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Author Topic: Idea for pollen on skis  (Read 12330 times)
Alan Brunelle
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Idea for pollen on skis
« on: 06/03/09, 12:01 PM »

This is just an untested idea for pollen clogging skis, but I have heard so much lately about the problem that I thought that I would offer it.† I would hope to test it myself if I could get out anytime soon.

First, I would suggest that minimal or no "wax" would be best.† My guess is that any wax is soft enough for pollen to adhere and embed in the wax surface.† I would probably use a liquid wipe on wax, let it dry and then brush it out as much as possible with a brass or steel brush.† These waxes tend to be fluoro waxes or combo waxes, which reportedly can ruin skin adhesives.† However, I find that if I brush the wax well after application, there is no effect on the skin glue. (In any casse the fluoro waxes are optimal for wet snow like we have right now.)† The goal here is to minimize pollen retention.

Second, I would carry the brush and maybe a scraper (the scraper mostly for stuff like tree sap).† If your ski bases are textured, then the scraper will do little to help, but the brush ought to dig out most of the pollen and return the bases to a nice sheen.†

There was one suggestion that applying a thick layer of wax would allow for the removal of pollen upon scraping away a layer of wax.† Seems reasonable, but my guess is that there is diminishing returns using that approach.† Also the first thick layer may not ski quite so well and it might actually promote the pollen buildup.

This is just an educated guess on my part.† If I do get out, I will try to apply the approach and follow up.† Don't hold your breath.

Alan
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Tokogirl
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #1 on: 06/03/09, 12:40 PM »

Pollen, dirt, etc. will adhere more to a ski base that is either already dirty or has wax residue on it.†
I use a colder wax than what the snow or air temp seems like it would require.
Here are the steps I use:
1) I clean the ski by hot scrapping or using wax remover.† Wax remover is great but dries out the ski bases and can leave a residue so make sure to wipe well and allow excess to evaporate all off before waxing.
2) Brush out the ski from tip to tail with a cooper brush (or a soft bronze brush) to make sure the ski is clean.
3) Apply wax on ski and make around three passes to make sure the wax is melted throughly.
4) Let the ski cool for around 30 minutes - this Maximizes the wax absorption into the base.
5) Using a sharp flat scrapper, scrap along the ski trying not to apply downward pressure.† Downward pressure may cause you to remove P-Tex material from the base.†
6) Don't worry about not removing all the wax by scrapping as using a stiff nylon or copper brush will remove the rest.† This may take a bit more elbow grease but results are worthwhile.
Remember: your skiing on the wax IN the base!† Wax left on the ski base will only cause gunk to build up and your skins glue to get all mucked up.

A note on best waxes:† Fluorocarbon waxes are best in moist, dirty spring conditions but are more $$.
I often carry some wax remover & scrapper with me for longer b/c ski trips.

I can elaborate more on this and other waxing questions, so don't hesitate to email me!

Teresa
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Snoqualmonix
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #2 on: 06/03/09, 12:52 PM »

Good to know your thoughts on a colder wax, that idea just popped into my head yesterday and I was going to test it tomorrow. 

I'd been using #10 Swix the last few weeks and getting horrible pollen build-up everywhere from Alpental to Baker, TOKO grip-n-glide was fairing no better, though I wasn't using a copper brush after applying it.

As far as cleaning the pollen off a friend told me he uses coleman fuel and I've been having great success with this, though I'm curious if it's causing harm to the base (Karhu XCD patern bases), though I've not witnessed anything indicating that yet.

TOKOGIRL...what are the steps you use for a hot scrape?

Cheers.
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steepdeeply
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #3 on: 06/03/09, 01:58 PM »

I heard a rumer that Rainex prevents pollen buildup , has anyone tried this?
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Big Steve
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #4 on: 06/03/09, 03:11 PM »

Half of the buds in my group have zero wax on their skis, yet they have consistently suffered from pollen build-up as much as or more than those of us with wax.† In other words, pollen sticks to P-tex just as bad as it sticks to wax.† Worse yet, pollen sticks to pollen.

I've experimented with thin and thick wax coats, cold and warm.† Pollen sticks to all of it.

Yeah, I've tried RainX and solvents (including white gas), which work for awhile (few hundred feet of verts on big pollen days, in my experience) but then the skins won't stick to the skis.† The RainX fouled my skin glue.

Although my experience with it is limited to two days, I'll continue to try the Hertel Spring Solution wax with a thicker coat and scraping after each run.† It's the best thing I've tried so far.

