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  1. #1
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    What do dry/improperly waxed bases ski like?

    Here's a question I've searched around for and haven't necessarily found much discussion on.

    Base structure, time since last wax, and type of waxed used all affect how your skis slide on snow.

    Obviously, having the improper structure, wrong temp wax, or not having waxed in a while will cause more friction = slower straight line speed, especially on hardpack.

    What about powder? Similar slow-down, or less pronounced?

    And as far as 3D snow, would dry/slow bases cause the ski to be sluggish pivoting, surfing, slashing, etc?


    I know having improper edge tune (rail high) can make a fun pivoty ski very difficult to turn/pivot/slash/release on hardpack. Curious if a slow base could do something similar in 3D snow/pow.

  2. #2
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    Structure can most definitely make a ski slow in pow/3D as can dry bases.

  3. #3
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    Worst is to have warm weather wax on a really cold day. The bottom of your skis looks like the sides of a 1970s freezer that hasn't been defrosted.
    Go that way really REALLY fast. If something gets in your way, TURN!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SumJongGuy View Post
    Worst is to have warm weather wax on a really cold day. The bottom of your skis looks like the sides of a 1970s freezer that hasn't been defrosted.
    I had one of those, although it was a 60's. I used to defrost it with an ice hammer.

  5. #5
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    TL;DR: yeah, wrong wax/no wax/wrong structure sucks on hardpack and in pow.

    Not taking structure into account:

    Dry bases + new, cold, dry snow: slow, but not unskiable, depending on deterioration of base surface (hairy/scratched/heavily structured bases will be slower). Fully formed snowflake crystals are aggressive and pointy and grabby.

    Dry bases + new, warm, wet snow: snowshoes. If you can make a snowball on a pow day, you better have the appropriate wax on. Or at least something.

    Dry bases + cold, old (transformed, hardpacked, faceted) snow: slower, but not unskiable. May still see significant sticking/clumping on bases.

    Dry bases + warm, old snow: slower, but not unskiable, up to a point. Snow/water solutions will stay at 0*C until they become saturated, at which point temps can skyrocket. That’s why you have grabby spots in the spring that feel like hitting the brakes.

    In most in-season conditions, you’re generally better off being waxed a little too cold than too warm. Warmer temp waxes are softer and easier for the snow crystals to penetrate and grab. Once the snow crystals become faceted, either through grooming, ski traffic, sun and wind exposure, they tend to roll more and the dendrites have broken off so you can get away with not being on point with wax. But once the water saturation reaches a certain level, hard waxes are unable to reduce the friction and suction enough to keep a ski gliding. There are exceptions, but generally you’re better off on the cold(ish) side.

    Structure definitely has an effect on how a ski pivots and smears, but most recreational tuning is not going to be running anything so aggressive that it would outstrip the design of most modern skis. A heavy crosshatch in new, dry snow will change the way the ski shmears, but not as much as having the wrong wax on. It will certainly slow you down though, and that transfers in all directions, not just forward motion.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZomblibulaX View Post
    TL;DR: yeah, wrong wax/no wax/wrong structure sucks on hardpack and in pow.

    Not taking structure into account:

    Dry bases + new, cold, dry snow: slow, but not unskiable, depending on deterioration of base surface (hairy/scratched/heavily structured bases will be slower). Fully formed snowflake crystals are aggressive and pointy and grabby.

    Dry bases + new, warm, wet snow: snowshoes. If you can make a snowball on a pow day, you better have the appropriate wax on. Or at least something.

    Dry bases + cold, old (transformed, hardpacked, faceted) snow: slower, but not unskiable. May still see significant sticking/clumping on bases.

    Dry bases + warm, old snow: slower, but not unskiable, up to a point. Snow/water solutions will stay at 0*C until they become saturated, at which point temps can skyrocket. That’s why you have grabby spots in the spring that feel like hitting the brakes.

    In most in-season conditions, you’re generally better off being waxed a little too cold than too warm. Warmer temp waxes are softer and easier for the snow crystals to penetrate and grab. Once the snow crystals become faceted, either through grooming, ski traffic, sun and wind exposure, they tend to roll more and the dendrites have broken off so you can get away with not being on point with wax. But once the water saturation reaches a certain level, hard waxes are unable to reduce the friction and suction enough to keep a ski gliding. There are exceptions, but generally you’re better off on the cold(ish) side.

    Structure definitely has an effect on how a ski pivots and smears, but most recreational tuning is not going to be running anything so aggressive that it would outstrip the design of most modern skis. A heavy crosshatch in new, dry snow will change the way the ski shmears, but not as much as having the wrong wax on. It will certainly slow you down though, and that transfers in all directions, not just forward motion.
    Hey you seem to know your shit. If a ski has a dry base on wet snow or something is making it sticky, is crayoning on a multi temperature wax better than nothing? Had a discussion about this with someone. I suggested the dry rub and they said no that will make it worse.

