Tag Archives: environment

A guide to snowboard waxing for summer storage

 

It’s always a sad day when the snowboarding season comes to an end, knowing during those last few runs, through muddy slush, it will be nearly half a year before you get to board again. With next season in mind, before you break out the mountain bikes, surfboard, wakeboard or whatever it is you do during the summer months, you need to store your gear properly. That means spending a little time snowboard waxing for summer storage.

Snowboard waxing for summer storage image by Green Ice

Now, I don’t want to sound too much like your mum telling you to clean your room but if you don’t take the time to store your gear correctly then you’re going to pay for it down the line. Dry bases, rusted edges, delamination and loss of camber can all happen when you toss your board in the garage or shed over the summer. And it really only takes a few minutes to give it the necessary protection. A thick, sloppy coat of good quality wax is all it takes to keep your kit in top condition. Here’s how to do it.

 

Snowboard waxing for summer storage

I use Green Ice Wax for snowboard waxing for summer storage1. Give the base a good clean. At the end of the season the snow can get quite dirty and a lot of that filth will find its way onto your board and into the pores. I personally use a home made citrus cleaner (all you need is some citrus fruit skins, white vinegar and 2 weeks ‘brewing’) as its eco-friendly. You can buy a cheap environmentally friendly citrus cleaners online if you don’t fancy making it yourself. Just use an old rag to work the board and keep going until it is clean.

2. This is an optional step that I tend to skip and really depends how dirty your board is. If like me you don’t live in resort so most seasons you don’t ride until the last day then you can probably skip it. To help further clean the board apply a normal amount of mid-temp wax evenly across the board but scrape it off while it is still hot, you will notice oily residue in the wax scraping.

3. Using a hydrocarbon wax, cover the entire surface of the base. Use a soft, iron-on wax and then let it cool without scraping. This kind of snowboard waxing for summer storage will hold the moisture in the base and prevent it from drying out.

snowboard waxing for summer storage image by Green Ice Wax

4. Cover the edges with wax. You might already have enough wax on you board from the first application, but if not, slap a bit more on and make sure it is adhering to the steel. The aim is to prevent the steel oxidizing (that’s rusting to you and me) as once this process starts it can work its way further and further into the board, where even filing won’t be able to stop it.

5. Cover your bindings as much as possible, using some old plastic bags (let’s think about the environment here a little) and tape down to the surface of the board. Remember that stopping air getting in is the key.

6. Store all your gear in a dry and clean place, away from the damp and excessive heat if possible, so common storage spots such as a basement or loft should be avoided. And remember to have a check every now and then over the summer. The last thing you want is to get all excited about the new seasons only to find your board rusted and un-ridable on the morning of your first shred next season.

What snowboard wax do I use?

I use Green Ice Wax for snowboard waxing for summer storage

I like to use Green Ice Wax because its been specifically designed to be environmentally friendly and protect the health of the user and the planet – I am not a full on tree hugger but there is certainly a bit of an eco-warrior in me. Seriously though,  when you can, it’s always best to use environmentally friendly products with the fewest nasty chemicals possible. After all, if you wouldn’t rub it on your skin, why rub it on your board?

Green Ice Wax is fast, safe and comes in a range of products proven to work in any conditions. And if you need any further proof that Green Ice snowboard waxing for summer storage is a good choice, then the fact pro boarder Nate Holland and pro freeride skier Chris Davenport swear by it should suffice.

You can find out more and order Green Ice wax by visiting their website: www.greenicewax.com

Author: Luke, SnowboardingHolidays.net

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Three Reasons to Have Your Ski Boots Properly Fitted

Ski boots are notorious for being uncomfortable foot wear. Well they do not have to be if you chose the proper boot and have it fitted. Here are three reasons why a correct fitted boot is needed to ski properly.

1   Comfort. Boots must be comfortable if you plan on spending any time on the hill skiing. Just as any       footwear, ski boots come in different sizes. Typically your ski boots size not your shoe size. It is usually smaller. A good boot fitter measures your foot as to how it fits in the ski boot shell (see photo). With your toes touching the front of the boot shell (without the liner). The fitter determines how much room is between the heel of the shell and your heel. This length is determined based on the skier’s ability. A racer wants the tightest boot possible and will sacrifice some comfort. Just as good shoes come in width sizes (A through triple E), so do ski boots. Their width is called last. However, not every model ski boot come indifferent lasts. So you may not be able to get a specific brand and model if it does not come in your size.

Boot Shell, Liner, Footbed

2. Control. If a boot does not fit your foot snuggly and your foot slides either front to back or side to side, you will not have proper control over your ski. The movement in the boot is magnified by the length of the ski so when you put pressure to make a turn there is a loss of control as your foot slides before pressuring the ski. The best way to understand this is think that that your foot, boot, binding and ski all act as one unit.

3. Performance. High performance ski boots are quite stiff. Typically measured by the flex or pressure needed for the skier to lean forward on the front of the ankle.  Flex is determined by a relative number typically 80-150, the higher the number, the stiffer the boot.  The flex you need is dependent upon your strength, weight and ski ability. A racer uses a flex of 130- 150. Here again improper flex will affect performance. Too much flex will inhibit the ski from turning. Too little flex will not distribute the pressure properly again reducing performance.  

