Coaches Corner- Teacup Classic: Some Musings from the Wax Bench

February 15, 2022

Coaches Corner- Teacup Classic: Some Musings from the Wax Bench

Surmmint is one of the 180 (or 250, depending on who’s counting) Sami words for snow that in English would require a descriptive sentence. Surmmint is sun-warmed corn snow that is easy to ski on. It can also refer to frozen reindeer meat that has been thawed to a consistency very easy to cut with a knife. I didn’t have any reindeer meat, but I did make use of a knife this day. A putty knife. Working ski prep area my primary focus was to prep the skis of Youth/Pipeline/Jr racers, but also offer tools and advice to the Master/Adult team so they could prep their own. Pleasing was the number of skiers I've never seen before that were coming over to ask questions. What a great experience meeting people hungry for information ! In addition to many thank you's, I also enjoyed sharing info about our popular Adult program that has being doing clinics like this all season long!

Thoughts on Klister-

Mixing Red and Blue klister together doesn't make a violet klister, and a violet klister wouldn’t have been appropriate on Sunday anyway. Great use for a putty knife to scrape it off and start over. A key element to getting the right klister combo is knowing the different colors then using them together.  For most Mt Hood skiing here is a basic formula.

Base-  A base Binder is critical to make the klister stays where it is suppose to.  You may find that it is very firm-hard to squeeze out of the tube and is best to apply at home with some heat. 

Universal- This is the klister that makes up most of the application it has a wide temperature range. Think of this as your multi tool that does everything ok and then you add to it with red and violet to make it more effective.  

Red-  This is the one you use when things get warm and wet.  When warm it might flow easily out of the tube and a little goes a long way.  Its important to remember that it is designed to get grip when the snow is broken down by sun (or rain) and slushy, the snow crystals are very rounded.  If used when the crystals are still frozen and sharpish, its going to collect them. 

Violet- This is the one you use when things get cold.  Firmer than red, it be used to  grab on to icy cold crystals but let go of them so they don't collect. 

Rarely to you use all of just one klister, with the exception of universal. Klisters are very easy to mix and some klisters are best used only as a mixing agent. If more grip is needed adding a bit of something like a red klister into a violet or universal will boost grip while keeping the layer thin. The call for the Teacup Classic was binder, universal and a little red mixed in.  How much? Depends how much grip up the slushy climbs you wanted to sacrifice for speed on the colder downhills. 

Now its all about application. Which takes practice-

Most beginning use of klister leads to a layer that is way too thick! Klister usually has an optimum thickness and if the grip is not sufficient, making it thicker leads to icing up and a grabby feeling. Start thin because it is easy to add a
bit more but if too thick you need that putty knife to start over again! A good rule of thumb is a thin smudge one to two centimeters apart.  Try to leave the center groove clean.  
And too long - Klister is thicker than kick wax when applied. It is important to shorten the kick zone so as the ski is gliding, this thicker layer is not pressing on the snow. This is where have a kick zone test is very helpful.  The Factory marks on the ski are useful identifiers to set up these zones but rarely are right for most people.  Some homework is needed.  Also the shorter you are able to make that pocket and still have the skis work for you the faster they run! 

First step of klister being applied.

Above- note small amount of klister being used.

The same application heated and smoothed.  Note I have left the glide wax in place so it can be seen the difference of my general regular kick zone for stick wax and the klister pocket. Normally appling kick wax is done after the glide zones have been scraped and brushed. To warm and smooth in this case I used an iron to heat and my thumb to smooth.  

A close up to see how thin the layer is after smoothed.

The Race!

Despite being at maximum race tech pressure at 11am, I was able to look up from the bench to see a fantastic gathering of yellow – Nearly 40 kids under 12 at the start line for the 2k event.  How many will find out that they like this and want to keep doing this to stay fit and healthy? Based on the smiles at the end, quite a few!

At 11:30 my job was over, and I could watch the 5k and 15k races. So fun to see some of the young athletes that Kelly and I coach get top places in the 5k; and to see their parents racing too!  Especially pleasing was to see a 15 year old athlete from our Junior program- Fergie Waag - not just take the second spot over all, but do so while displaying remarkable race composure. Thinking more about staying fit and healthy, it is inspiring to see that our head groomer and board president have that value, taking first and third spots in the men’s division. 

The women’s 15k was a near foregone conclusion with an ex-Teacup Junior team racer (now training with MBSEF) easily taking the top spot. Sophie Corkran is now one of the top women racers in the PNW.

Now it is time to clean klister off skis.
A surmmint day for sure.

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