Saturday, February 21, 2009

Some New Ideas (part 1)

This weekend I'm enjoying an opportunity to work on skis with one of the best in the business. Here are some ideas from day 1:

1. Stop testing glide wax - Well, maybe don't stop testing all together, but don't worry about it so much. In scenarios where you are going to be covering your glide wax with a top coat anyway, spending a lot of time and effort to come up with the perfect solution may not be an efficient use of time. Simply making a call based on the conditions and what you have in your box can save a lot of trouble and allow you to focus on more important variables. That being said, you still need to be in the range; for example if F40 red is the goods and you apply F40 green, you are not in the range. However, if the question is whether to use Ski*Go HF blue or Solda F31 blue, as long as top coats are in play it probably doesn't make any difference.

2. Start testing covers - lots and lots of different covers. Interestingly, it seems that different top coats have different properties. Today I tested five different covers, plus powder, fluid, and block variants of the best picks. It was absolutely shocking to me how significantly different these options were in terms of absolute speed and overall feel.

3. Start testing binder wax - I know... I'm surprised too. But seriously, it turns out that this is worth the time. Here's the deal... every athlete is going to end up having different grip wax. Some will have covers to speed it up, some will have a toe of something sticky for a little more grip, etc. The one consistent factor will be the binder. Test for this by applying different binders to the test skis and covering with a constant grip wax. The best binder is the one that gives the kick you want with the glide you need. The idea is the same as the glide wax = get yourself in the range and ensure you have lots of room for adjustment warmer/colder.

4. Ski selection - I've said this before and turns out it's true. Although glide wax, powders, topcoats, and grip wax are all very exciting, the skis matter more than anything. Know your skis.

In other wicked news, Madeleine had an awesome race in Schilpario, Italy today. She finished fifth (results) and scored her best FIS points ever (FIS points). I wish I could tell you more about the race but the internet in Schilpario is apparently sketchy and details remain thin.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Will Critchley is in the house!!!

This will blow your minds:

1) Go here - CBC Edmonton News

2) Under "Watch CBC News Edmonton", click Watch Latest Newscast

3) Skip forwards to the last 30 seconds or so ... the 58:35 mark, to be

4) Watch, and enjoy.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fast Trax Pro Team - Prime Time!s

Fast Trax makes the news in Edmonton!

Check out the link here (skip ahead to 40:40) - newscast


The Final Call

This is going to be short as I'm on my way to my real job now.

I tested at Islet Lake this morning and here is the lowdown:

- The trails are groomed and in great shape!
- Grip = blue klister covered by Guru black (this was riddiculously good)
- Grip (2nd choice) = green klister covered by VR40
- Glide = no change from previous recomendations

With respect to the klister... remember, this is a binder layer = put it on thin. Really thin. Use way less than you think you should. The idea isn't to get grip from the klister, but rather to give the hard wax something to stick to. Once you've heated and spread the klister on your skis, it should be so thin you can hardly see it. If you can pick at it with your fingernail, you've got way too much! You can find more info here - klister.

Lorris and I will be onsite tomorrow morning early doing final testing for top coats and grip, as well as touch ups. Feel free to stop in and see what we're up to!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Plan

The forecast is still cold = no changes to the previously posted wax suggestions.

Did you get a bottle of S30 yet? It will be in your best interest to put some on your skis.

Tomorrow I'll be at Blackfoot testing wax and checking out the trail conditions. You can expect further updates with more specifics in the early afternoon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Birkie Weekend

This Saturday marks the 2009 edition of the Canadian Birkie and the weather is looking interesting. After several days of above zero temperatures, a huge mass of arctic air has settled over Alberta. Good times... if you enjoy racing at borderline legal temperatures!

Depending on which forecast you believe conditions might be as follows:

The Weather Network: Cloudy, high -13, low -18
Environment Canada: Sunny, high -13, low -22
The Birkie's weather guy
: Sunny, high -13, low -20

The bottom line? It's going to be cold... really cold. Not only that, but the temperature is going to change significantly throughout the race, especially for those doing the 55km.

What does it all mean? Luckily, Lorris and I specialize in waxing for cold conditions, so here are some initial thoughts.

1. Harden your bases. Despite a very small amount of the new snow, the conditions are highly transformed and highly abrasive. You need to get your bases hard enough to endure 55km of racing on that junk. Solda S30 is my favourite choice, but Ski*Go C380, or Swix LF3 would be reasonable alternatives.

2. Race wax - pick something cold. Even if the snow warms throughout the day it will maintain it's transformed and abrasive properties. Potentials include Solday F40 green, Solda F15 blue, Solda Techno Green, Swix LF4, or Ski*Go HF blue, depending on the humidity. Without testing, your safest bets are probably F15 Blue or LF4.

3. Topcoats - This part is nearly impossible to predict this far in advance. However, given how cold it is likely to be, possibilities include HP05 (if the snow is warming significantly), HP05/S30 mix (if the humidity is high but the snow is staying cold), or HP06 (if the temperatures stay warmer than predicted, the humidity is high, and the sky is solidly overcast).


1. Given the transformed snow and long distance race, a klister binder is probably in order. See application details here - klister article. Likely candidates are either green or blue klister.

2. Hardwax cover - possibilities include Guru black, MFW blue, Guru Haligier, Ski*Go universal, Magnar 2.5 or 3.5, or Swix extra blue.

Wow. That is a lot to digest and probably not that useful this far in advance. We are expecting that the trails will be newly renovated on either Thursday or Friday.

Lorris or I (or both of us) will be heading out to check out the trails on either Thursday or Friday morning, depending on grooming, and will update wax options at that time. You can find our most recent updates on the Fast Trax Website - Birkie page. I will attempt to update the Pro Team Website as frequently as possible as well.

In other Fast Trax Pro Team news, Madeleine and Graham leave for Europe tomorrow to take on the OPA nordic tour. The first race is in Germany on Saturday so stay tuned for the details.

Also, in other shop news, I must make it clear that Jack was not part of our lunch last Saturday. Although I have credible information from Les Parsons that Uncle Burgers contain some fragments of sirloin meat by-products and a few veggies, Jack stayed well clear. I think he had hemp hearts instead?

Finally, have you checked out the Johnny Klister website yet? If not, you need to immediately!!! I have no idea who is behind this website (if you know you should tell me), but it is for sure my favourite stop on the interweb. Well worth your time.


Saturday, February 7, 2009


Contrary to popular belief, lunch at the shop is not always the best for your shape.

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