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Wax Preview 2017-2018

From atop his wax-dusted pulpit, BNS Wax Shaman Roger Knight spreads his expansive wax knowledge to the masses.

Click a link below to go directly to a brand, or scroll down to start reading.
Ski*Go
Holmenkol
Swix
Toko
Guru
Innovax
Rex
Rode
Start
Gallium
Vauhti
Magnar
Mantra

Ski*Go

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. 

New World Cup Race Service Products

New for this year, BNS will be able to offer limited quantities of World Cup powders and solids 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.

N21 Powder is one of these new 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. Last year BNS tested this at Soldier Hollow for World Junior/U23 World Champs at Soldier Hollow and it was destroying C22 powder and CM10 on both sides of freezing. Ski*Go just continues to push the best pure fluoro race solutions, when they release something new, you will want to have it!

There will be a N21 block as well. 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.

N3 liquid is a totally new 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. 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 harsher or mixed snows below freezing.

OR powder and solid were the bomb two years ago on the WC as they work in -8C (18F) to -2C (28F) in all snow conditions. We didn’t have as much success with OR here in the States last year as we expected but learned as the year went on the snow had to be OLD for OR to work. Once the surface has fully transformed you will find OR to be a real player. 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. We were not able to get many of either IR powder or block last year, but the few customers who did get our limited supply let us know that it tested very well. We have ordered as much as we can to start this season, but when that is gone we will not have access to more, so order early to make sure that you get IR. 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. 

New for this year, Ski*Go is offering LF Universal (LF P16) in 200g blocks. 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. It can also be used as a universal underlayer wax in clean snow that doesn’t have a lot of friction in it.

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 have yet to get our hands on this product but the reviews we keep hearing from the service staff are glowing.

We are happy to offer the HF Violet kickwax in the standard black version but also in a race service version without black additive. This formula is the same as the old -2/-15C racing kickwax of years ago. The race service version is a bit harder so it is a tad easier to work with. It is faster but does not offer as much kick as the standard version. 

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 -2/+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 in 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 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.

The solid fluoro line offers simplicity, value and a lot of speed. C22 block simply 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. 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 for snow that varies a lot over the race course. 

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 four years ago and has become a must-have 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 so many of you have grown to love over the last two years, no change. 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.

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 or dirt resistance is 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 three 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.

SkiGo 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 our 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.

Holmenkol

Syntec Race Powders were new in 2016-2017 and had a smashing debut. We had to reorder several times to keep up with demand. These powders are also one of the first to comply with the new European fluorocarbon restrictions that are coming in the next year, so they are not going to disappear. Race Service Tip: We have found the Syntec Powders work best in snow that has gone through at least one grooming cycle. It is best to iron quickly with a 170C iron and then roto fleece before brushing. This drastically increases speed and performance. 

Syntec Race Cold -20C (-4F) to -8C (18F) This new powder performs best in dry and cold snow either fine grained, old or manmade. The new raw material that Holmenkol has found provides incredible speed and durability. Iron temp of 170C or hand or roto cork. 

Syntec Race Mid -10C(14F) to -2C (28F) Syntec Race Mid checks all the boxes for a great Mid powder with a nice range and amazing speed. The best snow type for Syntec Mid is snow that has started to transform, transformed snow or manmade snow in high humidity. Iron temp of 170C or hand or roto cork. For new snow or new snow on top of old snow the best option is still RacePowder Mid(Mid 08). But as long as it has been on the ground for a day or so, Syntec Mid should be tested.

Syntec Race Wet -4C (25F) to +10C (50F) A great solution for warmer snow conditions. Syntec Race Wet performs well in damp to wet and old and fine-grained snow. This powder really tested well in the range of 0/-4C as a superior option. Iron temp of 170C or hand or roto cork.

***We do still have a small supply of the previous Holmenkol powders. Contact us for details***

Hits from last year: The HF line of waxes continue to be the best value out there. Holmenkol worldwide has moved completely to the Racing Mix HF line with a standard Cold(Blue), Mid(Red) and Wet(Yellow). The broad ranges and affordability of the Racing Mix line has made it a hit. The Cold and Mid can be used in any snow type in their range. We still find that the Wet is best in new or mixed snow from -3C to +1C. 

