade snow; snow with a high moisture content and fine, hard crystals.

There are also fluorocarbon powders that are designed for cold snow. Now, fluorocarbons are hydrophobic, meaning that they prevent water from adhering to the base. But in super cold weather there is no free (unfrozen) water available between the ski and the snow. But fluorocarbons can be beneficial in cold conditions, especially when the race is long (over 15km). Not only are fluoros hydrophobic, they are also durable, and because of the negative charge of the electrons in fluorine, they repel the dirt that can be in the snow. A clean ski base will always glide better than a dirty base. The durability of the fluoro top coat is achieve in the high temperatures needed to apply the powder. When ironed carefully over a base of mid-fluoro paraffin the top coat will last a long time. Solda HP05 is such a cold snow powder. When the conditions are cold, transformed and changing it is time for HP05. Think cold, old snow on a sunny day.  Solda HP06 is a different animal. It is best applied on days of newish, very cold snow in high humidity and stable temperature. Think newish, humid, cold snow on a cloudy windless day. If it is snowing in this weather the HP06 will run in warmer temps, up to about 14 F. Then there is the cold powder made specifically for cold North American snow. It is a mix of the Solda cold powder S30 and the HP05 fluoro additive. Here think about snow in Colorado or Idaho on a day when it is cold and the day is sunny. HP05/S30 combines the hardening properties of the S30 (durability) and the fluoro benefit of the negative charge, clean base and some moisture with the changing conditions.

As a base (first layer) in almost all cold conditions I like to use the Solda HC28 carbon wax. It is a black, graphite type wax that saturates well, has a broad temperature range and holds waxes that applied over it. It also has the negative charge advantage need in many cold or dirty snow conditions.

Now that you know how to use the cold Solda waxes, go out and glide past all your friends. If you ever have questions about using cold weather Solda waxes, just call us at Webskis, 541-318-8809.

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2015 FROSTY FREESTYLE – MICHIGAN CUP and KRAZY KLASSIC MICHIGAN CUP

SOLDA WAX RECOMMENDATION

2015 FROSTY FREESTYLE, MICHIGAN CUP, January 10, 2015

This is a 15km or 5km freestyle race at Huron Meadows near Brighton, MI.

Start time is 10:30

Overnight low is forecast to be 2 F (-16.5 C); relative humidity 77%; windy

Start time temp is forecast to be 5 F (-15 C); windy

I am not there to test and what follows is my best guess knowing the wax.

I will go with three levels of expense for this race titled Good , Better, Best. Remember that ski selection and grind are also key factors to having fast skis. With snow this cold you would want to choose skis with a fine, cold grind and pressure zones on the snow that spread your weight out along the ski.

GOOD: Apply a base of Solda HC28. Scrape and brush. Next a layer of Solda F15 Green. Scrape and brush. Brush again just before the race.

BETTER: Apply a base of Solda HC28. Scrape and brush. Next apply a layer of F15 Green, scrape and brush. Finish with a layer of Solda S20. Scrape the S20 while it is still warm. Once it has cooled, brush with horse hair  and finish with fine nylon brush. Brush again before racing.

BEST: Apply a layer of Solda HC28. Scrape and brush. Next a layer of Solda S20, scrape it while warm then let the ski cool. Apply a layer of F15 Green, scrape and brush.  Finish with Solda S20; scrape while ski is still warm. Once ski is cool, brush with horse hair and finish with fine nylon brush.

2015 KRAZY KLASSIC

This is an 8 km or 12 km classic race at Huron Meadows near Brighton, MI.

Start time is 10:30.

Overnight low is forecast to be 5F (-15 C) ; relative humidity 100%

Start time is forecast 10 F (-12 C)

GOOD glide wax: Start with Solda HC28, scrape and brush. Finish with Solda F15 Green, scrape and brush until glossy and black.

BETTER glide wax: Start with a layer of Solda HC28, scrape and brush. Next a layer of Solda S30, scrape lightly while it is still warm. Finish with Solda F15 Green.

