Selecting and purchasing the proper wax can be a difficult task for people new to the sport of ski racing. Honestly, it can be difficult for even the most experienced athlete or coach as well.
There are limited resources available to the consumer to help them decide what wax products are best for their athletes use. Hydrocarbon, Low Floro, High Floro and 100% Floros are your main choices. The products may look very similar, but the price ranges can vary from reasonable to incredibly expensive.
Let’s start by covering the basic products that make up any wax system on the market today. This will help you determine what product is right for you.
- CH Wax: CH or Hydrocarbon wax is the most basic of waxes available today. Hydrocarbon is the least expensive and easiest wax product to work with. Hydrocarbon wax bonds easily to the ski’s base material, offering great protection and decent glide characteristics. This wax is a great fit for training skis or a racer that is on a limited budget. MSRP: $38 per 180g bar or .21 cents per gram.
- Low Floro Wax: LF or Low Floro waxes are the first true race waxes. LF is a hydrophobic additive that helps move water under foot, creating more speed. LF wax offers good performance at a great price. There is only a small amount of Floro in this wax, so it is still relatively inexpensive. MSRP: $85 dollars for a 180g bar or .47 cents per gram.
- High Floro Wax: HF or High Floro waxes are the highest performing of the iron in base race waxes. This wax category carries a large amount of Floro additive, moving water rapidly under foot. HF waxes are the most expensive of the iron waxes and used at the highest levels of ski racing. MSRP: $350 dollars for a 180g bar or $1.94 per gram.
- Overlay Wax: Overlay waxes are formulated of nearly 100% Floro, they are usually the last layer of wax applied before racing. The price alone suggests that these waxes are reserved for the highest levels of ski racing, when every 10th of a second counts, this is the wax for you.
Powders, blocks and liquids round the Overlay Wax category, these products are all basically the same, just different applications.
Powders are the most durable and hardest to work with. Blocks are moderately durable and easier to apply, and the liquids are by far the easiest to apply but also the least durable. Powders are by far the most expensive at around $200 for 30 grams or $6.66 per gram. Liquids will cost you $160 for 51 grams or $3.13 per gram and finally, blocks are $130 for 20 grams or $6.60 per gram.
Now that you have determined the correct wax category for your use and budget (CH, LF or HF), it is time to determine your specific wax hardness and quantity needs.
One way to do this is to break your schedule down into monthly categories and days on snow.
Look at the average monthly low temperatures for your specific locations and record the data. Then determine how many days you will be on snow per the monthly location.
- July- MT. Hood- 14 days MT. Hood, average July low temp: 27F CH8
- August- Chile- 15 days Chile- Val Nevado, August average low temp: 32F CH10
- November- Colorado- 14 days Colorado- Copper, November average low temp: 27F CH7
- December- Utah (home)- 18 days Utah- Park City, December average low temp: 14F CH5
- January- Utah (home)- 18 days Utah- Park City, January average low temp: 13F CH5
- February- Utah (home)-18 days Utah- Park City, February average low temp: 15F CH5
- March- Utah (home)- 18 days Utah- Park City, March average low temp: 22F CH6
Now that you have the hardness determined by month and location, how much wax do you need to buy?
An average iron in wax application will require the use of around 12 grams of wax.
Generally, a ski racer waxes their skis after every day on snow, so determining your basic wax needs is easy.
Look at your overall ski schedule and determine your total days on snow. Take this number and multiply it by 12 (12 grams per application) and then divide that number by 180 (180g bar of wax).
This will give you the total number of bars of wax you will need for your season.
- July- MT. Hood, average July low temp 27F (CH8)
- July- Mt. Hood, 14 days on snow-
- 12 grams of wax per application-
- Divided by 180 grams, per bar of wax-
- 1 (180g bars) bar of CH8 wax for your waxing needs
Finally, with the ski locations determined by month (see chart above), for specific wax hardness and total days on snow per month determined it is easy to select the proper hardness and quantity of wax needed for the season.
Total bars by gram by hardness-
CH10- 1X180g bar
CH8- 1X180g bar
CH7- 1X180g bar
CH6- 1X180g bar
CH5- 4X180g bar
Remember, keep it simple, go fast and have fun!