The American Birkebeiner is truly the “Super Bowl of Skiing” and the 2016 American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) schedule of events did not disappoint the 12,000 skiers who flocked to Hayward, Wisconsin to enjoy the festivities and trails of the North Country. The crazy weather was a different story; it caused a bit of stress for skiers, coaches, and wax technicians, including the Central Cross Country Skiing (CXC) wax team of Karmen Whitham, Marty Donegan, and Bruce Manske.
The glide wax was the easy part of Birkie waxing. We cleaned the ski bases with Toko LF Blue (-30 to -10 C); although the LF Blue is a hard wax, it aids in harden the base of a ski, and makes them run faster in transformed snow conditions; and, fluorine tribloc acts as a bonding agent for Top Finish products. Next, we applied a two layer of a 1:1 mixture of Toko HF Hot Wax Black and Toko HF Hot Wax Yellow (-6 to 0 C). The Black is very similar to the temperature Toko HF Hot Wax Red (-12 to -4 C), except the Black contains DLC additive for maximum dirt repellency. The Birkie groomers did an awesome job of preparing the course, but due to the thin snow cover and rainy weather, the course had a fair mount of dirty snow. Therefore, it was important to apply a double layer of wax. Toko HF Hot Wax Yellow has selected because of the high-fluorine content and its very durable, which aids in repelling water and dirt, and makes for fast skis.
The CXC wax team top coated each ski with JetStream Bloc 2.0 Yellow. The JetStream was cranyoned on across each ski and then melted with a fiberlene-covered iron. A very thin second coat of JetStream was then crayoned on the skis. This layer we rubbed into the ski with a dedicated cork; followed by lightly brushing with a soft nylon brush and polishing with a Toko Thermopad. The JetStream improved the speed and glide of the skis due to its high abrasion-resistant design.
The kick wax was challenging for most coaches and wax technicians due to the weather conditions, which included precipitation throughout the day, along with a glazing track, thousands of skiers, and the marathon distance factor. The CXC waxing crew, lead by Karmen Whitman, decided to use a combination of Toko Klisters. Nordic Base Klister Green was applied to the skis as a foundation layer; this was followed by a 1:1 mixture of Nordic Klister Yellow, designed for moist snow, and Nordic Klister Red, which has a wide range and is designed for transformed snow; Red is often used as a universal application.
We tested covering the Klister with several different hard waxes, including Toko X-Cold; the hard wax cover had limited success, and we decided to primarily remain with the Toko Yellow and Red Klister combination. In a few cases, we added an additional layer of the Yellow/Red for additional kick, along with extended the Klister zones. Another test, with limited success, included adding a layer of a universal Silver Klister. Yes, the freeze and thaw conditions of the trail, and the changing conditions between coarse and transformed moist to wet fine grained snow created a variety of challenges.
At the end of the day, The CXC Marathon Team, the CXC Masters Team, and the CXC coaching staff were very pleased with the performance of Toko wax and the results at the 2016 American Birkebeiner:
Alice Flanders led the CXC women’s team in 10th in the 52k freestyle Birkie and Hillary Patzer finished 44nd. In the 55k classic Birkie, Nicolette Reker led the CXC women with a 20th place finish. Abbie Drach won the women’s Korterloppet in a time of 1:06:25.3. Duncan Douglas led the CXC men’s team finishing 31st in the 52k freestyle Birkie (as a 50year old!), with Cory Ellertson following close behind in 37th, while Chris Pappathopoulos finished 42nd. In the 55k classic, Nick Power just missed the top of the podium finishing second overall, with Andy Brown following close behind in fourth.
Central Cross Country Ski Association
CXC Development Coach
Birkie Wax Report
This year I was the only one of the Sugar Bowl to do the Birkie. Here are a couple strategies I used to have competitive skis while waxing for myself. The first thing I did was to apply my LF Moly layer at home before flying. This meant one less layer of waxing to do on Friday night. One great thing about the Birkie is the huge amount of testing and recommendations made public for the race. On Friday, I focused on getting a nice easy ski, with some pickups, to get ready for the race as well as eating a lot of food. After reading through the wax reports Friday afternoon, I wax my two wettest pairs of skis with Toko HF Yellow and Toko Jetstream Yellow Powder 2.0. I also applied a fairly aggressive structure pattern. The morning of the race I tested the two pairs of skis I waxed the night before. Once I picked the faster one I sprayed it down with Yellow Helix 2.0 and was ready to go. Toko makes wax recommendations for a ton of races you can find here. If you are traveling without a wax tech, there is a lot to be said for using wax recommendations, keeping the number of race morning wax decisions reasonable, and making sure you are physiologically ready to go.
