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Author Topic: Eric's Kick Wax wisdom. ??  (Read 5321 times)
surf88
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« Reply #15 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.
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« Reply #16 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.)
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« Reply #17 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. 

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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
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« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2011, 10:06:59 AM »

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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.
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« Reply #19 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!

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