It was 27-28F and snowing during both events. Shortly before the finish of the men’s race, it stopped. The snow was pretty dry for Anchorage at this temperature and the tracks were not glazing.
Our waxes of the day were for glide: LF Moly followed by HF Red covered by JetStream Red. For kick: a thin coat of BaseWax Green covered by Carbon Grip Red. In these non abrasive conditions, ironed in Carbon Grip Blue would have also been a fine base layer.
The snow breaking under foot was a factor today. This is when the snow sticks to the wax on the ski OK, but breaks underneath creating a slip. In this situation, it is good to wax a little longer than normal to increase the contact area of the wax to the snow which ought to minimize the shearing (breaking) of the snow. Some of the women who did quite well added some Carbon Grip Yellow in under foot and were very happy with it.
Day of Race Skate Ski Selection by Chris Cook
With two skate races completed here at US Nationals in Alaska, ski selection may have been a crucial aspect of having the best skis for the races. The first race was the sprint and the track was extremely variable. There were sections of extremely hard tracks as well as the couple of hills on the course rapidly falling apart to a sugary mix. Now normally in testing skis you pick out your fastest pair, but for sprinting it is best to test your skis at speed and be sure you have the ski that runs the best throughout the entire course and not just at one section of the course. This may result in your number two or three pair especially when you have an extremely variable track condition. Through our testing we found two pairs that were running similar well, but there was one pair that was just feeling better in the sugar climbs as well as handling the hard track. We made the decision and ended up with good boards throughout the entire sprint day. Next came the skate day, which was even trickier as conditions were rapidly warming and all of the ski testing had to be done on race morning. Again like the sprint course the 5km lap had many variable conditions as well. To our surprise there were still many teams testing in the stadium which was a much harder track condition. We made our way out a ways onto the course were we could hit several of the major climbs on the course, and loop back to our skis in a short amount of time to make it through the several pairs of skis we had to get through. Again when you are testing for variable conditions you have to pay real close attention to the feeling of skis and also anticipate what the track is going to do throughout the race. It was clear that the climbs were just going to get softer and softer so in your testing you wanted to keep in mind that your stiffer skis were going to push more and more snow in the later laps. However, you don’t want to get all carried away and pick your softest pair as there were still sections of hard fast tracks on the course. You have to call on your experience in these situations, using all the information you have gathered in your testing, and pick the best ski for the condition. I ended up choosing a medium universal flex skate ski and did it ever run. Always remember picking the best skis for the condition can be as important as picking your wax.
Steinbock’s Chris Cook