Holmenkol blocks have been very good for years and they are so easy to apply! The Cold, Mid and Wet have performed very well and are easy to use. We have seen more and more teams buying the Cold as it seems to perform well in 0F-20F conditions. Race Service Tip: We have had some amazing results on Cold block in wet snow and wet artificial snow right around freezing (0C/32F). Mid 08 can be greased lightning in funky mid-range and cold conditions; in new snow; wet, new falling snow and fine-grained, old snow with new snow on top or mixed in. The regular Mid block will win out in older and manmade snow.

Holmenkol made a change to their liquids two years ago and we didn’t give them the credit they deserved. We had vastly under-tested these liquids, and we discovered how good they are in 2016-2017.

Application Tip: Do not iron Holmenkol Speed Finish: spray on, dry cork or roto fleece and then brush out using horsehair and then lightly with microfinish steel.

Speed Finish Cold 2.0- Spray on fluor liquid for cold aggressive snow from -8C(18F) to -20C(-4F). Very durable and provides acceleration that is unparalleled in the cold range. This is not good at high humidity.

Speed Finish Mid 2.0- Spray on fluor liquid for all snow types in the -2C(28F) to -10C(14F) range. Highly dirt resistant and durable, this wax has a wide temperature range and is best in fine- to coarse-grained snow.

Speed Finish Wet 2.0- Spray on fluor liquid that excels in moist to wet old snow and fine grained and nasty dirty snow from 0C(32F) to -4C(25F). This is the magic range where liquids can shave minutes off on course.

We are definitely seeing more use of the Holmenkol kick waxes, especially the blues and the red. The red kicker fits in as a great funky snow or new snow near freezing option. More and more people like these and the cost makes them a great option for teams. The klisters are a practice option only in our opinion, with the exception of the Red Spezial (0/-2C) and Black Spezial (-1/+10C). Black Spezial is a sneaky amazing klister in all different types of conditions. Race Service Tip: Mix Black Spezial 1:1 or 1:2 with Rode KM3 in nasty wet conditions.

Of course, the Hydrocarbon waxes are staples that everyone should have. We get a lot of great feedback on the AlphaMix Yellow, BetaMix Red and UltraMix Blue. Simple, broad-range, affordable, and great performance. Beta Red is a universal travel wax and base wax for many teams because it is so good, and the Ultramix is a really easy to use blue CH wax.

The Holmenkol Nano CFC cleaner is the industry leader. We sell a ton of it and every team should be using it. It cleans the glide zones and removes fluoros without drying out the base or ruining structure. From our experience with service work, most people are not CFC cleaning their skis enough. It is such a simple thing to do and the performance difference really is incredible. Look for some hard test data on this coming from us in the near future. A little bit goes a long way on this stuff so buy a 500ml bottle and be set for the year. 

For tools, the pro groove scraper, horsehair brush, microfinish fine steel brush, racing scraper sharpener, digital iron and thick plate digital iron are the big hits. We cannot say enough about this horsehair brush. It is the best brush out there, very affordable and does an amazing job. We like to work it in as a second brush option on almost all waxes. All Holmenkol brushes are available in rectangular and larger oval options. If you need a great and versatile form that can be easily C clamped to any table or bench we love the Holmenkol profile. It is simple, durable, light and can pack down quite small. 

If you want simple structure options that continually rock on snow, the Holmenkol Cross Structure Tool is the ticket. This is a simple universal two roller system that always makes fast skis. If it is below 25F we like to pop out one roller, anything wet above 25F and two rollers makes fast skis every time and the structure is so fine that it almost never slows you down. Holmenkol has added more options with this as they now sell a roller kit which adds on five additional options for making fast skis. Simply put, with the Cross Structure tool and add-on kit you have all your bases covered. 

