Backcountry Agenda

Out Of Bounds => Gear Talk => Topic started by: surf88 on November 02, 2009, 06:48:37 PM



Title: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: surf88 on November 02, 2009, 06:48:37 PM
This thread is named after a thread from last seson which ended with these words
http://www.techsourceconsultants.com/smf/index.php?topic=1864.msg15902#msg15902 (http://www.techsourceconsultants.com/smf/index.php?topic=1864.msg15902#msg15902)
And I figure Danishstock is the one to ask.

Last winter we talked a little about kick wax, but I still came out of the discussion not knowing what I should use for light touring, so that I dont have to use skins when I go yard poaching on my tele set up.
What should I get?  What works for what temps, and how do I apply it? Do I need to remove it before putting my skins on?  Will it screw up the glue on my skins if I dont?


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: atruss on November 02, 2009, 08:03:00 PM
Surf

I didn't remove it when we were at Katahdin.

We had wax that mirrored the snow temp, or (ambient temp) of that day, I think we used 20F wax most of the time.

We rubbed it on just like using a crayon, and used a cork applicator to smooth the wax around, and we were good to go.

Basiclly the snow crystals are harder than the wax, and they bit into it, and provide traction, if you get the temp wrong then you wont have as much and the wax will rub off.

On the inital down hill you have to kick, stomp to get moving so knock the balled snow off the base of the boards but after that its smooth sailing.

I really loved the wax set up, i dreaded putting on full carpet after that, they felt like lead weights, really.



Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: danishstock on November 02, 2009, 08:32:07 PM
Thank you for the first post ever with my name in the subject.  Your waxing questions need not be vexing.  Most of what I know I learned from "Dave's Nordic BC Page": http://home.comcast.net/~pinnah/DirtbagPinner/dirtbag.html (http://home.comcast.net/~pinnah/DirtbagPinner/dirtbag.html)


His waxing page is here: http://home.comcast.net/~pinnah/DirtbagPinner/wax.html (http://home.comcast.net/~pinnah/DirtbagPinner/wax.html)

After you read that over, the following will make more sense. 

What should I get?  I go through more Swix Special Violet than any other.  For southern NH, it fits most of the conditions I see.  On warmer days I mess around with Swix Red.  Here are pics of  my wax kit: http://picasaweb.google.com/danishstock/KickWaxKit?feat=directlink (http://picasaweb.google.com/danishstock/KickWaxKit?feat=directlink)

What works for what temps, and how do I apply it?  Dave's site answers that.  Then just try stuff.

Do I need to remove it before putting my skins on?  Not really, but you should remove skins before applying kick wax (this was just to make sure ya'll are paying attention!).  I've had no trouble with wax transferring to skins.  It is helpful to cork out the wax to smear out any gobs of wax.  I imagine loose gobs would go with the skin.

Will it screw up the glue on my skins if I dont?  Nope.  You can use mild heat and a rag to melt and "wick" the wax off the skin.  The challenge would be finding the temp between where the wax melts and the skin glue softens.

In any case, none of your gear will get ruined form any of this.  Skins can be reglued and wax comes off of skis with paint thinner and paper towels.  After paint thinner treatment, however, you are looking at dry ski in need of a fresh coat of ironed on glide wax.

Now where's that snow???


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: surf88 on November 03, 2009, 08:40:58 AM


What should I get?  I go through more Swix Special Violet than any other.  For southern NH, it fits most of the conditions I see.  On warmer days I mess around with Swix Red.  Here are pics of  my wax kit: http://picasaweb.google.com/danishstock/KickWaxKit?feat=directlink (http://picasaweb.google.com/danishstock/KickWaxKit?feat=directlink)

[
Thanks.  That was the million dollar question, especially since we are both in SoNH.  I'll start there.  Did you use kick wax for your powder harvesting photo you posted last winter?  Thanks again for the education.


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: danishstock on November 03, 2009, 09:19:06 AM
  Did you use kick wax for your powder harvesting photo you posted last winter? 

