Snow Conditions Define The Right Wax

Wax densities and hardnesses made for different conditions.

Most manufacturers produce waxes in three densities (colors): turquoise, red, and yellow. Each color is a different density: yellow (the softest) for warm conditions; red (medium density) for mid temperatures; and turquoise (the hardest) for cold conditions.

The goal is to select a wax slightly harder than the snow crystals that day. If the density/color is correct, the wax will offer good low-end acceleration and virtually unlimited top-end acceleration.

If your wax feels sluggish or if snow is sticking to your base, try bracketing your wax. Apply a harder wax over the existing wax by rubbing or hot waxing. If you feel you’re not getting enough top-end acceleration, apply a softer wax in the same manner.

Try a few of the following tips. You’ll find it easy, uncomplicated, and fun. You’ll glide effortlessly away from your friends in the flats. You’ll be well on your way to becoming the regional wax guru.

Figuring Out Friction

There are four types of friction that affect and inhibit glide:

1. Dry friction-caused from two materials rubbing together.

2. Capillary friction (water)-caused from suction.

3. Mechanical friction (dirt)-caused from atmospheric dust, diesel exhaust, and other contaminants.

4. Static friction (electrical current)-caused from electrical charges running through bases.

Addressing these four types of friction will enable the best possible glide.

1. For dry friction, use hydrocarbons and a basic hot wax.

2. For capillary friction (water), a fluorinated wax is best.

3. For mechanical friction (dirt), use a fluorinated wax.

4. If you’re encountering static friction (electrical current), try a graphite, fluorographite, or fluorographite polymer.

The Right Wax For The Job

Selecting the correct high-performance wax for the daily condition is as easy as one, two, three.

1. Estimate or take the temperature of the snow (do not estimate by air temperature).

Is the snow cold (negative four to twenty degrees Farenhite), medium (sixteen to 32 degrees), or warm (27 to 32 degrees)? Remember the colors: cold means turquoise, medium means red, and warm means yellow.

2. How wet or dirty is the snow? If you’re technophobic or not blessed with a digital hygrometer, try the snowball test. It’s easy, accurate, and affordable. Make a snowball with the snow of the day. If it packs easily and is runny-wet, the condition is high humidity or high fluoro. If the snowball packs and is not too wet, the condition is medium humidity or mid fluoro. If you try to pack a snowball and the snowball crumbles in your hands, the condition is low humidity and requires a low fluoro wax.

3. Is there static electricity? This year, we’re beginning to see electra bases in twin and freeride models. The graphite in these bases helps dissipate static friction and drag between the snow and your base. Since these high-tech bases can become depleted of graphite and its ability to conduct electricity, it’s a good idea to rejuvenate these bases with a graphite from time to time.

Always rub graphite into your bases. This will guarantee an even layer of graphite across the entire base and avoid pooling of graphite. Never drip graphites from the hot-wax iron onto your bases. It causes graphite to separate and pool.

Stand up and go fast.

-Dave Jones