Introducing the Alaska Ski for Women, a fundraiser to help stop the cycle of domestic abuse against women and children and also a really fun outing! Toko has supported this important event for the past 17 years.
Alaska Ski for Women – an important event
The colorful Alaska Ski for Women (ASFW) is North America’s largest women-only cross-country ski event. This is a great event where women of all ages and abilities come out to Nordic ski approximately 2.4 miles (4K), many in colorful costumes, while raising funds for local non-profit organizations that help stop the cycle of domestic abuse against women and children. This is not only a fun event, it’s also a fundraising event! Through the generous donations of ASFW participants, and the hard work of the all volunteer committee, the race has been able to make an impact in the community by contributing over $1,000,000 to groups that actively work to improve
Held every year since 1997 the Anchorage event originally had nothing to do with the Super Bowl and started as a way to get more women out skiing together. That it was set on the same day as the football game was a coincidence -it was the only Sunday left with no race scheduled when the initial reservations were made. Since then, organizers kept the race on the day of the Super Bowl because it offered a great reason for women to have fun and raise money on a winter day when people are in a celebratory mood already.
The primary purpose of this event is to get women out and take away their excuses. It certainly is a nice date and the event gets done in time to watch the Super Bowl. Race Director, Tamra Kornfield said 500 women signed up for the event this year, a slight drop from last year’s numbers but the goal is to get more women interested in the sport as well as supporting a good cause. While it’s not yet known exactly how much money was raised this year, Kornfeld said last year the group raised about $50,000 in donations. Teams dressed in costumes including a Chinese dragon, hot air balloons, a lion, a gorilla, devil’s club and public school busses. A team dressed as “Google Maps” claimed victory in the costume contest. Olympic cross country skier Kikkan Randall was one of the costume contest judges. Randall said that the trail was well-maintained with manmade snow despite the lack of natural snow. Were it not for the snow making equipment at Kincaid Park the last two season, the Ski for Women might well have been a walk as it was in 2005 when there was no snow on the ground.
I have been a wax volunteer for the ASFW since the inaugural event in 1996. Initially a group of volunteers took over the Kincaid Park wax bunker and provided skate and kick wax services. TOKO started providing wax for the event in 1999 when I first came on board as a member of the TOKO Tech Team. The bunker was being renovated in 2001 for the World Special Olympics held in Anchorage and was unavailable for use for the Ski for Women. That year, myself and Mark Strabel set up our tables and tents in the stadium near the start and provided kick wax service to participants. Being near the start and seeing the costumes and the joy of the participants gave good reason to continue with kick wax service outside in the stadium. Glide wax service is also provided through rub-ons and paste. The following year TOKO became the proud and exclusive wax product sponsor of the Ski for Women and has been ever since.
In the 20 years I have been associated with this event there have been many volunteers who have stood outside and waxed skis. Some come for a year and others keep coming back. Each volunteer gets a TOKO hat and an apron. It is understood that regardless of the weather preceding the event or the forecast the day before, the morning of the ASFW will be cold and windy. These past few years I have been fortunate that a reliable core of volunteers has been available to wax. Chet Fehrmann, Ira Edwards, Eric Schwalber, Jay Holton and Matt Claman.
Toko is proud to support the Alaska Ski for Women and will continue to support it. Thank you to the organizers and the other supporters who make it possible.
– Patrick McGownd, Toko Tech Team Member since 1999
Bauer Wins the Pepsi Challenge
Hayward’s 3 time olympian John Bauer won last weekend’s Pepsi Challenge race. Here’s what he ended up waxing with:
I went with Toko HF Black then HF Red/ Yellow 50:50. I thought there was pretty good structure in the skis already so I did not re-rill. I did the red and yellow Structurite tool before adding JetStream Red and I put on a coat of the Red Helix. Perhaps I should have had more structure in…but there really wasn’t much one could do with the new snow that wasn’t much tilled when the sun hit it.
I think it was a good effort. I skied relaxed and in the pack until I led out after 3k. Skied the Silver with a few pushes over the hills and then was alone at the 11k point on in. There were a few lurchy spots on the downhills and the skis were noisy on the sun-drenched hills.
Congratulations to John on his overall win despite being 47 years old!
Wax Report from JNQ Spokane, WA
We had our last JNQ event last weekend in Spokane, and I took 10 athletes to compete in the mass start classic and individual start skate events.
Conditions were slated to be challenging: with warm temperatures and no recent snow it was transformed but somewhat sloppy. The classic race had a possibility of new snow which I was hoping to avoid! Given the high moisture and rapidly rising temps during the day we went with LF Yellow and LF black mixed for both days as a glide base layer. Then I tested JS Red and JS Yellow blocks and found some mixed results: the JS Red ran well in the more frozen snow, but even without the temperatures rising, as the tracks (classic) or platform (skate) got more skied and transformed further the Yellow came into play. I opted for yellow on both days given where our athletes were starting in the order, and also used the yellow structurite. Next I want to play around with some linear 1mm rill to accompany the structure sometimes, as I think that would help further channel the transformed snow’s moisture down the ski – thoughts?
For kick in Saturday’s race, I first tested a green drywax vs. klister binder. Both skied comparably fast but out of fear of wear (lots of snowplowing, sharp corners) I went with the klister figuring it would increase tenacity. I covered the green binder first with Red, and tested that against a Red/Yellow mix. The Red was solid for most of the day’s races; it held well for kick and glide without getting slick as the tracks further glazed. However the later starters were the U14 classes and I wasn’t confident they’d be able to make it work (a few had issues in their warmup). I also wanted to keep the speed of the Red, so I just dabbed in some yellow. This small amount did the trick to add a bit more kick under the foot without sacrificing glide.
– Sam Naney, Head Coach Momentum Northwest
CXC Wax Report
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
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, 8th for 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
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.
– Brian Gregg