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.

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