The Digital RacingWaxer Thick Base Plate has an extremely thick 26mm base plate for temperature consistency and great feel on the ski. It has a digital display and a microprocessor for temperature regulation. Will heat in even the hardest fluoro powders with temperature control from 90C-180C. Finally an iron that doesn’t die after using for one year of service!

Holmenkol is still making the standard Digital RacingWaxer with its digital temperature control from 90C-180C, great ergonomics and durability. We sell a ton of these for a reason.

If you want amazing irons at a great price check out the Electronic Racing Wax Iron. This is the exact same iron as the Digital, just without an LED display. This means you get the guts and amazing performance of the Digital Iron at roughly 2/3 of the cost. Every single team should have these as they have the same consistency and performance of the digital irons but at a much lower price.

An overlooked item in the Holmenkol lineup is the iron holder tray. This is a fantastic product that attaches to tables and keeps your iron secure to avoid accidents. 

Don’t miss out on the Holmenkol Fanny Pack. We are not suggesting everyone go Euro and start rocking this around town, but this pack is the ideal on-trail kick or topcoat pack. We use these at BNS because they are large enough to fit a whole lineup of kickers or all of your brands in a temperature range. Plus have you all seen Chambo or Nathan rocking them in the front?!?

All of the top techs on the WC are now using Speed Fleece as their finishing tool of choice on pure fluoro jobs. The Holmenkol Roto fleece is a great product that fits all of the major roto brush systems. The best fleece product available anywhere, period. We cannot stress enough that if you are rotocorking still you are making a huge mistake. It is very hard to control the heat with a rotocork and wax will change its performance if heated inconsistently. Switch to roto fleece now – it is easier, faster and makes faster skis.

Swix

The big Norwegian company continues to make great wax as they have for so many years. The changes to the glide wax line “X” a few years ago have been an improvement .

Here is a powder rundown:

FC4X- Cold powder for -10/-20C in fine and old coarse snow.  This powder has some really good days in cold old snow.

FC5X- This is the old FC100 powder. Swix says it is best in older transformed snow -3/-15C, but we find it to be better in newer snow in that range. It is a finicky powder but can crush in falling snow that has moisture in it. 

FC6X- A powder for all snow in -1/-10C, very nice change to the product line we have had success with this.

FC7X- A reformulation of FC7 for +2/-6C.  Not our favorite powder in this range.

FC8X- This is the same as the past. +4/-4C all snow types, still a hit or miss powder like Ski*Go 44/7. It is a bit hard to tell the ideal snow for this powder but it can be a real winner when it goes. A must test in this range.

FC10X- The same as the old FC10X, 0/+15C, a solid powder but can usually be beat by other warm powders. Worth trying in all warm, wet conditions.

The HF waxes were reformulated three years ago and we have some success, in particular with the new HF4X. This is now worth testing against your cold weather favorites. HF5X is a very popular option that originated in Swix famous Racing Service line. HF6X is the same great wax it has been for years; you always need to try it in -5/-10C conditions. HF7X is a good wax for the key twenties range, softer than some other options in this range. HF8X is the same HF8 we have known and loved for years. HF10X was hardened over the old HF10 last year.

The HF BW line is still a very finicky wax line. Our belief is that it has more Alpine applications than it does Nordic as it doesn’t seem to be very consistent or provide any clarity over the clean HF line.

The liquid pure fluoros are always in play when it is warm and wet. Hint: Anything Swix puts an A on is made for Alpine. Think of this as a sprint option only. The HVC warm is a great liquid in warm wet conditions and can perform on the cold side of its range in greasy snow as well. 

The V line kick wax line is just so solid.  Extra Blue and Special Purple are always something to test.

The KX klister line has some hits. In particular we have found the KX 35 and KX45 to be versatile klisters as a mix or stand-alone option. KX40S with the silver additive also needs to be tested on its own.

