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Sticky Snow

"The snow is really sticky today".

I can't begin to count the times I've heard that lament as some hapless classic skier is trudging down the trail with 3 inches of snow, plus or minus, glued to the bottom of his or her waxless skis. The snow is fresh and the temperature is inevitably hovering around 32 degrees and the poor sucker who thought it was going to be a fabulous day of skiing is instead floundering in misery.

Most of these victims are casual skiers. In fact, most of them probably won't ever see this post, but I'm going to continue as a public service, even though I know the majority of my readers are insufferable elitist snobs like myself. Since they're casual, occasional skiers, there isn't much thought given to preventive maintenance, which is a shame, because with just a few minutes of prep their anguish could be avoided.

Here's the deal: when skis glide on snow friction is created between the bottom of the ski and the snow, which melts the snow, especially at warmer temperatures. If the base of the ski is untreated the water penetrates the base. The water that has penetrated with the base now bonds to the snow on the trail, and the snow adheres to the base. And now we have sticky snow. We're not gliding and we're pissed. The kids are pissed. The wife is pissed. And you know what that means. It's gonna be a long drive back to Missoula.

So what's the cure? There are multiple products available on the market that you can apply to the fish scales on your ski base. MaxxWaxx, Maxiglide, Toko Express Wax....the list goes on. Most of it is reasonably priced and simple to apply. Wipe it on, rub it in, wait a few minutes, ski. Most skiers who use this stuff wait until they're balancing on a pyramid of the dreaded sticky snow before they take the time to apply it. The most effective way to employ this stuff is to put it on before you start skiing. Better yet, wipe it on before you leave the house. That will give it plenty of time to bond with the ski base and also gives you one less thing to do at the trail head. If you use skin skis there's plenty of stuff out there to choose from. I use Swix Skin Care but only because I got a deal on it. I'm sure there are plenty of other products that are equally as effective.

What really amazes is me is how many casual skiers are totally unaware that these waxes are available. Somebody sold you these skis, so why did that sales person let you out the door without a can of MaxiGlide? Mostly because, depending on where you bought your skis, the majority of these sales people are clueless. If you buy your gear at a specialty shop, you're going to pay a little more, but you're going to get better gear, it's going to fit you and you'll get better overall service. In any case, I can't tell you how many poor saps I've encountered who are slogging miserably away, or even walking back with their skis in their hands, who had no clue this stuff exists.

Save yourself some anguish. Shell out 10 or 15 bucks and put the fun back in your skiing.

That's my public service announcement for the year. There may be more rants or tirades coming, but no more posts for the edification of the citizenry. I'm done.



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