Monday, December 3, 2001 - Waxing
Stocking Your Wax Box With the "Must Haves."

- By: Mike Cavaliere

Before I go off on a rant about seeing the leaves change colors, and my optimistic view on how early the snow will arrive because of my recent observations on squirrel activity, a brief introduction may be necessary.

Presently I work developing senior athletes in Canmore, as the coach of the National Senior Development Team. This role has included following the Continental Cups in North America and Europe the last three years. Therefore I feel qualified in giving some advice on traveling light.

Now, with the leaves changing colorŠ and the sight of my wax boxes in the corner of my office, I started thinking that some accounting and restocking may be in order. After all, the last time they were touched was when we returned from Nationals last season. I decided to start by making some calls to those who make their profession by waxing skis. What I discovered is there is a recurring theme in the industry: most wax companies have some new products and they have upgraded their lines. The bottom line is they have all improved on already good products, obviously the big companies know what they are doing. As the previous columnist stated, it is important to get to know a company and its lines and use them. Because of extra cost for baggage on airlines, I use what I know, and test after test proves that most products are close as long as you read the label and apply the waxes with care.

The reason I get excited about waxes early in the year is due to stock and availability. The next month is when things will be plentiful, so forecasting your needs now will pay big dividends by March.

Here are some of the must-have products:

1) Rub ons and Gels
With sprint racing these products are great. They are quick and easy to apply and you can get a lot of mileage out a tube or block. My personal favorite is Fox gels by Vauhti. With sprints becoming more popular these are a must in a race of split seconds. But why stop there? After all, if you can gain some advantage for your skiers over the first 3 kms of any length of race, why not?

2) Rilling Tools
Stone grinders have not replaced these tools; as a matter of fact they are great compliments. We usually like to have our skis prepared with fine grinds, then have structure added for the day, since no one can predict conditions months in advance. We know most skiers resort back to their old reliable skis ­ you know, the ones that have a hundred stamps on them. Look for some new rilling tools this fall - there are some very nice ones coming out this year that will do a great job. If the rills are pressed in with care they will come out leaving your fine structure intact. Look to spend at least a couple hundred dollars. New ones out we have used - Holmenkol

Stone Grinding information:

3) Tex -Paper between the iron and the ski
At one time this was promoted as a way to ensure you did not burn the bases. Soon (if you haven't already) you will see literature that states that the base of the irons can contaminate the waxes (mainly from dirt), thus hindering their effect. It is hard to dispute the fact that most irons are not clean.

4) Irons with temperature readings (Dream item)
I know this is a pricey item, but again the temperature promoted for applying waxes is low. No longer do we have powders sparkle, as they are now applied with lower heat and quality irons. So give the household iron back and invest in a quality iron.

5) Breathing masks
Let's face it, we know what it does to the athletes, are we any different? As technicians and coaches we need to be at our best to do the best job. It's a small investment; wax companies are selling small units with fans to move air from around your waist through filters up to your breathing devices. Other options are safety supply companies.

Hopefully this will give you some insight into wax stocking, and incite you to action. Next time I will go into detail on waxing for the prologue and sprints. Until then, watch that squirrel activity.

(Mike Cavaliere is the coach of the Canadian National Senior Development Team in Canmore, AB. Mike is an integral part of the success that Canada's young men's team has had over the last few years. He is leading our next generation of Olympic contenders into the battle field again this year.)

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