Yes.  I couldn't climb straight up, but the little added distance for switchbacks is a small trade for continuous movement!


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: stuckinjersey on November 03, 2009, 12:28:59 PM
http://www.rei.com/product/690955 (http://www.rei.com/product/690955)   Check this out, not the wax color you are looking for but a nice starter kit with all the fixens. Maybe
a good option for the CT boys whom don't have the same conditions as you lucky NHers have!!!! I hate your snow totals  :-\   Only cause I
don't live there.


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: surf88 on November 03, 2009, 08:16:05 PM
Whats the story with Klister? Why is it evil?


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: danishstock on November 04, 2009, 12:43:01 PM
Whats the story with Klister? Why is it evil?

Klister is a funky goo with cool properties.  To apply it, you have to heat the tube in a cup of boiling hot water.  The heat softens the klister to a maple syrup consistency.  You lay out two thin beads along the length of the kick zone and before it cools and hardens, you have to ever-so-gently drag a scraper over the beads to smooth them out.  You are shooting for a layer thickness of 1 mm or less (about the thickness of cereal box material).  Of course, you only get one shot to the the drag because as soon as it smooths out, the ski draws out the heat and the klister hardens.  You can reheat with a heat gun, or propane torch of you are the daring sort, but the results won't be as clean and smooth.  When you get the hang of it, the result looks like a layer of glass.  (I've got to make a video of the process this year)

Once the stuff is on, it works great for the conditions it's designed for: granular snow with or without moisture.  Those grains are rounded off and lack the sharp edges required to "bite" kick wax.  Klister is thicker and will more deeply engage granular snow, enough to achieve reasonable grip.  There is very little sacrifice in glide because klister seems to be a little dilatant (resists flow the more a force is applied).  So an easy downwards force allows the klister time to engage the snow, but sliding fast along does not.

In addition, you can apply kick waxes right on top of the klister.  If you know the day will start out cold with new snow, but will heat up and convert it to corn in the afternoon, you can layer the waxes appropriately knowing wax will wear off as you ski.   

The other downside is removal of the stuff. It requires heating and an initial scrape with a scrap of wood you are willing to toss after.  Then several repetitions of ironing on brown paper.  That wicks up the klister, but never all of it.  And by the way, the iron you use will forever be a dedicated klister iron.  Finally, paint thinner and elbow grease removes the last of it and you are ready to build up a wax base from scratch. 

So don't get me wrong, it's great stuff.  I have never experienced the horror stories I've read about of those who wind up with the stuff everywhere including in their hair.  It works extremely well on our wet spring corn.  I just deal with the mess by limiting it to a dedicated, beater pair of skis.

This got too long, sorry about that.


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: surf88 on November 10, 2009, 09:45:37 PM
Thanks.  I am ready to go now!


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: Tommy T on November 11, 2009, 10:38:22 AM

The other downside is removal of the stuff. It requires heating and an initial scrape with a scrap of wood you are willing to toss after.  Then several repetitions of ironing on brown paper.  That wicks up the klister, but never all of it.  And by the way, the iron you use will forever be a dedicated klister iron.  Finally, paint thinner and elbow grease removes the last of it and you are ready to build up a wax base from scratch. 


When I was racing in New England, we usually used klister only in the Spring.  Then you can leave it one until the following November at which time it can be chipped off with a sharp chisel and no goo to speak of.  Gasoline --   :o  -- (use this only in the basement where it won't stink up the parlor) is the quick, easy way to finish the job.  Then you are ready to burn in a new coat of grundvalla with a torch for the new season.



Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: surf88 on January 21, 2011, 02:03:16 PM
So I've been using the kick wax and really liking it for low angle meadow skipping.  So far I only have waxxed about an area extending about 8 inches past my toes and heels directly under foot.  In wind buff where under foot I sink in, but my tails and tips float, I've found that this is no good.  If I kick wax the whole base will that slow me down too much for low angle touring?  How much of the base do you wax?


