Taking what we learn in the field and from our test partners, Roger Knight writes up the most comprehensive insider guide to all things wax yearly. Here it is!
Ski*Go waxes have established themselves as an absolute must-test under all snow conditions. Olympic Medalist Christer Majbeck owns the business and still leads the charge on testing and product development. This hands-on approach and passion makes SKI*GO the world leader in products to make skis fast, though they fall far behind in marketing. That is ok by us here at BNS because they continue to push the envelope on wax, tools, poles and rollerskis that are consistently market leaders in innovation and performance.
World Cup Race Service Products BNS will still be able to offer limited quantities of World Cup fluoros that previously had not been available outside of the WC wax rooms. BNS and Ski*Go Canada (run by BNS) have been designated Ski*Go “Pro Centers,” which requires us to meet the highest race service standards and gives us access to the special products not normally available.
N21 Powder is one of these powders and is the most exciting new powder we have seen in a few years. N21 works in the range of -6C and warmer. It should be tested against C22 powder and C44/7 powder in most conditions except in ice. This powder has a remarkable range and will crush any powder out there around 0F when not extremely humid. N21 also works very well on the plus side of freezing when things get sloppy. We are thinking that in a year or two N21 might replace C44/7. It works very well in that range and though 44/7 can be lights out sometimes, it tends to have a lot of also ran days. That simply does not happen with N21. You want N21 powder as a solution in a wide range of conditions. N21 block has the same formulation as the powder but in a rub on form. Prepare to be blown away by the speed this block provides on both sides of freezing but particularly on the minus side if you have not used it before.
N3 liquid is an amazing liquid with a wide range for all snow types. N3 will need to be tested against C55/99, C44/7 and C22 liquid - it has that wide of a range. N3 seems to work best in “normal” snow that is not extremely wet or dry but can be the best in all different types of snow. BNS sold out completely of this liquid last year so please order early to assure that you get what you need. N3 is the newest in the most successful and fastest liquid fluoro line in the world.
CM10 Liquid has been a winner for many years with its unique properties. SkiGo now offers a CM10 Minus liquid that excels below freezing and especially in manmade snow. This one was developed purely on WC courses where the snow is almost always artificial or mixed with natural. Manmade snow presents some of the toughest waxing conditions and can be particularly abrasive, so CM10 Minus has incredible durability in addition to its unmatched top-end speed. Always test on manmade and in harsh or mixed snows below freezing.
OR powder and solid work in -8C (18F) to -2C (28F) in all snow conditions. OR is supposed to work best once the surface has fully transformed, ironically over the last two years some of the best OR test days have been in new snow, so it seems you have to try it in all snow types. OR powder can be ironed in at 170-180C like most powders. OR block should be rubbed on and speed fleeced in. For added durability a layer can be ironed first and brushed out.
IR powder and solid are a bit more specific, working in zero conditions right around freezing especially in new snow. IR powder and block are best from -4C (25F) to +2C (36F). IR powder can be ironed in at 170-180C. IR block should be rubbed on and speed fleeced in. For added durability a layer can be ironed first and brushed out.
C111 Powder is a proven winner in the extreme cold conditions that none of us really want to ski in. This wax works best in all snow types in -25C (-13F) to -10C (14F). C111 powder is a nice addition to test against C110 powder. As we all know, anything to make skis fast in these conditions is a huge advantage. This is only available in powder and should be ironed at 170-180C.
Ski*Go also offers LF Universal (LF P16) in 200g bars. LF Universal is a no-brainer for training and travel wax. It truly is a universal wax that really works well in all conditions – frigid to wet – which also makes it a realistic single-wax solution for use as an LF race standard. It has a high fluoro content for an LF, and the hardness of P16 makes it very durable and very fast. We had a lot of teams using this as a universal underlayer when graphite was not the best solution last year.
Ski*Go will be offering their gliders in a cold, universal and warm liquid this year as well. While this saves time and energy, like with all liquid LF and HF waxes they are not as durable and BNS doesn’t recommend them for anything more than sprint racing or maybe a 5K. All companies are introducing liquid LF and HF waxes, but they simply are not as durable and versatile as their paraffin counterparts. Period.
Another new Race Service Product from the Legends of Kiruna: Base Wax Xtra Strong. This is an incredibly durable binder hard wax that makes no compromise on speed. We only received 30 of these last year, but it immediately moved right to the very top of our hard wax binder favorites.
