US Nationals on an Olympic year generated added excitement. Add the fact that the US Olympic slots have initially been set at eight and you have a situation where the smaller details become increasingly important.
We arrived on December 28th to provide the athletes the opportunity to get familiar with the race venue and test skis. This time frame also presented our coaches and technicians to test wax and structure.
Last year was COLD. The waxing each day for last season was quite straight forward - apply the coldest waxes to the base as possible. We found that Toko X cold powder was a critical contributor at every base layer and Toko blue Fluoro block excelled in the old and cold snow.
CXC's Bryan Cook skiing to a 3rd place in the 30k Classic
The conditions were once again cold upon our arrival and the results in testing were the same. Kincaid Park is right on the ocean. Cold temperatures tend to bring in fog and cover the ski surface with hoar frost. The hoar frost is extremely slow and speeds rapidly as it gets skied in. Toko X cold dramatically improved glide in the hoar frost and slightly improved glide once the snow got skied in. The sharp crystals generated from the hoar frost made wax durability an issue. The snow was also very dirty. We found again that HF blue was running considerable faster than LF blue and mixing X cold powder into our base paraffins enhanced the glide characteristics of all layers. We also wanted to get as much molybdenum into the base to assist in dirt resistance. The initial layer of wax was HF grey mixed with X cold powder. The second layer was HF blue with X Cold powder and then layered with JetStream blue powder ironed in and block over the top.
The skate sprint and distance skate races were relatively cold. The distance skate race air temperature was warmer, but the snow was still relatively cold. In both scenarios however - the base layers were the same. The top layers were the same for all the skate sprint events and the early starters for the distance skate.
Waxing for the distance classic races was dramatic. The temperatures were in the upper twenties Fahrenheit and the snow was old and dirty until about an hour and a half prior to start. Fresh snow began to cover the trails and continued throughout the races. Waxing both kick and glide changed significantly and the testing from days prior could not be used. Waxing decisions would have to be based on a little last minute testing as well as relying on past experience. Zero skis were used by few, but hard wax seemed to work better. We found that two layers of colder kick wax (Toko red) with 2 layers of warmer hard wax (Toko yellow) was effective. Limited time was available for glide testing, so we relied on past experience. The old formulation of "new snow" jetstream (the yellow colored) in the block form was very affective in the glazing track. It was particularly fast as the tracks got more and more skied in.
The final race was the classic sprint. The new snow got worked into the old snow. The conditions were firm and fast while the temperatures were in the middle twenties. It was truly a perfect day to ski. We have had particular luck with the Toko red and Toko blue pure fluorine in older snow types. Our tests held consistent with Toko red powder being a very good base powder. The tracks were glazing slightly, so the block form atop the powder accelerated the skis.
A number of kick combinations worked, but we simply applied Toko green binder and hard wax atop. The kick waxes needed were warmer than expected, but Toko violet was effective for most of the day.