– Spencer Eusden, Sugar Bowl Elite Team
47 Year Old John Bauer finishing 30th (and winning age group of course) in the American Birkebeiner
John skied on Toko LF Black then followed by Toko HF Black which he then covered with JetStream Yellow block (ironed with fiberlene), and finally covered with HelX 2.0 Yellow. John also pressed in a Toko linear structure followed by the Toko Red and Blue Structurite bits. Congratulations John! (Photo: Chris Young)
Race report from Vuokatti, Finland Masters World Championships
Almost 1000 athletes representing 24 countries have recently concluded their competitions. Team USA concluded their “Global Warming in Finland” experience returning with 16 medals for the United States. 10 of those medals were won on Toko HF Yellow topped with Jet Stream Yellow!
Day 1 of the competition was held on 80% manmade moist snow on a course averaging 20cm in depth with temps hovering at -9C for the classic event. Toko Red dry wax kicking on HF Blue / Jet Stream Blue worked very well for all, producing a Gold Medal for Trina Hosmer and a Silver for Bob Gray. Top 10 finishes were also recorded on Toko HF Blue for Carolyn Tiernan, Inge Scheve, Kent Murdoch, David Ford, and Louise Wholey who substituted Jet Stream Red and most likely other Toko solutions that have not yet been confirmed.
Temperatures rose for the remaining events, becoming Zeros and klister type conditions for the remaining 6 races. All but the final Freestyle events were conducted with rain/snow falling at -1C to +3C just before and often during the races. Structure and massive fluoros became the weapons. The tracks were so thin, grey and brown on day 3, most classic skiers elected to go on Zeros for the 10K. Trina Hosmer was golden, Bob Gray was Silver and Abett Icks was Bronze on Toko HF Yellow/ Jet Stream Yellow. Most Toko skiers used the Red Structurite tool even though there was a fear of dirt because tracks and changing lanes were so sucky.
The 4X5K relays had the benefit of some additional wet snow improving the dirt element somewhat. Many USA athletes had their highest placing of the week. One team in 5th, 3 teams in 4th, and a bronze for Katie Meyer, Donna Difolco, Carolyn Tiernan and Trina Hosmer. Toko HF Yellow/ Jet Stream Yellow were on the final 2 legs for certain for that team.
The final distance races became easier calls on wax and ski selection. The classic event was all won on klister with the prior 4-day’s selection of all yellow combinations for glide. The skate event finally cooled down to -2C allowing the HF Red/Yellow covered with Jet Stream Red to make the podium. Two confirmed uses with a substitution of AX 134 with the Toko HF choice of the day produced great high-end speed of noteworthiness. Kent Murdoch and I were able to be in the top 3 at 500 Meters in all races that we used AX134. I came out of the worst start lanes in all 3 races to a top 5 position at the base of the first climb, thereby avoiding the cluster.
Best finishes of the week were recorded with a 5th for Inge Scheve, 6th for Kent Murdoch, Bronze for Katie Meyer, Silver for Milan Baic, 5th for Donna Difolco, 5th for Nancy Bauer, 8thfor David Ford, 4th for Carolyn Tiernan, Gold for Trina Hosmer, 5th for Abett Icks, Silver for Bob Gray and a Bronze for Carol Devoe. A confirmed 9 of those skiers had a Toko HF and Jet Stream layer. Great week for Toko gliding! Substantial testing produced solid waxing recommendations throughout the week.
– Dave Ford, Toko Tech Team
Noah Hoffman battling it out at the Lahti World Cup last weekend
Report from Owl Creek Chase
Variable conditions for this years Owl Creek Chase 21k Classic. Sunny daily highs in the mid 40s and lows in the teens made for transformed snow but tilling brought fresh snow back for sections of the course. I prepped for glide with Toko HF Blue/HF Red mix at 1:1. I powdered with JetStream Red 2.0, with a sprinkling of Yellow 2.0 on the tails. I used a Toko Green base kick wax and Blue klister binder ironed in. I covered with a mix of Toko green base and another brand’s blue (under the foot). Skis were super fast, although I could have used a bit more klister for additional kick on the steep climbs and south facing slopes.