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there do seem to be a lot of older people doing XC skiing! It is easier on the joints, sort of like land swimming. More people are snowshoeing today, but I've seen some reassuring stuff too - the XC ski areas in Massachusetts were packed last year when I went a couple times. We need to get these people away from the ski area and into the "backcountry". That's part of the problem with wimpy track-skiing XC gear.
Well... Actually I'm fine with people staying at resorts and Nordic centers with wimpy track gear... it's more for us!
Snowshoes... bleh. I wouldn't mind it so much if snowshoers didn't walk in ski tracks, but I'm not crazy about skiing in the snowshoe rut. Honestly for winter mountaineering I would never go back to snowshoes for approaching mountains. Way too slow and rough on the legs. I'd ski as much as I could and then switch. I wish this happened more but people love their clomping.
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I'll put in a good word for this stuff on wax less skis.
I have a crapload of skis both waxable and wax less and ski both of them in a lot of different conditions. When I really care what I'm doing and it's below freezing I grab the waxable skis. I have loads of Swix tins and find that waxing is not too tough to hit the right one. A big key is to wax a kick box that is larger than what you see as the scale box on no wax skis. WIth the right kick wax, it won't grab too much on the glide but will hold when you weight it. You can always put the warmer wax in a smaller pocket on top of the colder one. I love the quiet glide of waxable skis and find them to be faster than no wax skis when waxed right.
All that said, I often just grab the no-wax skis for convenience of getting out and take along the tin of MAXXX stuff. I also have Swix F4 (I think that's the stuff) which is a glide paste. The MAXXXX stuff is way way way more slick. I usually find that one application lasts for about 4 miles or more of skiing and if I reapply is really a matter of if we happen to stop. I think this stuff would be your best defense against icing - not certain of that, but it's just my guess based on how hydrophobic the stuff is. I also try to carry a scraper with me in case of icing. They're cheap but really shine if you need to de-ice the skis.
I've been meaning to put a base structure and then base wax into the no wax skis that I've been skiing a lot. That would improve them even more, but they are nice enough to manage as is right now. I hard wax my downhill tele skis myself all the time. It's not hard at all - just need a brick of base wax (I use the green as it's generally cold most of the time) and an old iron and a place to get dirty from the scraping.
Yup - I use the Maxiglide stuff on the scales. Actually I rub it on the whole ski, especially if it gets iced. Depends on the conditions and how abrasive the snow is, but I find I usually have to reapply. It doesn't work as well when you put it on cold as it does if you put it on at room temp and let it sit, so subsequent applications last less.
It's weird stuff. I find that right after you put it on the ski it is really slow, and then after a few minutes (as it builds up some heat? Or maybe gets to the right film thickness?) it gets really slidey... then it kind of tapers off gradually.
I've been waxing my skis with the universal hydrocarbon hard wax. As far as I can tell by the melting temps it's similar to a colder wax - maybe 10-20°F.
I don't have the patience or the madness to hot wax for different temps. Based on my limited knowledge though if I had a pair or wax skis I'd wax them maybe a little colder. I'm not sure if it's the scales or the glide wax but I find my skis get really slow the closer I get to 0°F. The closer they get to 32°F, the faster they seem to be.
I'd guess this would be the glide wax because I don't see any reason the scales would be contributing, but it would be nice to have a set ready for really cold conditions that would slide nice.
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Cold snow is more abrasive and has a higher CoF, so it is slower even if you don't wear off the wax, which it will do faster than at higher temperatures. There is nothing wrong with using a universal wax, but you may need to use more often if you ski much in less than 10F temperatures.
I have experienced icing when skiing in the Eastern US, and I don't remember if the liquid wax makes any difference compared to paste wax. There was at least one time when it was about 37 deg. and humid, and I was essentially hiking on my skis. My thinking about the liquid wax (Swix F4 or Maxiglide liquid) is that you would be able to spread it more evenly on the fish scales. The wax is in alcohol solution. From what you are saying, you aren't getting the Maxiglide paste spread very well, and are relying on skiing to distribute it.
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>>>Well... Actually I'm fine with people staying at resorts and Nordic centers with wimpy track gear... it's more for us!
Mike - I suppose you're right about that, but I do like too see the type-A nordic skiing types get out there at 6AM after storm to track it out for me!
I like MaxiGlide because it doesn't have the nasty chemicals, I think F4 is flourinated. Maxiglide is weird though, I applied it over hard glide wax and it transformed into a sticky substance that killed my glide, it doesn't seem to work on top of glide wax. it's perfect for bases that can't absorb hot-wax
"All wisdom is to be gained through suffering"
-Will Lange (quoting Inuit chieftan)
Second, and we've gotten into this before, the reason wax isn't easy to find in the US is mostly because we're struggling in terms of competition with alpine skiing and easy-peasey snowshoeing combined with our unfortunate cultural attribute of impatience. We want results and thrills and we want them NNOOOWWW. No time to learn fussy waxing technique!
Sagan nailed it:
Hey I know we've beat this to death but it does seem it may have been a bit of a wax issue. This is the ski that was icing bad, and it happened to be doing so right in the grey areas:
Here is the other on for comparison, not nearly as bad on the scales and no grey area on the glide zone:
I mentioned I had just waxed these but it looks like I didn't get good penetration in that area that turned grey, the wax scuffed right off. Still not sure what to do about those scales, I think they are going to be problematic still.
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SO. One thing and then two things you can do here.
First, even the glide section needs wax, evident by the dryness. A good hot wax is in order. I find waxing to be therapeutic and meditative and it connects me with my skis.
First option is to soak the scales with maxi glide. Let sit a few days. Buff. Repeat. (As an aside to an earlier comment, I find maxi glide when applied before skiing on very cold, windpacked snow to be terrible, and scales in general to be slow in these conditions).
Second option, gently hot wax the scale section and using a stiff brush, knock out the wax as it sets up from the scales. Go over later with a smaller tool to really reopen the scales. Painstaking work.
But yes, you need wax. Maybe more regular application of maxi glide in the future.
I had just hot waxed these skis before we left. I'm going to redo that one ski though... didn't penetrate that one area.
I often wax them and let them sit with maxi glide. These has sat a couple days with maxi on the scales before I used them. Not sure why the one ski didn't penetrate, maybe dirt?
I think I'm going to strip that ski with cleaner, hot wax it and then do a couple applications of maxi paste.
If that doesn't work I'll consider hot waxing the scales... not crazy about that though.
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Yeah those bases look oxidized and “waxless”…you may find you may need repeated treatments to get good penetration and “hold”- and those extruded bases need to be hot-waxed relatively frequently.
Why would you clean them? Are there sections of the base where the wax is holding? I wouldn’t strip that. With my backcountry skis I never clean the bases- I just continuously add new wax, melt it into what remains, and then scrape, and polish.
With a new extruded base I find the wax absorption to be patchy to begin with- after each application of hot wax those patches of good absorption keep getting larger until I find the entire tip/tail holds wax “well” (at least well for an extruded base).
The traction scale section is tricky…Woodserson’s advice is sound. To date I have only used liquid glide wax on the scales- I I have yet to find them as oxidized as your photo…
As tedious as it is- I think I would go as far as hot waxing them in that poor condition. I don’t know what your other options are…maybe you should start another thread specific to treating the traction scales.
Cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry.
Unashamed to be a "cross-country type" and love skiing down-hill.