SkiGo is offering HF Violet 2.0 kick wax this year as well. The new 2.0 version kicks better with more glide in temps of -5/-15C, while the old HF Violet kicker can still be better in -1/-5C conditions. You will like this improvement in the 2.0 as it harkens back to all that was good with the original Ski*Go -2/-15 legend of all kick wax.
We also have access to a special Race Service HF kick wax affectionately called HF Panther. This one is sometimes known on the WC as “the Finn edition HF wax” and it is a stone cold speed demon with a positive kick experience. Made for grainy, manmade and mixed snow in -10C (14F) to 2C (35F), HF Panther is a new wax with the legendary SKI*GO proprietary HF kick component. For the ultimate in speed try the Panther as a top one- or two-layer shell over other waxes especially in the -4/+2C range.
Ski*Go Standard Wax Line
Ski*Go is the unquestioned leader in the pure fluoro game. Their liquids border on dominant, offering pure top-end speed as well as durability and ease of use. C55/99 fluid is possibly the most versatile liquid on the market and is a must test. We are surprised to see many people overlooking this wax. C55/99 is the first liquid that will run when snow has transformed to liquid conditions, and as such, offers a huge advantage when everyone else is still using solids. C110 liquid is a winner in temperatures below -10C in most snow types. Don’t fall prey to the thinking that liquids don’t work this cold – C110 will astonish you with incredible speed and durability in cold temps and all snow types except fresh snow. C44/7 liquid is really good in the ice and transforming ice conditions of the 20’s, and C22 is legendary above freezing. C22 liquid just continues to astonish BNS with how good it can be from -3C to +10C. If it does get real warm and dirty then CM10 liquid is the call.
The solid fluoro line offers simplicity, value and a lot of speed. C22 block must be tested in all conditions as it is a universal fluoro rub on that goes far below the temperature range on the package. If we could only have one fluoro block, C22 would be our choice. It is the baseline for block testing in every condition, and the first fluoro any team or individual should purchase. C110 block has been outstanding in all snow types in cold conditions. C105 block is always a steady favorite and must be tested in the teens and low twenties, especially in newer snow conditions. C44/7 rub continues to be very good in ice or falling greasy snow. We also like to do some mixes with these and then fleece them together. C22 and C105 block mixed together in all types of snow below freezing is one of our favorites if there is a lot of snow variance on the race course. This block mix wins about 25% of our tests especially in mixed snow in the -3/-10C range.
In powders, C105 leads the way as one of the most-used fluoro powders in the US. C22 is the standard for warm powders and proves dominant over and over in conditions above freezing. C110 is fast in those abrasive colder conditions and it can run in all snow types up to the high teens. It is worth testing C110 powder up until 23F. C44/7 has a key range below and above freezing, and while it is perplexing to figure out when it works best, when it goes it really goes! CM10 is available in a 30g block, it’s important to keep in mind this is double the size of most companies’ solids so it is not as expensive as it seems to be. CM10 block is in the powder section because the way to work with it is get it on like a powder and then iron in at 170-180C. CM10 block works in conditions well outside what is listed on the packaging. We test CM10 block every time we test no matter the temperature or snow type. It also mixes very well with C22 liquid in warmer temps for added speed. Just iron the two together and brush out well.
We will have a limited amount of the old C44 powder available this year. This is the unbeatable powder for 4/+4C and old transformed snow that we knew and loved for so many years. Just do not use this in new snow, it is for older transformed only.
We also have a very limited quantity of the old C44 liquid with the graphite in it. This product is really good in manmade snow and transformed snow in mid to high humidity. We will have less than 20 of these for the year so get them early before they are gone.
We will carry a very limited amount of the two famous SkiGo premixes: Orange/Green and Violet/Yellow. These are only available in 200g packaging. Orange/Green is good in almost every condition above -10C (14F). Violet/Yellow tends to excel in snow that is rapidly warming and softening, think Truckee or New England snow.
The HF line of gliders is amazing, especially in areas with high humidity. The Green, Blue, Violet, Orange, Red and Yellow depend on both temperature and snow type. Yellow cannot be beat in warm wet, and the wide range of Blue and Violet make them an easy choice with Blue for new snow and Violet for old snow. HF Orange has become a favorite in the 24F-34F range. This wax was tweaked five years ago and has become a musthave now, crushing our test results all over the country last year. HF Red is a specific wax for manmade snow that we are using more and more even in old natural snow.