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: stuckinjersey on January 21, 2011, 02:46:13 PM
I will let Eric pour his knowledge into this thread but I will tell u what I have learned and used. Swix Kick Wax tour pak. Comes with cork for smoothing the wax a scrapper for removal and 3 kinds of kick wax. Basically the colors match with snow conditions so one color will be for a certain style snow (new or old) and then the temperature. You just rub the wax right on but try to just do the area where your foot sits and not the whole ski. I use mine all the time and it works great. Eric got me hooked and then I used it again when I rented that guide in the daks, he as well swore by it. Skins rock at what they do but for rolling terrain nothing is better than some kick wax. Hope this helps


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: surf88 on January 21, 2011, 06:50:53 PM
Yeah I have the tour pack, but its seems the violet pretty much works good enough at every temp I've tried so far.  I have been only waxing the kick zone, but the places I like to go get alot of wind, so what happens is the kick zone is breaking through the wind slab, but the ends of the ski are not, thus the tips and tails where there is no wax become the primary interface with the snow so I'm loosing my traction.


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: Tommy T on January 21, 2011, 07:15:18 PM
Yeah I have the tour pack, but its seems the violet pretty much works good enough at every temp I've tried so far.  I have been only waxing the kick zone, but the places I like to go get alot of wind, so what happens is the kick zone is breaking through the wind slab, but the ends of the ski are not, thus the tips and tails where there is no wax become the primary interface with the snow so I'm loosing my traction.

There is a reason why X-country ski racing and most X-country touring is done on a pre-packed track.  In back country conditions, use back country skis -- wider so you don't break through and waxless so you don't have to use klister on the ends for the ice and kick under foot for the powder --  if you still break through, use your tele or AT set-up with skins -- if you still break through, it's snow shoe time.

Skis are produced with waist widths from 40mm to 120mm and you have found one of the reasons why.

Of course, no ski or skin will climb or kick with authority in loose powder snow.  The wax or skin can grip the top mm of powder just fine and that top mm slips on the stuff under it and you don't move.

If using skis in deep snow or, especially, in breaking crust were easy, ski lifts would never have been invented and the $104 ticket would not even be a ski area owner's dream.

Tommy T.


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: stuckinjersey on January 21, 2011, 08:16:25 PM
Surf, im a bone head. I saw an update read the first post and replied. Haha Sorry about that I was on Mars but im back now and I got tshirts for everyone!


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: surf88 on January 21, 2011, 08:52:37 PM
Maybe I'm not being clear, what I'm asking.  I just want to know if anyone has tried just kick waxing, a larger area or possibly the whole base of the ski for conditions like this, and if that will slow me down too much? The skis are plenty wide 123 / 88/ 112mm and no I dont want to ride ski lifts, I still prefer my own power.


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: Tommy T on January 21, 2011, 09:28:06 PM
Maybe I'm not being clear, what I'm asking.  I just want to know if anyone has tried just kick waxing, a larger area or possibly the whole base of the ski for conditions like this, and if that will slow me down too much? The skis are plenty wide 123 / 88/ 112mm and no I dont want to ride ski lifts, I still prefer my own power.

Yes.  The old practice was to wax the entire ski length with kick wax.  I waxed full length from my start in 1969 until around '75, give or take a year, when I started using composite skis.  It was very important to have the wax of the day correct, otherwise iceing up was a problem. 

Racers were the first to shorten the kick wax length in order to reduce friction and improve glide.  As composite skis replaced all-wood skis, camber and flex patterns became more controllable and the best racing skis had high camber under foot but flexibility matched to the racer's weight, so a stickier kick wax could be used for a short length without having any kick wax touching the snow during the glide phase but a good solid gripping wax could be used when all the body weight was applied to get a lot of speed from the kick.

