Tag Archives: ski

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)
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Understanding Base Structure

A very important aspect of a ski/board base is its structure. Recall from , a board or ski does not slide on snow, it rides on water. As the base moves over the snow, the energy from the friction melts the snow. The base then rides over a small pool of water. The water then re-freezes after the base has passed. Therefore just as a car’s tires has threads, a ski or board should have structure to allow the water to flow unrestricted.

Most interesting, not all skis or boards have structure. Usually, a new ski has a structure out of the factory; however as people have their skis tuned, the structure may gradually fade if disregarded. In the back room of a ski shop, tuning machines have the ability to remove and apply structure. To remove structure, skis are driven over a sanding belt. To apply structure they are driven over a stone grinder, which has been cut with a diamond to apply a pattern to the ski.

When an economical tune is applied, a fine sanding belt maybe used as the last step, thus eliminating any structure. A racer or high performance tune is usually finalized with the stone grind, which imbeds a new structure to the ski /board. (See photo).

There are many technicians that believe that the structure is the most important part of the tuning and should not be overlooked. A good structure will not only provide speed but better control. Be sure that your tune up includes a base structure!

Well Structured Base
structured base

Unstructured Base
unstructured base

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DemoDon’s XC Wax Review

demodon

As most skiers and racers understand, wax is most critical in Nordic skiing. Although speed is most important, it is necessary to be able to grip the snow when traveling up hill. While on the snow, cross country skiers will encounter various snow conditions. It is not uncommon to have soft snow in sunny areas and ice condition on the top of the course or trail.

Three advantages of using DemoDon’s Cross Country ski wax (made by Green Ice Wax) in the words of a Green Ice athlete are:

1. Skis run fast. Along with speed comes less effort to skiing.
2. They continue to run fast in the last half of the race or later in the day when other skiers had collected dirty skis with fluoro based wax. DemoDon’s wax stayed clean.
3. The kick wax, which is a tacky wax applied under the foot area of the ski, gripped well when stepping down and broke free to glide when speeding up again. This is critical as skiers do not want their wax to hold them back once they are back in the speed mode again.

DemoDon’s XC wax is available in a universal temperature, biodegradable glide and tack wax along with fluoro-free racer series designed for three different snow temperature conditions.

See http://www.greenicewax.com

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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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Nate Holland’s Gold Medal Run

Here is a video of Nate Holland’s gold medal run at the 2014 X-Games shot from a GoPro boot mount. Congratulations Nate! Nate’s Signature Series wax is availabe on the Green Ice Wax website.

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Pictures of Green Ice Athletes from around the World

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Green Ice Wax Endorses Nate Holland

Green Ice Wax introduces Nate Holland’s N8 wax. This wax is biodegradable and is available as a rub on and iron on wax. The eco-friendly aspect aligns closely with Nate Holland’s attitude towards preserving the envrionment. Nate Holland won 7 X Games gold medals in boarder cross, so he understands the importance of a high quality performance ski and board wax. The environmentally friendly wax is made from renewable resources such as plant waxes and oils. It helps reduce the carbon footprint by no longer using solvent, plastisizers or any petroleum by-products. These attributes eliminate the harmful effects on the user associated with applying iron-on waxing containing flurocarbons. More information on these harmful side effects can be found in our blog .

nate 2

“I’m excited to be a part of Green Ice Wax.  As an environmentally minded snowboarder, it is a pleasure to introduce a fast, biodegradable, earth friendly wax to the world.  I can’t wait to raise my board on the podium with Green Ice Wax shimmering on my base, knowing that I didn’t leave any toxic residue on the mountain.” – Nate Holland

More information on Green Ice Wax’s newest product line, N8, is available online at http://greenicewax.com/collections/signature-series.

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Pictures from the 2013 Season

This gallery includes pictures and photo edits from the 2012/13 ski and board season. Overall, the season was a great experience for us at Green Ice Ski Wax. We had the opportunity to travel around the country, promoting the new brand and its values. We were lucky enough to ski at countless resorts, ranging from Blue Hills in Massachusetts to Sun Valley in Idaho. We hope to post some more pictures in the future. Here’s a few for you all to enjoy. Also, please follow us on Instagram and Twitter, @greeniceskiwax. Thanks for the support.

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Wax Technology

It is always good to start with the basics. Skis or snow boards do not ride on snow! They ride on water. As a ski slides over snow, friction melts a thin layer of the snow, turning it into water over which your ski/board glides.  The water then re-freezes after the ski/board has passed, leaving a fresh track on the trail.

Ski/board’s bases are made of plastic (usually polyethylene) with a specially-designed structure.  This structure helps channel the water from the tip to the tail of the ski as you ski/ride down the hill. The idea here is to reduce the friction causing the ski to glide more easily and with less friction.  Less friction means more speed.

Wax is used to reduce this friction even further, and preserve the integrity and structure of the ski. Over the years, typical waxes have been made from paraffin wax (a product derived from petroleum).  As skiers became more conscious of the benefits of wax, wax formulators introduced additives into their products, such as fluorocarbons. These chemicals are excellent in reducing friction having a very low coefficient of friction. Overall, fluorocarbon waxes are great; however, they are dangerous to your health if you happen to breathe in the fumes during application. They hurt the environment, introducing fluorine into the snow.  As for high fluorinated waxes, most skiers will not even experience the full benefit of the wax because they are designed specifically for high-humidity snow conditions. Additionally, these waxes are very costly.

To combat these shortcomings of highly-fluorinated and potentially dangerous waxes, we borrowed a technology from the cosmetic industry.

This additive is not hazardous to your health and is more eco-friendly. Its coefficient of friction is very close to fluorocarbon, making it an excellent replacement additive. Both GI1K and 2K utilize this technology. The GI2K contains a highly advanced polymer which makes it more durable and longer lasting.

If you were wondering why waxes are made to perform at different temperature snow conditions, the reason is simple: The colder the snow, the harder the crystals. It is most beneficial to use a wax with a hardness matching that of the snow. Therefore, all Green Ice ski waxes have been formulated with differing levels of hardness.  If however, the snow conditions will be unknown, choose the middle temperature wax (18-28 degrees F) as this wax will suffice for most conditions a rider/skier experiences.

Green Ice 1K and 2K waxes have been proven to be very durable. They last longer than average fluorocarbon waxes and tend not to whiten the base of the board or ski. They perform well in all humidity conditions. Green ice 2K has excellent static and dynamic properties. There is minimal stick upon take off and your skis will glide over any terrain the mountain throws at you.

Finally our Green Ice Ultimate ski wax is 100% safe for the environment. We borrowed the plant waxes used in the automobile industry to create an environmentally friendly wax with plant bi-products as the only raw materials. Green Ice Ultimate uses absolutely no chemicals, solvents or plasticizers, only pure natural materials made from plants. Green ice Ultimate also incorporates a natural friction reducing additive, making it an excellent race wax or everyday recreational formula.

In summary:  Green Ice ski waxes are more durable and longer lasting. They work over a wide range of snow temperatures and in all humidity conditions.  They are also eco-friendly and do not require a respirator to make the application process safe.  Finally you will find them a cost effective wax solution for all skiing and riding levels.

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