Toko

Toko still makes some great products. We like a couple of the powders and blocks and the binder waxes in particular. The spray klister binder has fast become an easy to use favorite. The HF Blue and HF Red have been in the mix for us in drier conditions in particular. The JetStream Bloc 2.0 Blue and Red can be very good. The JetStream Powder 2.0 Blue and Red can also be in the mix, though they don’t seem to be as good against the competition as the solids. The X-Cold Powder is nice to combine as a hardening agent. The hard wax binder is a staple and can be mixed with the klister binder in weird conditions and extremely cold old snow conditions as a viable alternative to a traditional green klister.

Guru

If you are not on board with Guru yet you should be. An amazing cowboy wax line straight from the World Cup. The entire Guru line should be in your box. We keep getting more and more requests for Guru every year so we decided to break down each wax a bit.

Guru Hardwax

Green- An amazing green wax in new and new falling snow, fine snow and mixed snow between -20/-6C (-4/21F). There are no words to describe how sublime this wax is. It is our favorite Green kick wax here at BNS and it isn’t even close.

Blue- -0/-4C (14/25F) Guru Blue is a traditional blue kickwax that seems to work best in new or very fresh snow. It is a fast blue kicker, so it can be used as a shell on top of other waxes such as Swix Extra Blue or VR40/VR45. We have had success with Guru Blue used as a last layer or two over Start Oslo Blue to increase speed as well.

Violet- -6/-1C (21/30F) Guru Violet is harder than most other violet kickers on the market, so it tends to really excel in new fresh snow or fine grained snow as a shell for speed.

Red- -4/0C (25/32F) There are no superlatives that can accurately describe how much we love this wax at BNS. Guru Red is a savior in the tricky conditions under freezing providing great kick and glide when it is hardest to find. We will often bury a layer of Red under a shell of Guru Violet in the low 20’s to provide bite or apply Red as a shell to other kickwaxes to increase speed. This. Is. An. Amazing. Wax.

Yellow- -2/+1C (28/34F) Guru Yellow has a great mix of kick and glide with some silver mixed in to keep things clean. When the thermometer inches to freezing and panic ensues, sit back, grab a Guru Yellow and relax. Everything gonna’ be alright.

Extreme Hallgeir- -10/-2C (14/28F) Yes this wax does have an odd name. Yes this wax is the universal shell or cover wax in older, coarse snow and manmade snow. Any more questions? Extreme Hallgeir is an incredibly fast shell wax for older snow and manmade snow in a wide range of temperatures. It speeds up nearly every wax job.

Super Hallgeir- -15/-3C (5/27F) This is one of Roger’s favorite waxes of all time. Super Hallgeir works in older, transformed and manmade snow in a huge temperature range. We always test Super Hallgeir if the snow has transformed or is manmade and it is below freezing. Period.

Base- Guru improved this binder two years ago and although it is solid it isn’t special like the rest of their waxes. We have it in the box and test it but it rarely is “the call”.

Guru Klisters

Blue- -6/+2C (21/35F) You read that temperature range correctly. Guru Blue is a funky blue klister that works on the warmer side of a traditional blue. Worth testing on dry or icy snow all the way up to freezing and above.

Violet- -4/+4C (25/39F) Do not believe the range listed on this one, as it is like a Violet plus klister. Not 39F plus though! This klister is just so solid, always in the mix when you are in the violet or violet/red or uni range. Fast and durable.

Red- +5/+15C (41/59F) This is Red klister rocks. Always good when things start to get wet and cross the freezing barrier. This is the best Red klister out there and no one is arguing. Race Service Tip: Mix this with Rode KR3 1:1 in varying wet conditions for speed.

Silver Red- +5/+15C (41/59F) Take the most amazing Red klister out there and add Silver to it? Yup. As you can imagine when things get dirty this klister excels.

Extreme 39- -2/+7C (28/45F) The klister that launched a dynasty! Extreme 39 is universally agreed upon by top level waxers as the best klister in the world for a reason. It works as a Universal klister in old and just transforming snow as well as manmade and manmade mixes. Great alone or mixed with violets/reds/other universals. This is an incredible klister that every single classic skier must own.

