Tag Archives: infrared technology

Infrared Technology for Waxing Skis and Boards

Update of Green Ice Wax blog. (Using Infrared heat to wax skis and snowboards, 3 October 2016)

Innovation occurs everywhere around us from the release of 5G high speed internet to full electric vehicles. The world is constantly changing. When new technology is released, typically it is not cost effective or widely available. Take electric vehicles for example. Tesla unveiled the Roadster in the late 2000s for a list price in excess of $100,000 with a range of about 285 miles on a single charge. While this was the furthest a fully-electric vehicle could travel on a single charge, it was a 2 seater with a cost-prohibitive asking price that limited the sales. However, as time went on and the production volume increased, Tesla now produces a practical Model 3 sedan starting at $37,000! 

Examples of technological innovations in the ski industry are quite similar and ever-changing. When my son was a young USSA racer, “hot-boxing” was all the rage. This entailed the long process of heating a large oven, heavily waxing the base of the ski, and placing the skis in the oven for an extended period of time. Few technicians had the resources and time to execute the process, making it both cost-prohibitive and a logistical nightmare. Racers’ parents would drive hours to locations with the resources and pay exorbitant (in my opinion) amounts of money to “hot-box” their 10-year-old’s equipment. 

A new technique has now leached over into the ski racing industry, without the cost and overhead associated with traditional application techniques, like a “hot-box” oven. Using technology borrowed from other industrial applications, Infrared (IR) technology allows for the application of wax with a very focused beam of light invisible to the eye. This is the same technology that your conventional remote control uses to change the channel on your TV! The concentrated light raises the temperature of the base under a controlled setting, giving results similar to that of the “hot-box” method. Other benefits include not applying the heat source directly to the base or with varying temperature, as in the case of a typical waxing iron.

Paul O., a ski racer and avid user of GI2000 race wax, visited Hillcrest Ski and Sports in Gresham,OR to wax his race skis.  Hillcrest recently installed a Wintersteiger Infrared (IR) Waxing System. These IR systems are an extremely versatile, easy and cost effective means of applying race wax. Paul observed the process first hand, starting with the inital application of the wax accomplished by rubbing the bar of wax directly on the base. This puts a thin layer of wax on the base with little waste as compared to traditional techniques. 

Next comes the addition of the heat source. The ski base is placed on the waxing system, and the heat source is activated. Once the heat is applied and the base increases in temperature, the base absorbs the GI 2000 in its pores and increases the water-repellency and friction reduction properties of the ski. Once the base cools, the thin layer of wax can be removed using a sharp wax scraper much more easily as compared to waxing with an iron as there is significantly less excess wax.

Paul scraping the base after it cools
Infrared waxing system in action

Green Ice Wax’s observations:

  1. The temperature of the lamp is constant and thus there is no chance to overheat the base or wax
  2. There is no physical contact made during waxing between the heat source and the base
  3. Minimal effort when scraping off excess wax
  4. No fuming of the wax due to overheating

Paul’s observations:

  1. The wax went on really easy and minimal waste.
  2. The wax required little scrapes and only one pass with a rotobrush (brush applied to a drill for ease of use)
  3. The techs have been impressed with how easy the wax is to apply and scrape depsite using a high performance wax (as compared to fluorocarbons)
  4. . The machines are able to be programed to multiple wax applications such as a hot wax (similar to using a hot box)
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,