If you’ve ever let your bases go raw and endured the drag, then showed up for a day of cranking with fresh gloss on your P-tex, you know intuitively that wax works.
Not so fast (even if your waxed skis do slide like they’re based with atomic slime mold). Nate over at Backbone Media handed me a fascinating clipping today; a synopsis (in The Economist) of an interesting ski wax study being done by Leonid Kuzmin, a Swedish waxing scientist who appears at first glance to have breathed too much fluorocarbon vapor — but perhaps not.
Kuzmin, a former nordic championship coach, did a detailed study comparing sintered P-tex with glide wax on nordic skis. He claims his study shows that in many cases (if not most) the P-tex ended up with better glide after about 200 meters of testing, since the wax picks up dirt and the P-tex stays clean.
Unfortunately the Economist makes an ignorant leap of logic from nordic skiing to alpine, stating that “Skiers…can forget about long hours ironing was on to their skis and devote more time to the slopes.” Perhaps Kuzmin’s theory is an evolution of nordic waxing tech, but any performance alpine skier can tell you that wax is almost always faster than raw P-tex — after hours of ironing or just a quick rub-on.
But the conclusion of the Economist article might help out a few lunchtime nordies in a hurry to ramp up their BPM doing classic style kick-and-glide: kick wax is still important, but perhaps you don’t have to spend time tweaking your glide layer.
Evolution of ideas for ski touring? Fantasy? Perhaps going with raw P-tex works for skate skiing?
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.