By Matt Cummins
Fluorinated race wax
Sharp plastic scraper
Horsehair/nylon brush or a fiber pad
It’s best to ride a board that likes to go fast and that you’re comfortable on. Switching boards the day of the race is tough to do-even for the best riders.
1. Start with a good, clean base and sharp, smooth edges. Edges that are dull with burrs aren’t fast-they’ll slow you down.
2. If you haven’t waxed your board in a while (or ever!) and you want a race-ready board, it’s best to wax it as much as possible prior to race day. Waxing multiple times and scraping with soft wax will allow the wax to slowly build up and bond to your base, making your board faster and the race wax last longer.
3. Iron in an even amount of nice, soft wax for warm, wet snow. You can even scrape before the wax has had a chance to harden. This is called “hot scraping.” Use a plastic scraper to scrape the wax off before it has completely hardened-repeat a couple times.
4. On Thursday night, the night before the first qualifying run, wax with the good race wax. A good race wax contains expensive fluorinated paraffins that are blended into a temperature-specific wax bar. The snow is usually pretty warm and wet at Mt. Baker, so this fluorinated wax is a must. A good fluorinated race wax will cost you $20-60 per bar. Buy a trusted brand and make sure it’s a mid-range wax with a mid-level concentration of fluoro.
5. Since you’ll be riding before your run, wax your board the night before and don’t scrape until just before your qualifying run. This allows the maximum amount of wax to be left on your base prior to your qualifying run. Make sure you have a nice, sharp, plastic scraper and brush or a fiber pad so you can scrape and brush your board before your run. Not scraping and brushing the wax off your base before your run will decrease your speed dramatically.
6. Scrape all the wax completely off your base and then brush vigorously.
7. Make sure your base and edges do not have any snow or ice sticking to them. This will slow you down as well. Your board is now ready to go! Good luck!
8. Repeat waxing the fluorinated race wax into your base every night before the race for best results.
The 22nd Legendary Banked Slalom runs February 9-11, 2007 at Mt. Baker, Washington.
Most top finishers are using some type of highly concentrated, pure fluoro powder or block. This block is rubbed on at the top of the start shack, giving added boost out of the gate and increasing top speed.