Extreme 39 Hard- -5/+4C (23/39F) If you take the most legendary klister of all time and then make a harder version of it, BNS will likey likey. Guru made this wax about seven years ago and we have sold out multiple times each year since. Another universal wax that is great on its own or mixed with other klisters.

Extreme Base- A base klister that is tough and fast. Not for the faint of heart in the kick area as it tends to be too slick for all but the best technicians.

Innovax

This company makes a bunch of waxes, but only one that you need to know about. Beta Cold Powder is our favorite cold weather HF quality wax. When it is below 20F and particularly below 14F this wax excels. It can compete against LF waxes, HF waxes, and pure fluoros in the bitter cold. It is super easy to apply because it comes in powder crystal form. Get some. Seriously, it goes on easy, it is fairly cheap, and it crushes in cold weather. Used alone, not to be mixed like cold powders.

Rex

Rex is the Finnish company that makes amazing klisters. They started a new distribution model in the US with good results. The only issue remains re-ordering for us. The US Distributor does not stock very deeply, so that means we often have to get re-orders from Finland. This model works, but can lead to delays later in the season if we run out of waxes. Order your Rex early and make sure you get enough.

Hits from last year: All of the klisters. We love the Blue, Violet, Gold, Universal, Red Special and OV klisters. The Gold has fast become a go to klister in a wide range of conditions including manmade and manmade mix.  Do not ignore the Rex Universal klister, it is very, very good. Red Special is amazing when things get slushy and really warm. Rex klisters must be in our box because they are cheap and really good.

RCF Pink is back! For those of you who are die hard RCF Pink fans and have not been able to get your hands on it we will have some to start the year. RCF Pink now comes in a 43g package.

TK-72 block continues to be a great solid fluoro in below 0C conditions. This wax almost never slows skis down and it is always near the top of our testing. Nagano block is made for exactly what its name suggests: Wet falling snow or sleet surrounding freezing and soft messy tracks. Nagano is a specialty block for sure, but it always has at least one day a year where it knocks it out of the park! TK-125 is a hit due to its wide range and ease of application, range +5/-3C in wet conditions, best in older wet snow.

Hydrex is our favorite zero/hairy cover liquid out there. One bottle goes a long way, is reasonably priced, and doesn’t affect kick. The packaging is now a spray bottle for easier application. We often will cover a klister job that borders on slow with some Hydrex and it works great. Another liquid that we have liked is Ruka for +5/-20C. Ruka contains moly and performs best in mid humidity and on manmade or heavily tilled snow.

We have seen an increased interest in several Rex Powders over the past few years. All Rex powders should be ironed in at 180C. TK-245 is a powder in -5/+5C, it truly excels in moderate humidity and in new snow. TK-50 is for 0/+5C and dirty snow. This powder seems to be one of the most dirt-resistant powders out there. TK-29 is a powder that contains graphite and is for -2/-8C that is at its peak performance in DRY or OLD snow. TK-820 is a powder for slow, squeaky snow in cold conditions. Ideally for -8/-20C but will work well even up to -2C on older or manmade snow. Rex Inari is a unique powder in that it is non-fluorinated for new snow in cold conditions. It is used as a hardener and a base wax for fluorinated coatings when conditions turn towards the extreme.

Rex also has a Race Service line that they developed from the World Cup. Here is a breakdown of the RS line:

Powders-342, 63, 77, 83, Grip Powder.

342 +10/-20C This is a special wide-range powder, specifically for moist snow. Will also work well in coarse, moist snow. Not a dry snow powder. 342 seems to be in the mix a lot and is always worth a test. Iron 180C or hotter.

63 -5/-20C This powder contains graphite and is intended for old, fine and artificial snow. Best in cold conditions and snow that has been worked a lot. Iron 165C.

77  -7/+1C A powder specifically for dry new snow, think Lahti snow. Iron at 180C.

83 -12/-2C Rex 83 contains graphite and is made for snow that is transforming to old, old snow or manmade snow. We haven’t had a chance to test this yet.

