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  1. #1
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    Wax temp discussion

    Back in the day, coming from a household where my dad and I prepped our skis by the book, we adhered pretty strictly to Swix' temp range recommendations. And it worked. I never, ever had slow bases, neither on one plank or two, but these past ten years have had me slipping, forgetting standards way further than acceptable.

    This past week, I've gone skiing three days, which is about 600%more than previous years' weeks, so I'm happy. It's been a steady -20c, extremely dry snow,but absolutely no ice. I used whatever available, which in my case has been ch8 (1 to - 4c) swix. The quickness has lasted for about 2 runs. Back in the olden days, I'd probably have grabbed ch4 or something even harder.

    I have more thoughts on this, but would like to hear the mags' take on this.





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    Last edited by arild; 01-09-2022 at 08:36 AM.

  2. #2
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    Graphite.

  3. #3
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    Iíve switched to the rub on wax from FAST STIK. 0 to -23 C for their cold wax and 0 to 10 C for the warm. It might seem pricey for the small amounts you get, but one stick of the cold wax lasts me a winter of 100+ days of skiing. Easy to apply anytime


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  4. #4
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    I was thinking of starting a thread but itís kind of relevant here and the wax geeks will come. Realistically how long does wax last on skis? Many people seem to say the real benefit is like 2-3 runs. Then what? Is it then sort of ok for 4-5 days then just terrible? Hard to quantify for sure. I just know my wife whines a bit if I neglect her skis for 10 days or so.

    The DPS stuff seems like smoke and mirrors to me. But I canít be bothered waxing if itís a 2 run deal and frankly I have skis that maybe donít run well on the flats but ski just fine elsewhere that havenít seen wax in 15-20 days.

    Edges on the other hand. I pay good attention to them.

  5. #5
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    I use a soft yellow and lay like 10-15 layers on any new ski that I get after cleaning pores and crap out of the base with a hot scrape and base cleaner. Then I wax using universal waxes, if I was still chasing gates it’s a completely different story. Waxing for temperature using swix is great if you have the time and actually know what to wax for. Snow temperature and snow humidity is not the same as air temperature and humidity.

    for 95% of conditions universal wax is great and if something is needed, like if the snow is wet or dry, graphite will usually suffice.

    I used to have jars and jars of cera f and tons of flouros, but it’s gone after 2 runs, which is why we corked on at the starts for DH and SG. It’s just not worth it.

    the by far best wax ever created was the swix HF black devil. God dam hippies had to ruin it.


    and I avoid all rub on waxes like the plague. They work for a minute and then dry your bases 20 times faster afterwards.

  6. #6
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    I've switched to Purl wax entirely. Yellow for hot scraping and base prep (if needed). A mix of Purple and Blue after every two days on the snow. If it is really cold, a mix of Purple and Green.
    "somebody's gotta do it"

  7. #7
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    Cold dry snow is a bit like sand. It just scrapes the wax right off. You need to use a little graphite (not too much, just rub it on) too because of static when it's so dry.
    With really cold, hard wax you also might wanna do a pass with a brass brush after scraping and before nylon.
    I have had good luck with Pearl and One Ball Jay. No need to shell out the $$$ for Swix.
    Really bake that shit in, too. Do a hot scrape with slush wax if you need to clean and condition the base.
    And structure works! If you don't have a stripy pattern, get one. Really rough up the base with the brass brush, from tail to tip even, before waxing.
    My guess is you're not used to cold, dry snow? It can be slow. One of my favorite parts of a big, but dry dump is how you kinda slow and quiet everything down.
    No longer stuck.

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

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by arild View Post
    Back in the day, coming from a household where my dad and I prepped our skis by the book, we adhered pretty strictly to Swix' temp range recommendations. And it worked. I never, ever had slow bases, neither on one plank or two, but these past ten years have had me slipping, forgetting standards way further than acceptable.