BEST glide wax: Start with Solda HC28, scrape and brush. Apply a layer of Solda S30, scrape lightly while the ski is still warm. Apply a layer of Solda F15 Green, scrape and brush. Finish with Solda HP05/S30 70-30. This fluoro powder is applied carefully with a very hot (265 – 275 F) iron. Always use a good respirator in a well ventilated wax room. Polish the wax with a cork after ironing. Then polish with a felt polishing brush. Next use a horse hair brush and finish with fine nylon. Brush the skis out before skiing.

KICK WAX: My first guess is the Rode Special Green with Rode Green right under the binding. Rode waxes often run well in cold, natural snow. You may need to test other cold hard waxes.

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2015 Fischer Carbon skate boots; Stiffer-Lighter-Faster

STIFFER – LIGHTER- FASTER
2015 SKATE BOOTS
The new 2015 Fischer Skate Carbon boot has just arrived. At first the people at Fischer/Austria had not intended to release this boot until next year. But folks had seen them on the feet of some athletes at the Sochi Olympic Games and at other world cups. Then when the US Team was here in Bend, Oregon for their spring camp a number of athletes who had long time relationships with other boot companies tried the Fischer Carbon Skate and made a change for this season. This winter Andy Newall, Kikkan Randall, Simi Hamilton, Sadie Bjornsen, Sophie Caldwell and Ben Saxon will be skiing on the new Fischer boot. Biathlete Susan Dunklee has also tried, tested and is on the Fischer boot now.

Fischer2015 Carbon skate boot

We weighed the boots (size 42) and they tipped the gram scale at 465g per boot. To compare, the Alpina ESK Pro size 42, also pretty darn light, weighs in at 552g per boot. The snazzy new Madshus Super Nano boot comes in at 566g per boot.

Fischer has moved somewhat outside the box to do this. The inner boot on the Carbon Skate is low, below the ankle, just like a classic boot. The last lace loop is situated to pull the heel down nicely. Now, there are some skiers who might not like that low inner boot feel. The Carbon cuff has a bit more padding than past versions and I like the fit around the ankle area.  They have also eliminated the instep buckle and depend on the inner lacing to hold the foot. That eliminates that weight.

Fischer Carbon sole

All the boots here are excellent choices. Much of the decision to go with one or the other would be fit. It is pretty darn hard to fit on a blog or on the internet. I’ll start with my foot. I have a pretty narrow, low volume foot that fits between 42 and 43 size boots. Generally, the new Fischer Carbon skate boot has plenty of room in the toe-box and around the first metatarsal. It has a soft inner boot feel on the instep and continues with solid medial arch support. My heel locked in nicely with snug lacing. The forefoot felt roomy in the size 42.
The Madshus Super Nano requires me to go to a size 43. The toe-box is a bit shorter and the metatarsal area slightly narrower than the Fischer. The carbon sole and heel wrap is designed for feet that get narrow fairly fast. The boot is very firm on the lateral (5th metatarsal bone) and on the medial (navicular bone) sides of the foot. Heel pocket is snug. Again, I have to go to a 43 here. This boot won’t change too much, so a good initial fit is important. I will add that the Madshus Nano Carbon boot fit is more foregiving and has some thermo/plastic properties that allow it to fit a broader range of feet.
Alpina ESK Pro. This one fits my foot best. The toe-box is less roomy than the Fischer, more roomy than the Madshus. The inner boot is soft, flexible and wraps the foot very well. There is a beaded surface on the heel cup that helps hold the foot. The Xcelerator sole is stiff and the outer rand of the boot is soft enough to allow for some foot bone variation. Here I am in a 42.5 size. Some athletes even remove the carbon fiber cuff and ski “cuff-less”

Fischer-Alpina-Madshus skate boots

These are the boots at the high end of performance, low end of weight and high end of price. There are certainly other boots that may suit your needs better. I just want to keep skiers up on what is new. If you have questions on boots feel free to call the Webskis/Webcyclery shop.
Smile, it is almost time for snow.

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