News from the tracks – Racing and Testing

Corey Stock in third place at the Bozeman Supertour classic sprint.

The snow season is off to a stuttering but optimistic start, and we’re getting some information back on waxes and grinds. Our first note comes from Justin Beckwith (GMVS coach) who was helping Corey Stock (CSU & Dartmouth) with wax at the Bozeman Super Tours where Corey was third in the classic sprint, and earned a start in the upcoming Canadian World Cup Sprints. We like this one because he made good skis on some Vauhti klister that I talked him into buying, and Corey’s L4-2 was wicked quick. The following notes are excerpted from an email from Justin:

Pretty minimal snow following us around and relatively new, un-worked snow at Bohart.  The temps have been quite warm too.

I started kick wax testing on Friday (am and pm) — trying out a few new ones from Zach, specifically a mix of (Vauhti) uni and violet and then a straight uni against my favorites. Good old 39 which seems tough to beat — wasn’t super. My theory is that the clear klisters were working better in the new clean snow, even though it was wet.  The Uni was pretty much awesome from the get go. I added in drops of red and yellow to see where we could go if it got even warmer — never really into the Rex additives — much like the red they were a little too soft and you could feel grab.  I bet it was near 50 in the sun when it was out, but wind and hovering clouds kept the snow cooler than the temps said.  I think a lot of folks were on some mixture of Rossa, Multigrade and/or K21.

Talk about awesome weather to apply klister though!  The wax is plenty warm after being inside at night to apply with no heat the next day. For me trying to make the wax as smooth as possible without getting it oozy, and then get it cold and hard, is the goal.  Most people were testing glide, even base coats while I was smoothing the klister.  We definitely had good skis for the sprint partially because of this — I simply cleaned and smoothed the wax between rounds and juiced the tips and tails. Still love the old swix liquid when its wet and it was what I had.

We tested her klister skis compared to her red skis the day before with the race wax.  I think either would have worked but her L4-2 (Note from Zach had a nice linear pattern that was similar to what I was putting into the other skis.  I did add a touch of structure but the skis were dynamite anyways. I hand corked the uni. One nice even layer. She tested the skis and liked them from the first test.

Easy to wax for great skiers! Thanks for that, and I have a new wax for the box now — maybe Zach can send me some more:)  I have a feeling when we get back to the man made some of our other favorites will be strong again too, but I know which wax I would use in these conditions again.  Like the snow thunder day at Trapps, transformed graupelish snow or new snow with rain.

This photo of the Bates van is the only picture I got from our two trips to Craftsbury. I’ll do better in the future.

Our other notes are from our own testing. We’ve had two days on snow at the Craftsbury outdoor center, and we’ve focused mostly on the Vauhti stuff that we’re importing. Vauhti has a relatively new line of fluoro powders, blocks and liquids in the past couple of years. They’ve been testing well, and this year’s testing has reinforced our appreciation for the line.

Test day 1 was about 50 degrees F with a 1km loop of manmade snow. All testing by feeling, with three test pilots comparing notes. Test day 2 was in the 20s with a mix of natural and manmade snow.

hfC15 (the “mid” powder) has been reformulated, and the new version has been slightly better than the old version in both our tests. This is great because the old version was really good last year. The Vauhti folks tell us that the new version is better in new snow – so far we’ve only had it on manmade, so we’ll see.

There is a new line of hfC liquids this year, and on our first testing day the hfC9 (wet) and hfC15 liquids and powders were our top four products out of a total of 14 that we put on the snow. We’re particularly excited about the liquids – they appeared to have great durability, and that familiar “glassy” feeling of a good liquid. Vauhti has really needed this! The Black liquid was awesome last year in its range (colder old or manmade snow), but the other liquids from Vauhti haven’t been consistent winners.

In our second day of testing it was really hard to pull apart results – Amy said that she could have skied any two skis and believed that they were waxed the same. Blackfox appeared to be the best of the Vauhti powders, and was really close with a handful of other good waxes, including FC8X and Start n7. But it was not a slam-dunk test.

We DID have a great kick wax test on day 2, and confirmed our feelings that basewax is critically important anytime you’re looking at older granular snow or mixed snow conditions. It was clearly drywax snow, but we had totally different feelings with four test skis waxed with K15 over different basewaxes. Basewax AT (a traditional hardwax binder) did not provide enough kick. The Superbase was better, but still a little lean. K-base was great kick, and different feeling altogether. It didn’t feel slower, but it surely felt different, with really positive “hook-up” on the kick. I also made a klister/hardwax mix that I have used in the past with good success, and that one was too slow. I might have expected the Superbase to be better if I had to call it from the parking lot, so it was good to get the stuff on the snow and be reminded that testing is important.

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