Friday, November 25, 2011

West Yellowstone - skate race and pictures

Today was the distance skate race here in West Yellowstone. Conditions were consistent with previous days and the forecast snow from yesterday didn't materialize... until partway through the men's race when there was an utter squall for about ten minutes.

We had really good success with skis today and it was one of those races where you really knock it out of the park. The powder of the week continues to be C105, however the real surprises were in topcoats and hand structure. For topcoats, Ski*Go C44 block was the clear winner. This topcoat is never good - except for when it is. And when it is good, it is really good. For hand structure the Finite V05 won the day, beating out the Holmenkol Cross Structure tool (which was actually pretty bad).

The combination of the C44 block (which is notoriously bad in new snow) and the V05 structure (broken V structures typically are also bad in new snow) had us a bit worried for the men's race. However, the skied in part of the track was glazed and transformed enough so that there was no issue.

Tomorrow is the final race, a distance classic event. Temperatures are forecast to be super cold overnight and then warm rapidly in the morning. Things could get tricky...

In the meantime, here are some pictures.

The scene in West Yellowstone. As per usual, there is a lot of snow.
The team from Sun Valley always organizes a catering company to come and cook. The food is really excellent and a nice change from the usual supper fare of Wendy's.
Getting set up to test for the sprint race. The stadium is about 1.5km from the nearest parking and all the gear has to be shuttled in and out each day.
Now we test.
When the sun is out and the weather is nice, this job is pretty amazing.
Getting some sun at the wax trailer.
The West Yellowstone trail head. Pretty famous.
Cherry Coke. Fuel when waxing in America.
Yesterday I had a chance to ski for fun and check out the distance course.
Seriously granular snow. This is the reason that the C44 block was good today.
Checking out the skate race and trying to stay warm.
Now Shane and I burn powder. We are super cool guys.
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

West Yellowstone

I have been in West Yellowstone since Monday working with some of my American friends at the Super Tour opener. There is a ton of snow and the conditions are amazing. I even managed to get out for a great ski both yesterday and today.

Our days have been filled with testing, working on test skis, and making race skis. The weather has been warm (highs well above zero) and the sun has been shining bright. This has made for glazed conditions and hard tracks. In terms of materials, we have been liking the following:

Paraffin - Swix HF8
Powder - Ski*Go C105

Yesterday was the sprint race and tomorrow there is an individual start skate. I skied the course today and it looks to be a lot of fun with rolling sections, some big climbs, and some ridiculously fast downhills.

I don't have any pictures to post just yet, but here is a stolen photo from the Middlebury team. Needless to say the skiing is decent!

Amazing Conditions.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Brushes - powder

The second instalment in our mini-series on brushes. Tonight we talk about brushing powder. As a best practice, it is a good idea (although not crucial) to have a set of powder brushes and a set of paraffin brushes.

1) Swix Stiff Black Nylon (T0194O) - You only need this brush if you are burning FC7 or FC78. Useful to brush up (but not brush away) the powder before ironing for a second time. Gently scrub back and forth. For all other powders skip to #2.
2) Swix Wild Boar (T0164O) - After lightly scraping, use this brush to clear away the powder. This is easily the best brush for the task and it works quickly and efficiently. Make 5-10 strokes.
3) Swix Fine Blue Nylon (T0160O) - The best finishing brush out there. Scrub back and forth to bring a nice polish to the base.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Brushes - paraffin

On the weekend I had a request for a post about brushes. We will start with paraffins in this post and review powder brushes next time.
1) Swix medium steel brush (T0179O) - The best all around brush you can own. If you only have one brush, it should be this one. Use in one direction only and requires a break-in period to soften up. Make 5-6 strokes before waxing to clean and open the base.
2) Swix medium steel brush (T0179O) - After ironing and scraping, make 10-12 strokes to remove the majority of the wax.
3) Holmenkol Steel Micro Finish - Ultra fine steel brush to remove any remaining wax and to clean out the structure. Especially important in cold conditions. Use in one direction only. Make 4-5 strokes to remove the remaining wax.
4) Swix Fine Blue Nylon (T0160O) - The best finishing brush out there. Scrub back and forth to bring a nice polish to the base.