    Sent from my SM-G960U1 using Tapatalk
    Quote Originally Posted by splat View Post
    Nothing in the ski industry is ever as it seems or is being made out to be - unless you were just buried in an avalanche.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    66
    1 day or older snow and -1 to -10 degrees are conditions that you can ski without wax for a month and you will not feel that you are slow if you just have a somewhat normal structure in the base.

    Just like said above, it´s when it is really cold or really warm that you notice the difference most, and the newer the snow is the greater the effect will be. A good structure makes much more difference than the type of wax you use. Totally flat bases without structure (as some cheaper skis are delivered) make even the best wax suck.

    If you are not competing, I recommend using cold/hard/blue wax all the time. You don´t need the softer options at all. Harder wax lasts longer and is fast enough even on warm days. Bring out the clock and some gates, and you need to step up the game, but not for regular free skiing.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2017
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    on the banks of Fish Creek
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    visual aid.....








    bro coulda used some waxz....

  9. #9
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    Do those of you with large ski quivers wax for warm or cold days?

    I live near Tahoe and have too many skis, so I just use an all temp wax for everything. I like Hertel hot sauce because it's cheap, works fine, scrapes easily. Other warm or all temp waxes I've used have been fine too, I'm not picky. Only when I've been in much colder temps have I thought that my all temp waxed skis were draggy - but it was like 0 to - 5 F, or colder, and I don't see those temps often. Usually it's just in Jackson once a year.

    I've only used cold temp wax a few times, and it is a pain to scrape.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post
    Do those of you with large ski quivers wax for warm or cold days?

    I live near Tahoe and have too many skis, so I just use an all temp wax for everything. I like Hertel hot sauce because it's cheap, works fine, scrapes easily. Other warm or all temp waxes I've used have been fine too, I'm not picky. Only when I've been in much colder temps have I thought that my all temp waxed skis were draggy - but it was like 0 to - 5 F, or colder, and I don't see those temps often. Usually it's just in Jackson once a year.

    I've only used cold temp wax a few times, and it is a pain to scrape.
    Live in Seattle, so also not seeing super cold temps much unless I travel. I'll occasionally use cold wax on skis I'm taking somewhere colder, but otherwise I'm way too lazy to bother with anything other than all temp.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    For my wider skis, I wax them once a year, at most. Some skis haven't had any attention to the bases in years. Skinnier skis get more attention.

    Yes, the unwaxed boards are slower than a fresh wax. But not THAT much slower. And it's mostly noticeable on cat tracks. In pow, not so much. If I want my skis to go faster in pow, I just turn less.

    The only time I start waxing a lot is in the spring for slush. That sticky snow sucks without decent warm wax.

  12. #12
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    Nov 2007
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    Wax on alpine skis is sooooooo 2016. This stuff has worked well for me in a wide range of conditions:


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post
    Do those of you with large ski quivers wax for warm or cold days?
    I put cold temp wax on my GS and SL type skis. If it's cold here it's going to be icy too. I run warm on the bump skis for slush bump days. Run universal on everything else. Slather it on skis that got more than a day or two at the end of the season to store. Leave it until I decide that ski will come put to play and either scrape off when putting the skis in the box, at the resort before clicking in, or just ski it without even scraping it if I forget or feel lazy.

    Yes, some skis in the quiver are designated cold day skis, some are designated warm snow day skis.
    Go that way really REALLY fast. If something gets in your way, TURN!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
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    Does anybody have a favorite cold temp wax? I usually just use Hertel but agree it is a little sluggish when it's chilly.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using TGR Forums mobile app

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeezerSteve View Post
    Wax on alpine skis is sooooooo 2016. This stuff has worked well for me in a wide range of conditions:

    My sarcasm meter might need new batteries.
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
    And there will come a day when our ancestors look back...........

  16. #16
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    the jury is still out on Phantom, I did a free app on my lotus 120's, Phantom compared to real wax chosen specificaly for the conditions ain't perfect but its much better than if the ski had no wax at all, so I think real wax is better but you gotta actualy do it while Phantom is always there ... a good thing to sell the dentists

    I won the old fuck class in last years Shusshboomer which is basicly just a tuck by spending 75$ on a piece of the right wax which made the difference, my fastest time ever and just enough to beat the other old fucks

    cheap old fucks eh
    Last edited by XXX-er; 12-17-2019 at 12:08 PM.
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  17. #17
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    Dec 2010
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    If its steep enough, you wont notice the poor wax job, or lack of wax at all.

  18. #18
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    Mar 2006
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    Missoula, MT
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    I would say that I notice wax the most at the opposite ends of snow temp ie sun hammered spring slush or days in the teens or less.
    Getting a light structure in the bases of my Q Labs helped make them feel not stuck in a turn. No difference in speed, really, but definitely more pivotable.
    I like waxing for durability, not just help on flat spots.
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    1,207
    Quote Originally Posted by fleaches View Post
    Does anybody have a favorite cold temp wax? I usually just use Hertel but agree it is a little sluggish when it's chilly.
    I'm using the Hertel 739 as my main wax, I really like it. But it's starts to slow down below -15C.

