Liquid Glide Waxes
Liquid Paraffin Glide Waxes
In the last few years, the sale of liquid waxes for cross country skis has increased dramatically. The ease of application and the convenience of these waxes suits the needs of just about all cross country skiers. These waxes come as NF (no fluor), LF (low fluor) and HF (high fluor). They can be applied with a cold application (apply and go skiing), cork application (apply, cork, brush, ski) or iron application (apply, iron, brush, ski ). All 3 methods work well. Generally, the wax will last longer if it is ironed in. Liquid waxes are basically a surface application. If you are aiming for performance waxing, it will be helpful if you periodically iron in paraffin waxes into the base of the ski and then apply the liquid waxes. For those looking for maximum race day ski performance, 100% fluor powders can be ironed in on top of the liquid waxes.
Personally and from a business viewpoint, I love using liquid glide waxes.
Liquid Paraffin Glide Waxes (by Zach Caldwell)
We were skeptical when Vauhti proposed liquid paraffins as a meaningful addition to the catalog a few years ago. In part that’s because they launched the idea with a lot of hype, and promises that you can “throw away your iron”. And also in part because we’ve seen this stuff before – we played with liquid paraffins from Maplus quite a few years ago, and didn’t find much benefit. But, after a couple of years of working quite a lot with these products from both Vauhti and Star, we’re ready to make a strong endorsement. We set-up a handful of our best customers this past season with a simple-system for daily waxing with the proposition that it would be fast, easy, and very high performance. The feedback has been outstanding, and we’ll be pushing the idea to a much wider audience for the coming season.
It’s important to understand the basics. Paraffin works on your ski in two ways. When it’s applied with an iron, it goes into solution (like sugar dissolving into tea) in the amorphous material in your ski base. This supports the bulk properties of the base material, and keeps it from “drying out”. Periodic hotwaxing is necessary for base health and long-term performance in the way that periodic oil-changes are necessary for the health of the engine in your car. So don’t throw away your iron.
But paraffin also provides performance enhancement more directly, as a lubricant. The biggest part of this performance contribution comes from the film of paraffin that remains on the surface of the base after waxing. If we test paraffins against each-other, we’re predominantly testing their surface properties.
Liquid paraffins do not go into solution in the base in any meaningful way, and therefor they cannot replace periodic hot-waxing to keep your skis in shape. But they do provide a surprisingly durable surface coating, and extremely good glide performance on a day-to-day basis. Last season we used liquid paraffin 100% of the time for our day to day skiing, and nearly as often in racing, where the surface layer of liquid has proven to provide a benefit even under pure fluoro top-coats.
We’ve seen the benefit clearly in our own skiing, but I was still surprised when one customer described the system that we set-up as the best skiing related lifestyle-enhancement that we’ve provided in over a dozen years of working together. We’ll be pushing this category a lot harder in the future – you’ll see.