Lets face it, maintaining a fast racing ski base is expensive and time consuming. Early season, and bad luck can gouge, ding, scratch, and deform a perfect race base. Only re-grinding the base [$50-$100] will fix certain damage. PTEX is seldom a permeant fix, and core shots are even more expense and labor. So, what can be done?!
Applying hard wax, really hard wax…. can reduce damage to base material. We are talking full synthetic wax, the stuff that is a PIA to scrape off because it chips and shatters like shards of glass. Once on, however, a hard synthetic wax is almost bulletproof in comparison to a normally waxed base!
The down side…. well, its difficult to apply…. and a little more expensive then typical wax. Train like you race, perhaps not… when your wax is good for 0 F snow temps, and the snow is closer to 20 F.
The upside…. synthetics protect the base from the worst abrasions, and will almost never burn; they last a very long time too. Racers avoid the #1 worst tuning mistake… waxing too warm… And, you can always overlay a softer mid / high fluoro wax or overlay in the field. A quick warm scrape with a hard wax prior to final wax will cut / remove base fibers and hairs making the base super slick with less parasitic drag as the fibers are pushed down.
Note: Tuning for races in the rockies create some unique challenges. Namely, snow at 10K feet can be super abrasive [AKA aggressive] Temperature inversions with a damp snow falling and -5 F ambient… only in the rockies!! Using a synthetic base wax and adjusting as needed is a best practice; the base can not be penetrated by aggressive snow, yet, overlays can be use to adjust at the last minute to snow and humidity .
So, what to apply, and how to apply it:
LF3 is the powder form of LF4, they both have the same temp range. Remember Swix uses AIR temps, NOT snow temps for range. Holmenkol Blue is a good mid-Cold choice. For the ultimate arctic base protection, few products match what Raceservice ZF4 is capable of…. [-22F ..burrr] SNOW TEMP!
Ready to scrape…
Use a SHARP and THICK scraper!
Don’t be afraid to get aggressive when brushing out synthetics,… use brass, use steel, use the toughest bristle brush you have… use a roto-brush with brass or steel…. makes for a much more enjoyable experience! You need to see complete structure… no lumpers of wax… brush, brush… and when you think you are done… brush some more!!
Final thoughts: You can always overlay softer wax, not the other way around. The critical purpose of wax is to protect the base; and of that purpose, to not let snow crystals penetrate the base. If you are skiing and it feels like sandpaper …. your bases are being pierced by little shards of ice joy.
Cold River scrapers and sharpeners can be found at: https://shopcoldriver.com