Grip This is a specific grip wax coating powder. It is an extremely fine-grained polymer powder. Helps to reduce the friction of grip waxes and prevent icing. Can be used for klister or grip waxes.

HF Waxes- HF11, HF21, HF31.

HF11:  +2/-2C This is a warm weather new and old snow HF. It is harder than traditional HF warm waxes and thus not so oily. Very dirt repellent. Think of this as an improvement on the old Olympico Yellow. We thought this was a great addition last year and had it be very good multiple times.

HF21:  -2/-8C Made for all snow types in medium moisture conditions. HF21 is very hard  but still has a low melt point. This wax was developed specifically as an underlayer for pure fluoro powders but can be used as a final layer. HF21 seems to be best thought of as a universal underlayer as we haven’t found it to be fastest against other HF waxes.

HF31:  -8/-20C A very hard and durable wax for colder snow types. Can be used in warmer conditions as well with very good durability.

Rex Grip

30G- -8/+1C 30G is a fluorinated wax made as a new snow cover over harder waxes. It can be an effective shell when snow is falling to help increase grip. 30G can be used alone around freezing or as a klister mix. We liked this wax a lot last year when Rex gave us some to try.

TK-1814- -2/-15C A specific grip wax for manmade and coarse snow. This wax was developed in response to today’s courses that usually have very hard tracks and artificial snow. We really liked this wax and think it must be added to all wax boxes immediately.

Rode

If this Italian company never changes their kick and klister line we are completely fine with that! Rode is the gold standard in grip wax products and has been for 30 years. Not the simplest system around, but it is simply really good. Two years ago they started a direct from Italy distribution model with mixed results. It is great to be able to communicate directly with the owner of Rode, but reorders take some time. Thus favorites like Multi klister and the T Line run out and it takes time to restock. Keep this in mind as you order Rode, especially the T line klisters, as it is really hard for us to stock enough of these. The only kickers that we don’t love are the Blue I, Blue II and Yellow. All of the others are in our box. How many times have Multigrade Violet and Blue saved you? For klister we love the Skare Special, Skare, Violet Special, Violet, Rossa Special, Rossa, and Multigrade. We won’t argue if there are more that you like. We see a ton of orders for the fluoro kickers, especially the Blue Super Violet Special and Red Extra. For the Fast klisters the Multigrade, Red and Silver are being used a lot.

Rode also has their racing line, called the T line: three kickers and three klisters. These waxes were developed on the World Cup over the past few seasons and are now made available on a limited basis here in the US. Simply put, this entire line is really amazing. One thing we have found is that the kickers can be used much colder than the recommended ranges in high humidity. We have used the VO and VPS down to -6C in high humidity in New England.

Rode Race Service Stick Waxes

VO: 0 ° / -2 ° for all types of snow - falling snow
VPS: 0 ° / -1 ° for all types of snow - falling snow
VXPS: 0 ° for all types of snow - falling snow

Rode Race Service T Line Klister

K3: 0 ° / +3 ° for natural snow, artificial wet snow
KM3: -6 ° / +6 ° for natural and artificial snow
KR3: -3 ° / -8 ° for natural and artificial snow

Last year we were able to get our hands on some World Cup Race Service only kickwaxes that proved to be really great waxes. Both of these waxes can be used colder than their listed ranges on the waxes. They are a very limited release that we will probably not be able to restock.

-3C to -10C is made for new fresh and cold snow and provides firm grip with unmatched speed.
-1C to -7C is best in new or mixed snow and can work as a cover in manmade snow as well.

Rode is not known for their glide waxes, but we have found one of their liquids is very good. FC1 Liquid is the only glide wax we recommend from Rode. FC1 is a pure fluoro liquid with a wide range of -7C (19F) to +10C (50F) that excels around freezing but is always in the mix otherwise. We were very skeptical about a Rode glide product, but this one is legit and we used it a lot last year with great results.

Start

The legendary Finnish company does make great waxes other than Green! We have liked some of the pure fluoros, but we would like Start to clean up their numbering and product names, as they can be really confusing. 