In my experience, waxing full length will not address the problem of a breakable crust.  When you are in the position of tip and tail up on the ice and foot down in the powder you want maximum grip at the foot and maximum slide at the tip so you can push on one foot, using body weight and inertia to plant that ski, to slide the other ski forward.  The unweighted ski you want to glide on its tip and tail as easily as possible.  It seems to me that the lost effeciency of having grip wax on the gliding portion of the ski (tip and tale) that you want to slip forward will outweigh any advantage conferred by extra grip on the ski that you want to have as a stationary kicking platform.  (God! That thought is not well stated, but maybe you can see what I mean.)

Also in my experience, there just isn't any good solution to breakable crust.  You either have to get more square inches on the surface to reduce the loading or you have to stomp deliberately through the crust, snowshoe style, without any glide.

Basically, I think that on a day with breakable crust it's just good to stay home and work on your flexibility.

Tommy T.

Note that I am talking about kick and glide.  Skis can also be used as long, skinny snow shoes without any glide phase -- in open terrain, glacier or tundra, for example,  that use can be quite efficient, compared to a pair of too wide bear paw snow shoes.  And, in a prepared track, skiers with a good skate technique will use no kick wax at all but will push of an edged ski.  (I think that it is impossible to skate in a breaking crust and it is very inefficient in any snow with a depth of ove an inch or two.)


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: surf88 on January 21, 2011, 11:37:43 PM
Thanks,  good info. The layer I was breaking through wasnt an ice crust layer, but a wind slab layer with lower density powder underneath.  Once I set my skin track, follow up climbs were a breeze.  It was just on the initial climb when my tips were riding up on the crusty layer before my weight and kick zone would get traction, and it would make me loose traction. 

Quote
And, in a prepared track, skiers with a good skate technique will use no kick wax at all but will push of an edged ski.
Really? thats amazing.  I suck at skating on skis and heron boning when having to do flats and little climbs


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: Tommy T on January 22, 2011, 10:06:59 AM
Quote
And, in a prepared track, skiers with a good skate technique will use no kick wax at all but will push of an edged ski.
Really? thats amazing.  I suck at skating on skis and heron boning when having to do flats and little climbs

Well, that's a totally different thing.  A racing skate ski event is held on a firm, rolled track with no groove.  The skate ski has a completely different flex pattern than a kick and glide ski and that, in turn is different from a AT or tele ski.  The skate ski boot is like a light flexible high-top basketball shoe and the final push is a push off the toes that comes from straightening the ankle.  A skate skier will use polls that are head high for lots of push power delivered by the abdomen as well as the arms. The equipment weight is quoted in ounces, not pounds.  The technique has as more in common with ice skating in a straight line than it does with snow skiing.

Skating became de rigour with the citizen racers just before I got out of the sport and I never became very good at it, but I can tell you that skating up a hill is tiring beyond anything I've done.   You have to keep momentum up or you slide back down along the edged ski that you are supposed to be pushing off of -- no rest, no break when skating uphill with nothing but glide wax.

Tommy T.


Title: Re: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??
Post by: danishstock on January 27, 2011, 06:18:46 PM
Surf,
I just found this resurfaced thread.  Sorry I didn't chime in sooner.  Tommy T covered it well and I will confirm the tip to tail method. 

For snow crystals to engage (grip) the wax, they must be "pressed" in to the wax at an angle perpendicular to the waxed surface.  Like you discovered, a hole under your waxed zone (when the tip and tail support the ski) prevent that pressure.  In those cases, wax tip to tail.

I usually put a layer or two of green (cold temp) tip to tail at the beginning of the season.  Then I put the wax of the day over that but only on the smallest area necessary to get good grip.  Sometimes that means full coverage.  There is some sacrifice in glide, and each of us must decide when that extra friction slowing the down is worth switching to kickers or full skins for the up.

I have found that walking technique can have a big impact on grip.  A sharp move straight down on the ski before stepping forward (pushing backwards) can help compress loose snow and get the crystals to stick in that wax.  You can also smooth down loose snow by sliding each ski forward on the snow instead of lifting.  So the rhythm feels like: left foot slide forward-stick down...right foot slide forward-stick down.  Pussy-footing around leads to slip, confident stick leads to grip.

Have fun!