HF Universal is the same wax as the HFP16 that many of you have grown to love over the last three years. They have added the wax to the regular line because it truly is a universal HF wax. It has the hardness of a P16 but also has a huge amount of fluoro in it. It works well in new and old snow and also across the range of cold to warm. HF Universal has won tests for us in as cold as -15C and as warm as +6C. It truly is a must have wax. We are seeing a lot of teams use this as their Universal HF wax.
***Race Service Tip: Mix HF Universal with all HF waxes above green to increase fluoro content and the hardness of the wax. BNS has found that mixing HF Universal with HF Blue, HF Violet, HF Orange and HF Yellow in their specific conditions increase speed almost 100% of the time. ***
LF and XC Graphite continue to be the first layer wax of choice nationwide. We have a hard time keeping these in stock no matter how many we order. In tricky conditions and when durability, dirt resistance or anti-static properties are a must, LF Graphite is without question the first choice. Make sure to brush out thoroughly with a fine steel followed by a Holmenkol horsehair brush so there is no excess left on the base.
Many teams have switched to using Ski*Go LF Blue as their travel and universal prep wax. LF Blue is cheaper than Swix LF6 and with equal or better performance. Give us a call or drop an email if you are interested in making that switch and we will find a way to help you make it work.
C380 Cold Powder is very good either by itself or mixed with HF wax in newer snow. We have used C380 alone or as a 50:50 mix with HF Green or HF Blue with tremendous success. It irons in easily and the powder goes further than most synthetic powders. We have sold out of this the last four years so make sure to get yours early.
P16 Cold Powder just continues to amaze us. It has proven to extend durability and increase speed in harsh conditions, cold to extreme cold conditions, and in manmade snow. P16 is always worth ironing in as a base or first layer when race waxing in all conditions as it really helps harden the base and keep the skis clean. One of P16’s best features is its ease of use: it irons in easily, despite being very hard for the most aggressive conditions out there.
Pink Paper continues to be a difference maker and race winner when the temperature is cold and the snow tends toward dry. We always test Pink Paper when it is below 20F, as it often makes a significant difference. On the coldest days when the snow is squeaky it is not rare that Pink Paper makes more of a difference than the powder or topcoat used. Pink Paper can also be used to take a tad of sharpness off the surface of the structure of newly stoneground skis that are going directly into competition.
***Service Tip: Work the Pink Paper down the skis back and forth 2-3 times and then finish from tip to tail (direction of travel) twice. ***
Ski*Go is offering a new plexi scraper dubbed Diamond Scraper that BNS is very excited about. This scraper is a new type of plastic based scraper that holds its sharpness up to 10-15x more than a normal plexi scraper. We all know how annoying sharpening scrapers can be, the wasted time and energy just to have the scraper not quite be sharp enough. The Diamond Scraper takes care of that by using a new technology that will make all of our lives easier!
Kick Waxes The Ski*Go HF kick waxes and klisters are exceptional due to Ski*Go’s proprietary fluoro that gives them unique wide ranges, incredible speed and a distinctive, solid grip. The HF kick wax is an amazing four-wax system that covers the entire range with 4 waxes. Many teams and individuals are using the Ski*Go HF system for racing and training because it keeps things simple while performing at the highest level.
The HF klister line is killing it especially with the addition of HF Universal klister. HF Universal is now a favorite in the universal/violet/red klisters. HF Uni klister works in -5/+10C conditions. We guarantee you will be very pleased with its speed, kick and versatility. The HF Yellow klister crushes it when it is saturated red/yellow/universal conditions. The Violet is a great wet violet klister. In tricky conditions, HF Yellow/Violet klister mixed combine to form an amazing tandem with great glide and positive kick. You need all three of these in your wax box.
For training days, make it easy on yourself with Ski*Go’s spray-on binder klister and universal klister.
The XC kickers are priced attractively, and they perform very well in all conditions. We especially love the Green, Violet, Orange, and Yellow. These can be raced on or used as practice waxes and they will not disappoint. The Green is excellent in cold, newer snow and has a tar additive for smooth kicking and firm grip.
Don’t miss the LF Violet and LF Orange kickers, as they have a large range, don’t ice, and are very affordable. We sell more LF Orange every year to teams at all levels; it is a proven solution when things are tricky at a great price compared to the more expensive kickers.
That just about rounds up the SKI*GO line this season. Again, another stellar line-up of pure fluoros all the way down to hydrocarbons means there's something for everyone.