Tune your gear
Arguably more important than wax is structure, the pattern stretching from tip to tail across the base of your skis or board. These often-linear patterns reduce the friction between your equipment and the snow, essentially working in conjunction with wax to allow it to slide. “Much like an ice skate, when you stand on a ski, the snow under the ski heats up from the pressure – speed has a lot to do with it as well – structure lets the water run under the ski better,” said Adam Greenier of Gravity Jones Ski Werks in Vail. Ryan McDermott of Mono Cerra in Dillon likens the function of structure to a tire which moves a board or ski by creating a break in the drag. “When there’s a lack of structure or the wrong structure, it creates heat and moisture,” said McDermott. “A good structure without wax will ride better than a board with wax with no structure.” “The iron, the heat that you actually apply to the equipment as you’re waxing opens up the structure” he added.Techs may apply different structures depending on the moisture content and temperatures of the snow you’re going to ride. “In colder snow, you want a finer structure on your board or skis,” said Greenier. “If your structure is too aggressive on dry snow, the ski will feel railed out or edgy. If the structure is too deep, the surface temperature of water will create tension and the skis will stick.” “Pretty much the lighter and the tighter the structure is is going to be for a dry, cold snow,” said Ryan Dorst of Pup’s Glide Shop in Breckenridge. “A deeper, more spread-out structure is for warmer and wetter snow because it needs to separate the moisture from your base. If you have a real deep, spring structure, and you’re trying to ski in January and it’s 15 degrees outside and dry, it’s going to be pretty slow and not ski very well.” “We get a lot of dry snow, so the structure in the skis up here are harder to see by the naked eye,” he added. With variable conditions early this season, Dorst experimented with cross-hatch structures, sometimes a light cross-hatch on top of a linear structure. A light cross-hatch, he said, worked well for the combination of icy conditions in the morning and softer snow in the afternoon. Despite testing a variety of structure combinations throughout the year, Dorst advises staying away from spring structures in Colorado unless the skier has a real reason to have it – namely competitions later in the season or heading into the backcountry. “You can go too deep and then you have to take away a lot of material the next winter,” Dorst said.
If your base has suffered a wound from this season’s thin coverage, your immediate response to save money may be to drop a few buck on a P-tex candle and drip away. Ryan Dorst recommends bringing in your board or skis even after you’ve applied P-tex to have it put under a stone grinder, which provides a nice finish to the base. “If there’s any damage through the base to the core, it’s called core shot, and you need a base weld,” he said. “If it’s core shot,” he added, meaning the gouge is so deep it damaged the base material, “P-tex will get you through the day but it’s not a permanent fix.” “Unfortunately (P-tex) doesn’t hold as well as the plastics we use with welders,” said Greenier of Gravity Jones Ski Werks. “With tiny scratches, it’s OK to use P-tex. But with a deep gouge, or core shot, bring it in and let somebody use the hard plastic.” For part I, go to https://www.summitdaily.com/article/20100214/NEWS/100219891&parentprofile=search
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