We have really liked SFR75 powder in the -5C/-15C range. It is a must-test especially in moderate humidity. This seems to be the highlight of the line.

Start also makes two blocks that we have had success with: SFR92 and SFR99. SFR92 is a cold block for -9/-20C and mid to high humidity (Start says 55%-75%). We have liked this block on the lower end of this humidity range in particular. SFR99 is a wider-range block +9/-9C.

The liquids in the FHF line get good reviews but tend towards the pricey side. If budget allows, they are worth a test with FHF1 being the best option for above freezing and wet conditions.

We absolutely love some of Start’s kick waxes. The Oslo series is amazing, offering a combination of Start Universal Klister with traditional kickwaxes. This leads to tremendous grip and great glide in a wide range of conditions. We love all three: Green, Blue and Violet. Try these in manmade and tricky conditions!

The Racing Fluor or RF Line is great; there are four and we like them all. These are fluorinated waxes that tend to work best in new or fresh snow. We have had a lot of success with Blue, Purple, Red and Yellow. You want these in your wax box.

The tar series is a specific new snow wax, but in addition to smelling great it can really be good stuff. We recommend Start Tar around freezing and just below.

Start’s basic line is the Synthetic kicker line. We have liked the Green, Blue and Nordic in fresh sharp snow crystals. The Nordic is a cold kicker similar to a Polar.

Start added the FHF kick line two years ago as a cover wax for wet and artificial snow with varied success. Last year we found that they can be a great addition to every box. There are four of them, and we found that the FHF80 Blue -10C (14F) to -4C (25F), FHF40 Purple -2C (28F) to +2C (36F) and FHF 60 Red -5C (23F) to -1C (30F) were the best. There is also FHF20 Yellow that others have really liked.

For klisters, Universal Wide and Universal Wide Plus should be in every wax box. They are unique and very good. We have also had success with the Purple klister in 0/-5C conditions. The Special klister is made for zero conditions -2/+2C and is very good.

The FHF klister line is a winner as well, despite the price. FHF10 Red is a wet snow klister for 0C (32F) to +10C (50F) and we all know one can never have enough options in this range. Our favorite in this line is the FHF30 Purple for -5C (23F) to +2 (36F). This is a definite wet snow klister which excels when free moisture is present on the surface. Start also makes FHF50 Universal for -5C(23F) to +10C (50F).

Gallium

Gallium Giga MaxFluor Liquid destroys everything else when the conditions are right.  That is the reason we started importing it and we will keep doing it because that one wax is so amazing. It is important to note that this liquid can be good in wet or moderately wet snow down to 23F. We have made the mistake of not testing this at times when it was below freezing. The other huge winner is MaxFluor Super Wet. This one is for the real wet conditions that happen above freezing. It is worth testing against Ski*Go CM10 and MaxFluor Liquid. Gallium is also making Maxfluor Jet, which is the Maxfluor liquid in an affordable wipe which will do 2-3 pairs of skis for the Master Racer or budget-minded coach. Gallium Green Extra Base is also very good, a non-fluorinated wax good for -6/-20C. This wax has been good for us in a wide range of snow types and varied colder temperatures. We keep trying the other Gallium waxes but with varying degrees of success.

Vauhti

You need Vauhti Super Base Binder. Period. This one is the must have. It is our favorite binder wax when extreme durability is needed. Apply it very thin, iron it, let it cool and apply your top layers. It gives amazing durability and as long as you keep it thin and cover it, surprising speed. The K-line of hard waxes is also good, especially K18 (carrot), which can also serve as a binder

For klisters, the K-Line is fluorinated and can be very good. We like the K-Base, Violet and Universal Gold. You can mix the Violet and Universal Gold for great kick and glide in the 20’s.

Magnar

From the legendary Magnar Dahlen this is the cowboy kickwax of cowboy kickwaxes! It is not for the light in the wallet at about $85 a tin! There are some really good waxes here, but for most people it is out of the range due to the expense. Should you want to dabble, here is the layout of their waxes:

Magnar makes two series, the Standards No.1-No.4, and the new snow N1-N4, as well as two specialty waxes and a base binder.