    This past week, I've gone skiing three days, which is about 600%more than previous years' weeks, so I'm happy. It's been a steady -20c, extremely dry snow,but absolutely no ice. I used whatever available, which in my case has been ch8 (1 to - 4c) swix. The quickness has lasted for about 2 runs. Back in the olden days, I'd probably have grabbed ch4 or something even harder. I have more thoughts on this, but would like to hear the mags' take on this.
    This approach still works, and you can refresh your memory on the Swix website for free, their instructional videos are great. CH8 is way too warm for -20 C, but proper application and finish work is almost as important as hitting the temp perfectly (most people don't scrape/brush enough). Ask you dad if you need help.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoVT Joey View Post
    Graphite.
    Molybdenum


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  10. #10
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    Better to wax too cold than too warm in my experience

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Cold dry snow is a bit like sand. It just scrapes the wax right off. You need to use a little graphite (not too much, just rub it on) too because of static when it's so dry.
    With really cold, hard wax you also might wanna do a pass with a brass brush after scraping and before nylon.
    I have had good luck with Pearl and One Ball Jay. No need to shell out the $$$ for Swix.
    Really bake that shit in, too. Do a hot scrape with slush wax if you need to clean and condition the base.
    And structure works! If you don't have a stripy pattern, get one. Really rough up the base with the brass brush, from tail to tip even, before waxing.
    My guess is you're not used to cold, dry snow? It can be slow. One of my favorite parts of a big, but dry dump is how you kinda slow and quiet everything down.
    Haven't used graphite before but you've got me curious. Just ordered a brick. Do you crayon it in after waxing with cold wax?
    "somebody's gotta do it"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by stealurface831 View Post
    Haven't used graphite before but you've got me curious. Just ordered a brick. Do you crayon it in after waxing with cold wax?
    I usually crayon it on then hot wax over it . . . good for cold and dry conditions to combat static charge. Well, I used to, it seldom gets that cold and dry in the PNW.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Cold dry snow is a bit like sand. It just scrapes the wax right off. You need to use a little graphite (not too much, just rub it on) too because of static when it's so dry.
    With really cold, hard wax you also might wanna do a pass with a brass brush after scraping and before nylon.
    I have had good luck with Pearl and One Ball Jay. No need to shell out the $$$ for Swix.
    Really bake that shit in, too. Do a hot scrape with slush wax if you need to clean and condition the base.
    And structure works! If you don't have a stripy pattern, get one. Really rough up the base with the brass brush, from tail to tip even, before waxing.
    My guess is you're not used to cold, dry snow? It can be slow. One of my favorite parts of a big, but dry dump is how you kinda slow and quiet everything down.
    Not very used to it, no, but hoping for some more snow,slightly lower temps. Over here, in the fatherland of skiing, Swix is really the only game available. Had good luck with bulk buying OBJ earlier, though.

    Base structure/brushing is way more useful in spring/summer conditions than super low temps, ime. I do brush after wax application, but really only with horse hair.

    When posting this thread, I was really thinking about the relationship between melting temps of wax vs durability in colder temps. Ch/ps7 melts at 130 degrees, ch8 at 120. When heating up ch8, I was thinking that really, wax is wax. After skiing, not so certain.

    Guessing as we age, mags get closer to epicski poster standards.

    Oh, never used graphite/moly or anything resembling high fluoride.

    My old waxing regimen was hot scraping pre season, then four or five layers of ch6 or 7, then whichever wax temp appropriate. I realize, as I get older, there's no chance in hell 2mm of sintered uhmwpe can absorb that much wax, but something has to be said for rituals.

    Hot scraping, otoh, is proven awesome.
    Crayoning with a light drip after, before ironing, as well.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by arild View Post
    Base structure/brushing is way more useful in spring/summer conditions than super low temps, ime. I do brush after wax application, but really only with horse hair.

    When posting this thread, I was really thinking about the relationship between melting temps of wax vs durability in colder temps. Ch/ps7 melts at 130 degrees, ch8 at 120. When heating up ch8, I was thinking that really, wax is wax. After skiing, not so certain.
    Do you brush prior to waxing? If not, that could be part of the reason the quickness lasted so few runs. Try opening up the structure by making a few passes (or a lot of passes) with a brass brush.

    As far as relationship between melting temp and durability in cold temps, it has always been my understanding that the higher the melting temp, the better the durability.
    Last edited by stealurface831; 01-09-2022 at 12:51 PM.
    "somebody's gotta do it"

  15. #15
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    Every time I read a tuning thread I come to the conclusion that I don't know what I'm doing.

    Having said that, in doing what I'm doing, I don't feel like my wax only lasts a few runs... I'd say I probably get 5 to 10 days on a ski before I wax it again. I am not a speed demon and have never raced so maybe I don't even know what the difference feels like?