    This year in going to start mixing it with Maplus Arctic Base for the cold days and just the Arctic Base for the absurdly cold days.

    You could just buy some Hertel Cold Snap. I tried to but it seemed to be a pain getting it shipped to Canada.

  20. #20
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    Mar 2006
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    PS One Ball Jay wax is cheap and works well. Temp specific or not. Yes, cold temp waxes are harder to scrape. I usually like cold or colder temp waxes because I live in Montana. Not that Missoula is particularly cold, but you get my drift.
    I will still start with base prep or warmest temp for storage and hot scraping at the beginning of winter to get some good penetration (huh huh) then transition to something harder. How quick that transition is depends on if it's a new ski/just had a base grind or not.
    One Ball also makes a nice graphite bar you can crayon in every so often before waxing. Keeps things slippery in the wet slush or very dry cold.
    I never use floro waxes because I'm not racing.
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

  21. #21
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    Apr 2016
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    Exiled from Maine
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    I did the too-warm wax thing on a VERY Banffy day in Banff last year (suffice to say it was freaky freezy). It's not just straightline speed you lose. If you're one of the rare birds around here who likes to turn their snow skis, and who enjoys the sensation of your snow skis turning when you do, the right wax seems to assist in that regard.

    I keep Swix liquid f4 around for base emergencies, although I haven't tried to fly with it and I think it bottoms out around 20 degrees air temp. I have Phantom 2.0 sitting at my house but I dropped out of dental school so I didn't feel comfortable applying it.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhyatt View Post
    If a ski has a dry base on wet snow or something is making it sticky, is crayoning on a multi temperature wax better than nothing?
    Sure. But it depends on the conditions. Rubbing on a soft wax in cold temps isn’t going to help a bit and might actually make you slower. Likewise in new snow. You’re probably better off carrying a rub-on in your pocket, like faststick, zardoz, etc. The durability isn’t great but you get a better temp range.

    Quote Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post
    Do those of you with large ski quivers wax for warm or cold days?
    I wax/grind for intended use, i.e. my wider skis (105 and up) I wax colder than my narrower skis with a finer structure, because they’re going to be skied on colder days with new snow. Narrower skis, down here in the banana belt, are more subject to direct sunlight and warmer temps so they get a more aggressive structure and warmer wax.

    Quote Originally Posted by fleaches View Post
    Does anybody have a favorite cold temp wax? I usually just use Hertel but agree it is a little sluggish when it's chilly.
    New and cold snow is Hertel’s Achilles heel, but it plays well with almost anything. Just buy a block of blue something to mix in. I use a ton of hertel because there’s always water in the snow down here and it mitigates contaminants very well. But I almost never wax with just hertel, always mix it with a temp-range HC. If you want to flesh out your wax quiver, pick a brand and get a bar of blue for new and cold snow, a stick of graphite for dirty, dry or old snow, and something pink for warm temps. Straight hertel works pretty good by itself in the spring, or their spring solution straight up cooks.

  23. #23
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    Nov 2017
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    I only wax so I can pass all the slow fucks to the powpow. Doug taught me that.
    Honestly though, I wax frequently because I am on snow daily and the temp/condition changes can be fairly dramatic here in JH. One can go from blue/green to yellow within 24-48 hours.
    And ski of the day choices change up quickly. Occasionally I'll take 2 pair to the hill and after getting some conditions beta from trollers, will bail on the first choice for the second. Typically when I suspect an upside down overnight dump.
    don't start

    The drag I get from ill chosen wax is always noticeable and increases the input required for the turn. Skiing is hard enough so it helps to try and minimize the variables. And slow is not my normal approach to much of anything.

    I suspect many skiers don't really know or appreciate how proper wax benefits them. And that's cool; sometimes skiing is too complicated to be fun anymore. I use a wax session as a time to wind down, relax with music, herbs and friends. Tuning my skis about daily, is something I can look forward to.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Djongo Unchained View Post
    I only wax so I can pass all the slow fucks to the powpow. Doug taught me that.
    Honestly though, I wax frequently because I am on snow daily and the temp/condition changes can be fairly dramatic here in JH. One can go from blue/green to yellow within 24-48 hours.
    And ski of the day choices change up quickly. Occasionally I'll take 2 pair to the hill and after getting some conditions beta from trollers, will bail on the first choice for the second. Typically when I suspect an upside down overnight dump.
    don't start

    The drag I get from ill chosen wax is always noticeable and increases the input required for the turn. Skiing is hard enough so it helps to try and minimize the variables. And slow is not my normal approach to much of anything.

    I suspect many skiers don't really know or appreciate how proper wax benefits them. And that's cool; sometimes skiing is too complicated to be fun anymore. I use a wax session as a time to wind down, relax with music, herbs and friends. Tuning my skis about daily, is something I can look forward to.
    This right here in Spades. So much wisdom.

  25. #25
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    Oct 2008
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    Golden, CO
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    I too use the Purl Purple for almost all season, and have used Hertel Hot Sauce with good results too.

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