Getting to know the Toko All Stars: Mary Rose
1. Who was your skiing role model when you were growing up and why? Growing up, my older teammates were who I looked up to. Watching their success with cross-country skiing inspired me year to year.
2. What skier inspires you currently and why? Maria Nordstrom is my current skiing role model. I skied with Maria at the University of Colorado during the 2013 NCAA season. Her motivation was contagious and has inspired me ever since. She has made big gains in her skiing, including a top-30 World Cup finish, and is now a member of the Swedish National Development Team. Maria’s work ethic, success, and improvements motivate me day to day.
3. Favorite race course and why? My favorite place to race is the Steamboat Springs NCAA 5k course. It is one of the most challenging courses I have ever skied. Not only do you climb for 3k at the beginning, you have a 1.5k descent at the end that is fairly technical. It is super fun and challenging course and is unlike any other course I have skied.
4. Favorite workout and why? My go-to workout is a sustained threshold running workout up Bald Mountain (the alpine ski mountain) in Ketchum, ID. The single track up Bald Mountain has varying terrain all the way to the top. You are constantly having to transition between a ski walk and a run. On top of going threshold for 1 hour, you climb a total of 3,000ft. The workout is extremely hard but that is why I am obsessed with it.
5. Favorite place to train and why? My favorite place to train is Ketchum, ID. There are a wide variety of activities surrounding Ketchum so training is never boring or repetitive. Paved bike paths surround town, so rollerskiing is safe (no cars). Ketchum also has 5 mountain ranges surrounding it, so weekend adventures are always epic. In the winter we have over 100km of groomed trails. Ketchum offers the best training opportunities in the world, in my humble opinion.
6. Favorite movie line and why? “I take [my coffee] black…like my [Toko Gloves] ” – Airplane
I can’t live without coffee, especially taking my coffee black. So naturally this line really resonates with me.
7. Favorite Toko glove model (and/or color) and why? I have chronic cold hand issues and thankfully Toko makes an incredible Racing Overmitt. I use the Overmitt for training every single day (no overstatement) and sometimes during races if it is really windy or if the temperatures are brutally cold. Toko Racing Overmitt’s are a must for every cross-country skier. Overmitt’s = warm hands!
“You’re the best! My gf loves those gloves you gave her. Her hands are always so cold, but we skied at 0F the other day and literally her direct quote was ‘wow, at first I thought there’s no way they would be very warm cause they’re not really thick, but my hands are so hot in these things!!’
Anything that keeps my girlfriend warm while she skis is a good product.”
– Reese Hanneman, 2014 US National Champion
(The Toko Arctic Mitt is also available in Black)
First Look – Toko T18 Digital Wax Iron
Toko has a new digital T-18 wax iron that they’re rolling out, with commercial availability scheduled for mid-2015.
I got my hands on one a bit early, and have been using it here in the shop at Ultratune, for evaluation, and thought I’d share some information and my impressions.
The new T-18 is a step up in performance and price from the Toko T-14 digital iron that has been very popular the past few years. The new T-18 is clearly a different design and fabrication entirely. In fact, it shares a lot of the design with the translucent blue Star digital iron, but is updated.
The T-18 has a pretty stout aluminum base plate, smooth, with no grooves. It’s beveled along the rear edge for ramping up on wax (or powders) without “plowing”, but the beveling is on the back edge only — no bevels on the sides or front edge.
The T-18 is an 800W iron. With the big base plate and a very good thermostat, I find it to be very well regulated and accurate, and in fact I feel that this is the biggest improvement in performance over the T-14.
In addition, the power cord exits from the side instead of the back. If your wax bench is set up so that the ski tip is on the right side, and you drive the iron right-to-left (using the beveled edge), then the cord hangs out the front, nicely out of the way. I really like this little feature. Not a huge deal, but if you’re using an iron a lot, then little details like this make a difference.
Another feature that I like is that the T-18 remembers the temperature setting you’re using.
With the less expensive T-14 iron, every time you power-up the iron you need to adjust the temp setting. This can be good or bad. If you were cooking some high temperature top-coats into the skis (at, say, 160 C) and then shut down the iron, and then re-start it tomorrow to do a simple cleaning wax, then the T-14 will re-boot at the regular 130C setting, and you won’t smoke your yellow hydrocarbon wax. On the other hand, if you’re commonly running the iron at 120C, then it gets a bit annoying to have to turn down the iron every single time you power it up.
With the T-18, the iron remembers the thermostat setting you were using when it was turned off, and re-starts at the same temperature. For me, that’s a very minor little detail, but here in the shop where I’m laying down a base layer of soft thermo-box wax on lots and lots of skis, it’s handy that the T-18 remembers my basic setting.
What do I not like? I think the front and side edges are abrupt, and could have a little bit of a bevel to make it easier to use the iron in a variety of orientations. As it is, straight from the box, the T-18 really needs to be driven down the ski in one orientation only. For myself, I will likely bevel the front and side edges myself with a bit of careful hand-tool work. This is really minor, and I definitely plan to continue using the T-18 as my primary iron here at Ultratune at my wax bench.
The T-18 is not an inexpensive iron. It will sell for roughly two-and-a-half times as much money as the T-14 iron (yes, somewhere over $300 but exact pricing is TBD). Is it a better iron than the T-14? Yes it is. Will it inherently make your skis faster than another iron? No it won’t.
For me, the Toko T-18 digital wax iron is a very nice professional-level tool that I’ll be using in the shop here at Ultratune, and I’ll have a few on hand in the shop for sale, too. But I expect that the T-14 will still hit the sweet spot on price and performance for most skiers.
This was an unsolicited 3rd party review from Nordic Ultratune in Winthrop, Washington. To read it on their website, click here
Introducing the Toko Stars and Stripes Glove Collection