    I will brass brush the ski first, then clean with citrus base cleaner. Really iron in 1 coat of all temp (I.e. puddle stays for 20 seconds or so before drying) and leave it at least 24 hours in a warm room. Then plastic scraper, 2 lights passes with a brass brush, nylon brush, Grey scotch Brite pad to get the shavings out and done.

    I'll use warm temp in the spring but can't be bothered chasing ideal temps in the winter when I don't want to be stuck with warm wax in cold temps... would rather have the opposite problem.
    Goal: ski in the 2018/19 season

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagnificentUnicorn View Post
    Molybdenum
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    Both!
    KUU Moist graphite and Wintersteiger Moly.
    (Buy the 250/500g bar and it's pretty cheap.)

    I usually use the graphite, but Moly seems also very good in wet sticky goo.
    (That said, I'm in the PNW with normally not terribly cold/dry snow. YMMV.)

    Touch to iron and crayon on. Scrape off with metal scraper, scotch-bright pad to polish. (IMO, usually good for a day or three. After that, little benefit left.)
    On "sticktion" days, as a touch-up; Crayon on only, and lasts for 5-10K vert, depending on a ton of factors. (How sticky, how dirty, how hot etc.)

  17. #17
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    Green, blue, and purple purl wax has served 97% of my needs. I reserve a mixture of blue & green or only green for when it's cold, otherwise I find it almost too fast... I'm usually on a mix of blue and purple for everything after February 15th.

    I've crayoned on graphite wax for some select days, but usually can't be bothered; I am a lazy skier at heart.

    Been pranked by coworkers putting red or yellow purl on my skis, but otherwise I just stick with purple on hot spring days.

    If I have access to the tools, I'll brush out the structure with various hardnesses of bristles. It's actually probably smart when it's balls cold out. Otherwise, I'm usually happy with a brillo pad or cork.

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  18. #18
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    For graphite, since you guys asked:
    Tognar recommends rubbing on One Ball graphite stuff before waxing as normal. Use occasionally and don't use too much, because it's gritty. You can also rub it with a cork. I don't think it does anything but make me feel good since I'm then ironing normal wax in on top of that.

    The Pearl stuff I have doesn't seem to leave as dark a streak, which makes me assume it has less graphite in it than the OBJ, which means I just melt a little in like normal wax.

    Again, the key is to just use a little when it's really cold or really warm. Just enough to discolor some of the non-black parts of the base.

    IDK exactly how much difference it makes. But I use it. You use so little of it, it lasts.
    No longer stuck.

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

  19. #19
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    Hot Sauce for me. I seemed faster today, I dunno.

  20. #20
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    It all went to hell when they went full metric on the packaging and instructions. metric system temp ratings
    Go that way really REALLY fast. If something gets in your way, TURN!

  21. #21
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    You always want to err on the side of too cold a wax instead of too warm. Colder snow has stronger and sharper crystals that can more easily embed themselves in the wax, which you donít want. Colder temp wax is harder, preventing the snow crystals from embedding. Harder waxes by nature have higher melting temperatures, and are in general going to be more durable - but again, cold snow if very abrasive, so even waxed with the proper temp wax, it may not last more than a day or two, but certainly more than three runs.

    Structure isnít as important in cold temps, since itís mostly about helping move water, but not a lot of water to move at -20c. A very fine linear structure would likely be best.

    Universal waxes are generally going to suck at -20, even if they say theyíll work down that cold. There are some Ďuniversal coldí waxes, like Swix F4 cold which would likely be better, but I havenít used them, so canít say how theyíd perform.

    If you are getting base burn near the edges, you can use something like Swix Polar Powder in those areas for additional protection. Itís a super hard abrasion resistant wax, in powder form because it would be to hard to spread around if dripped on.

  22. #22
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    Have done way too much waxing over the years, and have a few thoughts.

    First, I would almost always go with whatever Swix/Toko and those types of guys tell you. They spend a lot of money doing work to figure out everything about waxing effectively. There are a lot of videos, especially from Swix over the past year, that walk you through waxing (and other ski tuning) step by step.

    Personally, I haven't used a universal wax for years (decades, maybe). As long as you haven't missed the wax too badly on the warm side my feeling is that the temperature specific waxes are rarely noticeably worse than a universal, so why use a wax that you know will be worse than if you get the temperature right/close? And if you know it's going to be really cold, for example, putting on the extreme cold wax can really help. Waxing is the quickest/easiest task in ski tuning...ten minutes can really lead to a big change in performance.