Base Binder- We absolutely loved this as an all-condition binder with extreme durability and uncompromised speed. On the expensive side for a binder though, so you really have to love it!

No. 1: -8C(18F) to -15C(5F). Special wax for new, dry snow which works very well as a cover for more aggressive waxes. Excellent glide properties.

No.1 ½: -9C(16F) to -15C(5F). A “tweener” wax that fills the gap in slightly more humid snow than No. 1 & No.2. Can be used as a cover or alone.

No. 2: -6C(21F) to -12C(10F). A cold wax for all types of snow that works best in transformed and granular snow in high humidity. Can be used as a cover or “shell” wax to speed up other cold kickers.

No. 2 ½: -4C(25F) to -8C(18F). Fills a nice gap in between No. 2 & No. 3 in a key range. All snow types.

No. 3: -2C(28F) to -7C(19F). THE Magnar to have if you are getting just one. No. 3 is a universal wax for all types of snow. It covers a large range and provides excellent grip and glide. Works amazingly well when the temperature is rising from cold to warm. An excellent klister cover as well.

No. 3 ½: -1/2C(31F) to -2C(28F). When things get tricky just below freezing this wax can be a savior. Can be used to cover klister or alone in rapidly warming conditions.

No. 4: 0C to -2C(28F). Special Wax for those very difficult conditions around 0C. This is a great wax to try just before the switch to klister.

The new snow waxes have virtually the same temperature ranges as the original waxes, but for falling and new snow that has not transformed.

N1 is exceptional as a cover, the N2 is good for short races (not a tough as others in the line), N3, and N4 are best in new falling snow.

Magnar also has two specialty waxes: Vancouver 2 and Holmenkollen 3. Vancouver 2 is really good in -6/-10C and brand new or falling snow. Holmenkollen 3 is a special high humidity wax for greasy conditions like you would experience in the Northeast or Pacific Northwest or Anchorage at certain times of year. We are selling a lot of Holmenkollen 3 because it kills it in the tough conditions in the 20’s and near freezing.

Mantra

This wax line is brought into the US and marketed by former US Team wax tech Randy Gibbs. Gibbs has made a change to the line as Mantra will only produce the four liquids going forward. In talking with Randy he said the powders were just too expensive to produce so he wanted to concentrate on the liquids and develop a block line. Look for Mantra to have a couple of blocks available by mid-Winter. We do still have a limited stock of the powders so we have included their descriptions below.

Mantra makes four liquids: Green, Blue, Black and Red. We really liked the green in colder conditions last year. It was particularly stellar in right around 10F. The Blue is a great call in old and dirty snow in the -10C (14F) to 0C (32F) range. This one ideally should be called Blue/Violet because it covers that whole range. Mantra Black liquid is a quirky wax that needs to be tested in any conditions where liquids are working. Black liquid has success in cold artificial snow and warm rainy conditions. Red liquid is for those warm and wet days where Gallium, C22 and CM10 liquids are killing it.

Mantra has a six-powder line up. We have had the entire line run very well in their stated conditions.

Artic Wide -8/-19C (-2/18F) Artic Wide has a nice range and can work in conditions ranging from cold and windblown to rising into the 20’s.

Cold -6/-15C (5/21F) A cold fluor powder to test against Holmenkol Cold, Ski*Go C105 and Swix FC5X.

Mid -2/-10C (14/28F) A mid-range pure fluor that excels in new snow or slightly transformed snow below freezing.

Snow White +5/-5C (23/41F) Specifically designed for new falling snow and recently fallen snow. Think of the old Swix FC100.

Black Dog +5/-5C (23/41F) Mantra likes this wax in dirty snow and transformed snow

Warm -2/+10C (28/50F) Mantra Warm works best in wet conditions or when the snow is warming up from freezing and there is moisture building at the snow surface.

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