Rex Blog: Home for the Holidays
Home for the holidays! After months of traveling Europe, skiing, and waxing skis; there are two things I look forward to. The first is not having to live out of a suitcase. I can let my bag explode all over my room knowing I won’t have to clean it up in two days to move somewhere else. The other thing that I miss is sleeping in something larger than a single bed. Most hotels in Europe only offer single beds and it feels like you are sleeping in a coffin -- when you turn too much to one side you will fall out. (It has happened more than once this season!) I should also add that it’s nice to be home to see family and friends.
Being back home does not mean being on vacation. This is a month where I need to test as much as I can and gather as much data as I can on North American snow types. It is important to develop waxes that work all over the world and not just in European snow types. I have been sent with a test package of test powders, test grip waxes, and test liquids. I need to test these in as many different snow types as I can and report back. So far, we have done testing in WI, MN, and Canada on top of getting feedback from some of our test pilots on the World Cup. Here are some of the results from Canada. These are the first published results of our new liquids:
Snow -10°C, 3-5 cm new snow overnight, falling/blowing snow during both tests
Test liquid #1 was clearly better than all the other waxes in glide out speed. Since these liquids are a completely new design, we need to test them against our HFs or powders, and our current liquids/blocks. Test liquid #2 and 77 powder were the closest test of the day and were basically even. To test durability, the test fleet was skied on for an additional 15 km. Afterwards, we ran through the same glide out test again to see any differences in durability. Conditions did not change much between the two testing sessions. Test Liquid #1 was again, clearly faster than the other waxes, but not by as big of a margin as before. Test liquid #2 was a little slower than 77 powder in the second test so that showed signs of slowing down after 10-15 km.
This is just one of many tests that we performed but it is promising that we have things coming out that are brand new and changing the way we think about ski wax. These products still have at least one year of testing before they get released to the general public. Most test waxes take 2-3 years to be fully developed and tested, we cannot, nor do we want to, release products that have defects or don’t work and that is why we go through such rigorous tests over long periods of time.
In addition to testing, while I am back, I get to go to shops and give wax clinics. This might be one of my favorite parts of the job because I get to share my passion for skiing and waxing with people that are as passionate and eager to learn as I am. It’s always a mixture of skill levels but the interest that is built from just one night talking about wax is so cool to be a part of.
Lastly, I have been helping out with UWGB wax support for a couple of the preseason races in Canada and Wisconsin. These races have been bitter cold and on very hard waxes. The key to success is having extremely durable waxes that are also fast. Our winning combination was RCF Pink as an underlayer and HF31 as a topcoat. These two waxes compliment each other super well in cold, abrasive, manmade snow. For kick we went with a hardwax/klister binder mix, which allowed us to use hardwax topcoats. We tested a lot of different things and the fastest waxes from our tests included Pro Grip Green. If our athletes need a small amount of kick more, we put TK-1814 under the toe. We tested some of the other manmade snow waxes out there but this was the fastest of the bunch.
Next it’s off to Rhinelander, WI for the CCSA season opener and we are looking at another frigid weekend in the Midwest!