    Brush before applying wax (after doing a quick clean of your bases, if necessary). There is no way a decent wax job should only have a noticeable effect for a few runs. A few days is fine for most purposes--depending on the snow I would say 3-5 days for most skiers is a reasonable amount of time.

    Forget about 'crayoning' on wax. Wax is the cheapest thing in skiing, especially if you order in bulk (I'm assuming we're not talking about using expensive race wax, or fluoro wax/overlays (which are now banned anyway)). I've never actually done the math, but I'd guess that from a shop bar even putting way too much wax on (melt it from your iron and drip it liberally on your bases instead of crayoning) you're using $.50 of wax, so for every three days of skiing you're spending $.16 on wax.

    I used to put way too much heat into my skis (I'd wax below the recommended temp but wax for a long time--I figured it was kind of like hot-boxing the skis), but for some reason I never considered that this was probably bad for the materials inside the ski (apparently it is, although I can't say I ever saw evidence of this). So now I follow what the manufacturers say (130 C for Swix pink, for example) and do about three passes, probably spending less than five minutes per ski. I still check at tails and shovels to see that I'm feeling the heat, but I don't spend any more time than that.

    When you first get new skis you should wax and hot scrape several times--I know that there are some race programs where they make sure the kids do 10-12 hot scrapes on a new pair of skis before they ever see snow. And a hot scrape is a good way to clean a base, every ski should probably have a few hot scrapes every season, IMO.
    [quote][//quote]

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Rutecki View Post
    When you first get new skis you should wax and hot scrape several times--I know that there are some race programs where they make sure the kids do 10-12 hot scrapes on a new pair of skis before they ever see snow. And a hot scrape is a good way to clean a base, every ski should probably have a few hot scrapes every season, IMO.
    I think hot scraping is a point of contention these days. My understanding is that there are WC techs that will still do it, whereas others will exclusively use something like Swix Glide Wax Cleaner or Toko Racing Waxremover exclusively. I think the concern is that hot scraping can damage the stoneground base structure. You donít have to hot scrape new skis to get the wax in. Can apply a soft wax and iron it in, wait to cool, re-iron the same wax, cool, repeat multiple times. Scrape when cool. Repeat the process again if you want.

    For the past few years Iíve been using Swix F4 almost exclusively, even though I have a drawer full of temp specific waxes, including some LF race waxes. Works great pretty much every day in Tahoe. Same couldnít be said when I skied in Quebec.

  24. #24
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    Hope this isn't thread drift... what are you doing to wax in 10 minutes. I was taught by a local shop tech to get as much wax off as possible, so I try to scrape everything off then go through with a brush. It takes me at least 45 minutes for a set of skis. I use a file to sharpen my plastic scraper, hope it is doing something. Am I doing something wrong?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. Barron DeJong View Post
    You always want to err on the side of too cold a wax instead of too warm. Colder snow has stronger and sharper crystals that can more easily embed themselves in the wax, which you don’t want. Colder temp wax is harder, preventing the snow crystals from embedding. Harder waxes by nature have higher melting temperatures, and are in general going to be more durable - but again, cold snow if very abrasive, so even waxed with the proper temp wax, it may not last more than a day or two, but certainly more than three runs.

    Structure isn’t as important in cold temps, since it’s mostly about helping move water, but not a lot of water to move at -20c. A very fine linear structure would likely be best.

    Universal waxes are generally going to suck at -20, even if they say they’ll work down that cold. There are some ‘universal cold’ waxes, like Swix F4 cold which would likely be better, but I haven’t used them, so can’t say how they’d perform.

    If you are getting base burn near the edges, you can use something like Swix Polar Powder in those areas for additional protection. It’s a super hard abrasion resistant wax, in powder form because it would be to hard to spread around if dripped on.
    Thank you for posting useful/non-anecdotal information. I'll reiterate and elaborate because we all like to hear it from more than one source before we pay attention:

    Arild, as has been said, your wax is too warm, and thereby too soft, for the conditions you're skiing.

