Wax Tips for Artificial Snow

Waxing for artificial snow

One needs to think slightly differently when waxing for artificial "man made" snow since it has a different makeup than natural snow. Natural snow is happy snow, forming slowly over time, high in the atmosphere and then gently falling to earth. In contrast, artificial snow is made from pressurizing water and then forcing it through an atomizer in a very short amount of time. The result of this rapid birth is that artificial snow resembles a solid triangular block of ice.  Artificial snow can also vary from a fine new blown snow crystal to large abrasive transformed “icy” snow crystal.

Artificial snow is more abrasive than natural snow.  If you take a square foot of natural snow and compare it to a square foot of artificial snow. There can be up to 5 times the amount of artificial snow in that area. Why does this concern us? Well it comes down to friction, each flake of snow has sharp edges that come in contact with the ski base. The more snow, the more drag inducing friction the skier encounters. The waxes job is to keep the sharp edges of the snow from finding microscopic imperfections on the bottom of the ski base robbing the skier of their momentum. This is why a colder wax for the temperature conditions is recommended. A colder wax is harder. This hardness will provide a surface that will push the snow down into the snow pack. Instead of allowing the crystals to dig into a softer wax on the ski base.

Ski Flex and Structure 

The ski flex and structure for artificial snow are the most difficult to predict and are dependent on the tilling, grooming, and the amount of traffic on the trail (generally high). You will need to test ski flex and structure at the site for optimal performance. For most conditions Fast Wax recommends a moderate to soft ski flex with a little more structure than normal. A universal grind works well or for more humid conditions use the Finite Structure Tool or Equivalent CP-17 Right-Left Swivel pattern or a light 0.3 mm broken pattern, either will work.

Glide Wax 

Fast Wax recommends using a glide wax one temperature range colder than indicated for the conditions. It is advisable to wax more frequently as artificial snow tends to wear the wax and bases faster than normal. A good combination is a harder base layer than the top layer here is an example for 20 F conditions: Base Layer 1 to 2 layers HS 10 Teal or HSLF 10 Green Top Layer HSLF 20 Blue or HSF 20 Tan Top Coat with Race Pro Cold

Grip Wax 

(There are several new artificial snow grip wax combinations on the market here are some suggestions) Grip wax will vary a little more depending on the how transitioned the snow is and how often the trail was groomed. For finer new blown artificial snow most hard waxes will work well with an ironed in binder. Use fluoro grip waxes here, Rex Pro Grip or Rode Fast fluoro waxes.

When the snow has transitioned and is below freezing, iron in a binder and go to one of the artificial snow waxes. Rex TK 18, cover with a fluoro hard wax. Rex Pro Grip, Rode Fast fluoro waxes.

When the snow has transitioned and is at or above freezing. Iron in a klister binder and add a fluoro hard wax or universal klister as the grip wax. Here are some recommended options, then if necessary cover with a fluoro top coat. Iron in a Blue Klister and top coat with a Mulitgrade Klister or Rex Gold Klister. Cover with a fluoro top coat to prevent icing, for example Rex Hydrex.

For icy conditions use a Blue Klister binder and top coat with Rex OV ice klister or Rex Gold Klister.