Flex

Once the best boot is chosen, there are many ways a boot fitter can make then comfortable without sacrificing control or performance. Boots can be modified by spreading, grinding and adjusting to remove pinch points. Boots should fit tightly but not hurt or cut off circulation in the foot. Many boot liners are moldable to the foot. They are heated prior to being placed in the shell or on the foot. They are allowed to cool which the foot is in the boot.

Recently, boot manufacturers came out with moldable ski boot shells. The shell is made of a plastic which is softened by heating. Once soft, the boot, including liner, is put on. A cold pack is placed around the boot followed by a pressurized pack. It is then allowed to harden in place and thus mold to the foot. The manufacturer of this technique calls it “Vacuum Fit” which is a bit confusing as the technique utilizes pressure (the opposite of vacuum).

Custom foot beds are a good choice. The foot beds are molded to the foot giving support to the arch and heel. Custom foot beds will help keep the foot in a neutral position giving the skier more control and comfort.

It is critical to choose a boot that fits snuggly without pain and whose stiffness matches the skier’s ability. Just remember a good boot fitter can adjust the fit of the boot as necessary to be comfortable, maintain control and achieve the best performance.  

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Rocker Skis and Boards

As early as 2003, rocker skis and boards were introduced to the ski world. However, this technology is nothing new, as water skis and wake boards have taken advantage of the rocker design for many years. Recently, these skis/boards became increasingly popular. Now what is it that makes a rocker design and why is it effective?

1. Camber

First we must look at the traditional shapes available. Since the parabolic shape has become the standard, consider this ski/board as our basis. To describe rocker, a concept of camber must be understood. The traditional ski has a camber. While laying a ski/board riding side down on a flat surface, it can be seen that the center (under the binding) does not touch the underlying surface. Once pushed downward, the flex allows the board to touch. This upward curvature is called camber. It is the camber, in conjunction with the parabolic shape, which allows the rider to carve turns once on edge.

camber

2. Rocker

The newer design for skis/boards is rocker or reverse camber. Now if we do the same thing as with our traditional ski/boards and lay a rocker flat on the surface, the board will touch the underlying surface in the center. The ski/board will flare up at the tip and/or tail. Ski manufactures have produced many variations of rocker skis. The degree of rocker can be from extreme to moderate.

All skis including camber and rocker produce a rocker shape when pressure is applied while turning on edge. A traditional camber board puts more pressure on the tip and tail in the curve as it must flex in order to turn. A rocker ski/board requires less energy to initiate a turn. With the shape of the ski already in a “flexed” position, the ski engages more quickly and effortlessly.

rocker

By combining these technologies, manufactures have produced skis and boards that fit all types of terrain and riders abilities.

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Dangers of Fluorocarbons

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In the past twenty years, controversy has arisen surrounding the environmental and health dangers of ski wax containing fluorocarbons.  Fluorocarbon wax was believed for years to be an inert particle, one that does not pose a major threat to the human body or to the environment.  However, recent studies suggest that the particles found in wax can actually break down during the application process.  The result is a smaller molecule, one that the human body struggles to break filter out from the air.

This creates the first issue of using fluorocarbon ski wax when preparing ski and snowboard equipment for use.  The applicator of the wax puts himself in a potentially dangerous situation, especially if the work area is not well-ventilated.  When the particles of the wax are broken down into smaller microbes as a result of overheating, the air becomes contaminated with particles too small to be filtered by the lungs. Studies show that elevated perfluorocarboxylate levels exist in humans that frequently use fluorocarbon ski wax (112 ng/mL compared to 2.5 ng/mL).  Any particles that are not released into the air remain on the base of the ski or snowboard.

The particles remaining on the base of the ski or board are then transported to the mountain.  When the equipment glides over the ground the snow underneath temporarily melts, creating a water surface.  In the process, the small microbes transfer from the base of the ski or board into the water, and then refreeze in the snow.  They remain on the mountain for the next few months, as the concentration increases as more riders visit the resort.  As the weather gets warmer, the contaminated snow from the ski slopes melts and the water flows downhill.  The microbes remain the water, and are responsible for significantly higher fluorocarbon content in rivers and lakes in close proximity to ski resorts.

Popular ski wax brands, such as Swix and Dominator, have published responses to these arguments against the fluorocarbon waxes.  Instead of developing waxes containing safer chemicals with similar water-repellency properties, they have released articles that explain how to correctly use the wax.  These articles state that the application process should take place in an area with very effective ventilation, and the user should always wear a mask.  Using chemicals that require a mask does not seem safe for the average consumer.  Additionally, this does not deal with the environmental issue at hand.

Even if the user is protected from the potentially dangerous release of toxic particles, they still find their way into the snow and eventually into the streams.  The fish and other animals living in the environment cannot simply put on a respirator to protect themselves from overexposure to chemicals not occurring naturally in their living space.  Therefore, the response to the problem at hand isn’t correctly applying the wax, but instead switching to an environmentally friendly wax solution that promotes sustainable, biodegradable compounds not derived from petroleum by-products containing fluorocarbons.

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