    Typically it's best to err on the side of too cold, particularly with new/dry/manmade snow. New snow crystals have longer and more defined dendrites, which can create drag on the gliding surface if the wax is too soft, the structure too aggressive, or if scraping and brushing is incomplete or inadequate. New snow temp recommendations are always colder than old snow (>3 days old) because the numbers are based on on-piste snow conditions; typically after 3 days the snow has been groomed or had enough skier compaction that the crystals are more faceted and less grabby. If you ski in an area that has regular new, dry snowfall, or high wind exposure (like a high alpine environment) then you will likely want to stick with a colder wax and fine to nominal structure throughout the year. If you live somewhere wet and warm, then a warmer (on-temp) wax and more aggressive structure will help mitigate suction from the water present in the snow.

    Base structure is designed to control water moving under the base of the ski. A ski will glide fastest if a very thin layer of water acts as a lubricant between the base of the ski and the snow surface. Too little water, and the snow can be abrasive and slow. Too much water and the ski will have too much suction and again be slow. A fine linear pattern (long, straight, shallow lines down the length of the ski) will help keep water under the base to allow for optimal glide in dry, cold conditions. A more aggressive broken linear or crosshatch pattern will direct excess water out from under the ski to prevent suction in wet snow conditions. Once the snow is completely saturated with water, your structure can matter more than your wax, because mitigating that excess water trumps the functionality of your wax hardness.

    Graphite/moly waxes are designed to negate static friction from the synthetic ski base gliding over dry snow. It can also be useful for mitigating contaminants in the snow, like dirt and pollen. If it's windy, dry and cold where you ski, or your weather pattern comes from LA and through the desert like where I ski (carrying all sorts of contaminants with it), crayoning on a small amount of graphite is a good idea. Regardless, you can add some graphite in to your regular wax regimen if you have one. I regularly hot scrape with graphite as well because it helps with static, and hot scraping it can help remove some of the less-refined grit from the moly/graphite in the mix. When I'm doing race prep, graphite goes on first, then prep for temp, then overlays for acceleration.

    How long wax lasts depends on snow conditions, how you ski, how often you ski, where and how you store your equipment, and most importantly, how often you wax. Even a hotbox won't completely saturate a base with wax, and neither will Phantom, despite their claims. Skis require regular maintenance, the act of skiing strips wax out of the base, and wax builds on itself. If you let your skis go dry between waxing, they will dry out faster because there's less wax in the base. If you wax regularly, the specific temp range matters less (in normal conditions) and your wax will glide better longer because there's more to draw from. If the snow conditions change dramatically, your skis will likely be slow. If you leave your skis in a rocket box all week, cooking in the sun in Denver, then they're likely not going to perform as well when you drive your ass up to Vail to shred 5" of fluff with 10,000 of your closest friends. If you have your skis ground, they'll be thirsty, so plan on waxing a few times to get them back up to speed.

    A lot of rub-ons contain solvents that can dry out your base as they evaporate. They're not meant to be used regularly, just as a crutch till you can actually wax your skis. Fast Stik was mentioned earlier, and it doesn't use solvents, but it also doesn't condition your base, so your grind can start to fall apart due to excessive wear if you're not hot waxing as well. Phantom is the same story: it works great in most conditions, but it doesn't protect and condition your base as well as regular waxing, so you have to grind more often (and I'm talking touch-up work: just finish passes, not full on rips) to maintain best glide with it. Sintered ski bases are porous so that wax can absorb in to the base; if there's no wax in there, other stuff will fill in, and almost none of it is going to be fast.

    Stucky, "brushing up" a structure is best reserved for cheating a grind when your structure starts to wear out or fade, and needs to be followed up by a couple wax cycles and some scotchbrite before brushing to settle the micro hairs down. Definitely not necessary for each waxing.

    Shorty J: you're ironing too much. Even when hot scraping, there should be a trail of wet wax behind your iron for a few inches, no more. Overheating the base can cause a lot of problems, and 130C is plenty hot enough to bubble a base or fuse it. You can definitely re-iron wax though; just let it cool down enough that the wax isn't hot to the touch (like you could hold it to the side of your face comfortably) and iron it again. Once wax cools down to room temperature, the molecular structure is almost entirely set, so the performance isn't going to change by leaving it overnight. Harder waxes can take a little longer, but generally by the time your ski has cooled off completely, the wax isn't going to change enough to notice any difference in performance.

    And SumJongGuy: Seriously? The metric system? Clearly the entirety of humanity, save the USA, utilizing a scientific measurement system that isn't based on subjective experience is the downfall of us all. God help us.

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