2016 Birkie Observations

Another Birkie in the books. Lots of you have recovered and are planning for next year. It is good to have a challenge, set goals and do your best to achieve those goals.

Our goal is to help people who like to use Solda Ski wax to have fast skis. According to what I have heard, we hit it this year.  Here are some of my observations.

The snow between Cable and Hayward is notoriously cold. The common wisdom is to wax colder than you think. I have often repeated this mantra. But my findings were different this year. Our wax formula this year was a warm one and it worked for a number of reasons. First, there was not much snow this year. The snow pack was shallow and there had not been prolonged periods of the typical cold temps. The warm air had been in place long enough so that the snow was warm all the way down. I took snow temps on the surface, 7cm down and 14cm down and it only was about 1.3C degrees colder down low.

The snow was dirty. This was due to the wind and rain and the fact that little new snow had fallen recently. There was about 5″ of new Sunday-Monday before the race and none after that; just warming temps and some rain. Solda makes carbon waxes for dirty snow. While testing bases, paraffins and powders the carbon waxes prevailed. They didn’t win every test, but they skied well enough over three days to establish a clear trend. We went with a base of Solda HC28 ironed, scraped and brushed and covered it with a layer of S30 cold powder. This was scraped while warm and the paraffin was applied over that. This technique adds durability for any paraffin.  For Paraffin we chose Solda F40 Carbon Yellow. I thought some colder combinations might work, but they never tested well. Carbon Red tested well as did the Carbon yellow. Carbon yellow felt much better climbing. Because the weather forecast continued to be warm and wet, even not going down below freezing Friday night, I went with the F40 Carbon Yellow.

In the powders test all indicators pointed to Solda Fluor 100. Again, I know that lots of people have had luck for years with HP05 in all types of Birkie snow. But this year it just could not handle the free moisture. Solda has new powders, HP05 Carbon and HP04 Carbon. The Carbon powders were close and the HP04 in particular ran very well. It just never beat out the Fluor 100. I do know some people who chose to go with the colder Carbon powders and reported good skis.

So, I chose the Carbon base and the Carbon paraffin to provide the dirt repellency and durability for the long raced and the Fluor 100 for the way it was handling the wet conditions. The reports I heard said the skis ran very well from beginning to end.

We did add an ACECO Finite Tool V05 structure tip to tail. I tried various linear rills and combination rills and found the V05 tip to tail most free. The forebody of the skis were encountering moisture from the shovel and all the way to the tail.

So, there you have it. For once the warm waxes worked at the Birkie. It is a good idea of have lots of different ammunition in your wax box for these battles.

Oh yes, our classic skiers went out on Swix K21S Universal Klister over a green klister binder and had good kick beginning to end.

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