Tag Archives: winter

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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Tips for powder skiing

trav powder

You wake up on Tuesday morning and found 10 inches of fresh POW fell overnight. What do you do?

  1. Call in sick to work
  2. Break out the powder skis
  3. Rush to the mountain

Why a powder ski?

These skis are designed to keep the skiing on top of the snow. Depending on the type of powder ski, they can offer agility and maneuverability. They resemble water skis in shape, with a noticeably rockered nose to provide lift over the fresh snow. Their large width allows the ski to float over deep snow. They are usually fat, meaning having a waist of greater than 100mm and have reverse camber (the waist sits at the lowest point).

Now that you are at the mountain and geared up, make sure you understand the mountain terrain and understand the dangers associated with skiing on un-groomed terrain. Skiing powder has a different feel and does not behave the same as groomed trial, although the adrenaline rush of floating on the snow and the powder flying by makes it all worthwhile.

Here are some tips to ski powder.

  1. Maintain your balance. Keep equal pressure on both skis. Devin, a Green Ice Wax brand rep says “make a platform with your skis keeping weight distributed 50/50 over each ski” Keep the skis close together about shoulder width apart.
  2. Keep your hands up with your elbows in front of your torso. Do not lean back as you will lose balance.
  3. Keep your head up and do not pressure your edges as you normally would on groomed terrain. This will cause the one ski to dip further in the snow than the other.
  4. Maintain speed to keep from sinking and steer the skis into the fall line as you go down the mountain.
  5. Wax your skis. Powder tends to be more granular then groomed snow. The sharper the snow crystals, the more the need for wax. A sharp structure will cause more friction. Green Ice Wax makes safe and eco-friendly ski and snowboard wax which is long lasting and stands up to the rough shape of fresh “POW”.

 

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Travis Ganong Takes 5th at Beaver Creek – Dec 5th

US Ski Team athlete and supporter of Green Ice Wax, Travis Ganong, takes fifth place in the Birds of Prey Downhill last weekend at Beaver Creek Resort.

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Preparing for the Off-season

It’s that time of the year. We have changed our clocks and spring has begun. Mountain road bikes replace skis and snowboards. But before putting your equipment in the garage for the summer, remember properly stowing your equipment will make for a much easier transition come fall. The base is made of a plastic, which dries out over time. The steel edges will rust and pit, and the bindings can “gum up” and stick. In order to preserve your equipment’s integrity, it is recommended that you prepare your investments in the off season. We have put together five simple steps to protect your skis/board in the off season.

1. Wax the ski or board with a soft hydrocarbon wax. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the base. A soft iron-on wax like our GI HC warm or rub –on like our GI FE are of the best choices. Let the wax cool without scraping. Leaving a coat this coat of wax on the base for the summer will hold moisture in the plastic and keep the base from drying out.

2. Cover the edges with wax. If you used enough wax in step one the base, the edge will already have a decent amount of wax on it. To cover the remainder of the edge, rub the wax bar along the side edge. Be sure the wax is adhering to the steel. This will prevent oxygen from oxidizing with the steel edge, forming rust. If the edge rusts, the rust can begin to penetrate further into the steel. At this point, tuning and filing will not remove the rust causing a burr to remain on the edge.

3. Put the skis together using ski straps. If you do not have straps, a soft cloth wrapped with tape will suffice. This will keep the bases from rubbing against each other.

4. Cover the bindings. If you are looking to go the eco-friendly route (and we hope you do), find some used paper or plastic shopping bags to cover the bindings. Fix the bags to the skis with some tape. If you do not have any bags, plastic wrap from a local grocery store will suffice.

5. Store your equipment in a dry, clean area until next season.

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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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Beveling the Edge of a Ski or Snowboard

Beveling the edge of a ski/snow board

When tuning a ski/board it is important to take care of the steel edges. The edges are filed and then polished with diamond stones of varying grit to remove burrs and harden the edge. To better understand why edges are beveled, it is important to understand what happens during the tuning process.

The diagram shows a cross section of an edge and each step of filing the base and side.

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As you can see both the edge and base where filed resulting in a different shape. Since 3 °were taken off the edge and the base the result was still a 90 °angle.

Base and side angle increase performance of the ski/board differently.  If the 90 °edge/base angle was not modified it would be very difficult to ski/ride. The skier/rider would constantly “catch edge” and have minimal control.  Also steel does not glide as smoothly as the polyurethane base. Therefore, the base angle must be modified to reduce friction. The side angle is modified to grip the ice or snow on turns.

The typical angles used by manufacturers and shops are a 92° side angle and a 1° base. However, skiers/riders can change these angle based on the conditions of the mountain or the type of skiing/riding.

Base beveling tool

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Side beveling tool

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