Buying Wax 101
01.23.2020 | Ski Racing Staff
Selecting and purchasing the proper wax can be a difficult task for people that are new to the sport of ski racing. There are limited resources available to consumers to help them decide what wax products are best for their athletes’ use. Hydrocarbon, Low Fluro and High Fluro wax all may look very similar, but the prices can range from reasonable to incredibly expensive.
First, let’s look at the basic products that make up any wax system on the market today, and then determine what product is right for you.
- CH Wax- CH or Hydrocarbon wax is the most basic of waxes available today. Hydrocarbon is the least expensive and easiest wax product to work with. Hydrocarbon wax bonds easily to the ski’s base material, offering great protection and decent glide characteristics. This wax is a great fit for training skis or a racer that is on a limited budget. MSRP $38 per 180g bar or .21 cents per gram.
- Low Fluor Wax- LF or Low Fluor waxes are the first true race waxes. LF is a hydrophobic additive that helps move water under foot, creating more speed. LF wax offers good performance at a great price. There is only a small amount of Fluor in this wax, so it is still relatively inexpensive. MSRP $85 dollars for a 180g bar or .47 cents per gram.
- High Fluor Wax- HF or High Fluor waxes are the highest performing of the iron in base race waxes. This wax category carries a large amount of Fluor additive, moving water rapidly under foot. HF waxes are the most expensive of the iron waxes and used at the highest levels of ski racing. MSRP $350 dollars for a 180g bar or $1.94 per gram.
Now that you’ve determined the correct wax category for your use and budget it’s time to determine your specific wax hardness and quantity needs.
An easy way to do this is to break your schedule down into monthly categories and days on snow.
Look at the average monthly low temperatures for your specific locations and record the data. Then determine how many days you will be on snow per the monthly location. See an possible example of this below:
- July- MT. Hood- 14 days MT. Hood, average July low temp: 27F CH8
- August- Chile- 15 days Chile- Val Nevado, August average low temp: 32F CH10
- November- Colorado- 14 days Colorado- Copper, November average low temp: 27F CH7
- December- Utah (home)- 18 days Utah- Park City, December average low temp: 14F CH5
- January- Utah (home)- 18 days Utah- Park City, January average low temp: 13F CH5
- February- Utah (home)-18 days Utah- Park City, February average low temp: 15F CH5
- March- Utah (home)- 18 days Utah- Park City, March average low temp: 22F CH6
Now that you have the hardness determined by month and location, it’s easy to figure out how much wax to buy.
Generally speaking, an average wax application will require about 12 grams of wax and a ski racer waxes their skis after every day on snow, so determining your basic wax needs is easy.
Look at your overall ski schedule and determine your total days on snow. Take this number and multiply it by 12 (12 grams per application) and then divide that number by 180 (180g bar of wax).
This will give you the total number of bars of wax you will need for your season. Using the data from the chart above for the month of July, it would look like this:
- July- MT. Hood, average July low temp 27F (CH8)
- July- Mt. Hood, 14 days on snow-
- 12 grams of wax per application-
- Divided by 180 grams, per bar of wax-
- 1 (180g bars) bar of CH8 wax for your waxing needs
So, with the ski locations determined by month and the formula given it is easy to select the proper hardness and quantity of wax needed for the season. See below.
Total bars by gram by hardness
CH10- 1X180g bar
CH8- 1X180g bar
CH7- 1X180g bar
CH6- 1X180g bar
CH5- 4X180g bar