Wax Testing Results from Government Peak

MundahlFoxErik Mundahl is back at it. There is snow on the ground in AK, so he’s testing wax. No – there are no races scheduled anytime soon. Erik isn’t testing wax for a specific race, he’s testing wax because we ask him to test wax. And why do we ask him to test wax? Well, it’s kind of like a public service for the good people of the greater Anchorage area. If Erik isn’t out testing wax, then he’s probably out in his fox costume. He finds that agreeable people pet him in agreeable ways when he’s dressed up like a fox.

That might have been unfair. The picture is actually from Halloween, and the fox costume was fairly inspired. Erik gets into Halloween. No, the real reason we ask him to test wax is to contribute to our ever growing understanding of what waxes work, and when they work…       Not really. I mean, yes – the understanding part is good. But the real real reason we ask Erik to test wax, is that when Erik tests wax, we get to talk about wax, and when we talk about wax, you guys buy wax.

Really! That’s how it happens. It’s like clockwork. I write about Vauhti hfC15.1 liquid, and boom, we sell Vauhti hfC15.1 liquid. You’re probably already feeling it – thinking to yourself “oh, man, I think I might be getting low on Vauhti hfC15.1 liquid.” See? Imagine what it feels like from my point of view! The power! The influence! It’s like a drug, and it all depends on Mundahl getting out and testing wax.

So, to keep the greater Anchorage community safe from Mundahl’s costumes, and to keep him supplied with test wax, consider visiting our webstore, where you can find most of the products that Erik is testing. And many, many others as well. http://shop.caldwellsport.com/

The rest is from Erik:
MundahlTest1Palmer, Alaska – While early season rock skiing conditions prevail in Anchorage, a storm last Monday and Tuesday deposited one to two feet of snow in Hatcher Pass. Unfortunately, the storm largely missed Anchorage. Conditions at Independence Mine in Hatcher Pass, a prime early season training and testing ground for Alaskans, were rumored to be fantastic. However, at the base of Hatcher Pass, the two year-old Government Peak Recreation Area trail system also received plenty of snow, was groomed with full depth tracks and was receiving heavy skier traffic throughout the weekend from local club and university teams. With a chilling north wind and generally wind blow trails, the planned testing was relocated to the Government Peak Trail system.

MundahlTest3Mid-week coordination with Caldwell Sport determined that a top coat test would be a good way to ease into the season. Unfortunately, the weather chose not to ease in so gently and air temperatures throughout the testing hovered around 0°F. Heavy traffic and a week’s worth of grooming found semi-transformed snow. Conditions were found to be variable based on traffic and trail use.

Despite recorded air temperatures of -17°C and snow temperatures of -15°C, the snow did not behave as cold as would be expected. A total of 8 different top coats were tested by feel. Liquids, blocks, and hand-corked powders were all tested, including variations in application methods. All skis were based with Vauhti LF Green. One ski was left with LF Green for comparison due to extreme low temperatures. Semi-transformed snow resulted in liquids generally being superior to blocks or powder applications, though with some exceptions. Temperatures increased slightly during testing as the sun hit the trails. With the warming trend, the differences between liquids and other top coats became more apparent.

Results were as follows:

1-Vauhti hfC 15.1 Liquid (Not corked, cold applied)
2-Vauhti hfC 15.1 Liquid (hand corked)
3-Vauhti LDR Powder (hand corked, brushed), with Vauhti hfC 15.1 Liquid (not corked)
4-Vauhti LDR Powder (hand corked)
5-Star F40 Powder (hand corked)
6-Vauhti hfC 21.1 Liquid (hand corked)
7-Vauhti hfC 15.1 Block
8-Vauhti hfC 21.1 Block
9-Vauhti LF Green

(Note from Zach: We had really good luck with LDR powder hand-corked last year. This year we have it in block form, but Mundhal hasn’t got it yet. I’ll ship him some very soon, but our first shipment is almost gone, so we might need to wait until we get a resupply.)

The warmer liquids were surprisingly faster despite the cold temperatures. While some difference was evident between the Vauhti hfc 15.1 Liquid application methods, the uncorked version was not significantly faster. Due to cold feet (literally), durability was not tested on the two applications. It would be suspected that the uncorked application may wear more quickly and lose whatever competitive advantage in may have had.

The Star F40 powder is a new powder for this year. It was released on the world cup last season, but never saw use due to the extremely warm temperatures throughout the year in Europe. The powder was not conducive to hand corking and its application wasn’t particularly successful. Further testing will need to be done to see how it performs as an ironed powder.

A brief kick wax test was also conducted. The tracks were too inviting to pass up. While six different wax combinations were used, mostly the test was focused on dialing in a new classic test fleet and ascertaining kick pockets and appropriate wax layer thickness.

MundahlTest2All skis were prepared with Vauhti Super Base, ironed in. Four layers of the kicking wax were applied. Additional layers were added and pockets were lengthened or cut back as needed. Results were as follows:

1-Rode -3 -10
2-Vauhti K21
3-Start Synthetic Blue
4-Rode Green
5-Start Synthetic Green
6-Vauhti Synthetic Green

In general, the green waxes were too slick. This correlates well with the top coat test results. As kick waxes were selected after the top coat test, a range of cold blues and greens were picked to span the range. The Vauhti K21 tended to be a little slow, while providing mediocre grip. Start Synthetic Blue had great kick, but was extremely slow. The Rode -3 -10 had excellent kick and was surprisingly fast and free. However, of all the waxes, the -3 -10 showed the most significant wear and required an additional two layers to be applied after approximately 7km.

A special thanks to Mark Strabel and the Mat-Su Ski Club for the grooming and the wonderful snow conditions at Government Peak.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

Comments are closed.