Edited to add:† Tokogirl, the routine you describe will work, no doubt, but it's not practical in the field between skin laps.† I also agree that wax should in in the ski, not on the ski, and thus I always scrape and brush, but I am making an exception with the Spring Solution.† I should have mentioned that in my post about SS.  The notion is that, by the end of the day, the SS wax will be scraped and brushed off a la a standard hot wax.
« Last Edit: 06/03/09, 03:21 PM by Big Steve » Logged
Tokogirl
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #5 on: 06/03/09, 03:20 PM »

Big Steve,
Did you make sure ALL the wax was off the skis after waxing?

After a day skiing there are lots of solvents that work but the harsher the chemicals the more your base will dry out and give you problems the next time out.

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Big Steve
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #6 on: 06/03/09, 03:24 PM »

Tokogirl:† Yes, when I hot wax, I scrape and brush.†  (I've been doing this for awhile.† Was a nordic waxing nerd back in the 1970's, pre-skating "wax to win" days.)† I'm making an exception for the Spring Solution, as noted above and in my separate thread.
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Tokogirl
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #7 on: 06/03/09, 03:27 PM »



I'd been using #10 Swix the last few weeks and getting horrible pollen build-up everywhere from Alpental to Baker, TOKO grip-n-glide was fairing no better, though I wasn't using a copper brush after applying it.



Yep! †the rub on waxes will pick up all the gunk because they lay on the surface or there is enough residue. †Maxiglide, F4, Maxwax, Grip-n-Glide, etc.
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Tokogirl
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #8 on: 06/03/09, 03:39 PM »

Tokogirl:† Yes, when I hot wax, I scrape and brush.†† (I've been doing this for awhile.† Was a nordic waxing nerd back in the 1970's, pre-skating "wax to win" days.)† I'm making an exception for the Spring Solution, as noted above and in my separate thread.

Took me a bit longer to reply so didn't see that one.† Just mention the scrapping/brushing, in general, as I find it is easy to leave a bit on and things get gunked.

Heck, glad the Spring Solution works.† Do you know what the composition of it is?† I'll check it out online when I get a chance.

I've been using the Toko LF (low fluoro) Moly when I get into more tree skiing.† I do carry some wax cleaner and a scraper for nasty conditions.† The Moly has great anti-static, dirt, and water repellency.
« Last Edit: 06/03/09, 03:59 PM by Tokogirl » Logged
Big Steve
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #9 on: 06/03/09, 04:06 PM »

Hertel claims that SS has fluoro content, but it's too cheap to have much fluoro content.

Tree skiing without the pollen is a distinct issue.† †I've skied for years with standard hot wax (i.e., scrape and brush) technique with warm and cold waxes, but the pollen nonetheless accumulates and the skins don't stick unless I scrape like mad and/or use some solvent and then air dry.† Note that the SS does pick up pollen, but it seems to glide somewhat better when pollen-fouled than other pollen-fouled wax.† Again, my experience with SS continues.

I will add:† Sticking skins to pollen-fouled bases is yet another matter.† Old strap-on skins would work, of course.† Clip Fix skins and Voile straps work pretty well even when the skins glue is not working.
« Last Edit: 06/03/09, 04:41 PM by Big Steve » Logged
Alan Brunelle
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #10 on: 06/03/09, 05:45 PM »

Interesting comments and experiences.

I have done a lot of ski prep with my son's race skis and the pros actually recommend a brass or steel brush to get the thinnest of wax layers.  I am aware that many use a steel brush to "clean" their skis, but if the pros do it then I think there is some validity.  I personally use a brass brush, but it can take quite a lot of elbow grease even with that brush to achieve the desired results.

I have never subscribed to what I believe is pseudo science regarding the time given to wax sitting on the base for penetration.  Once the liquid solidifies it is done.  A solid is not going to move anywhere, its just plain physics.  If the ski is heated so high as to take a half hour for the wax to solidify, then the ski was made too hot to begin with.

Some will soak skis in molten wax for days to get penetration.  Wow!  I would like to see real data to support that one!

The solvent based liquid waxes are true waxes, just liquified with the solvent.  These are pretty low viscosity (I believe lower even than hot waxes) and this is more critical to ptex penetration than anything else.  I have had real good results with this, in fact have gotten a more durable wax job (i.e. less graying of the base over time) than with many hot waxes.

Some of the other products are not really waxes but just silicone oils or the like.  These would surely mess with the skin glues.

Haven't really seen any comment on carrying the brass or steel brush on a trip.  I believe that this would be far superior to any scraper, at least on textured bases.

Alan
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Tokogirl
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #11 on: 06/03/09, 08:25 PM »

Here is the wax absorption chart.  I also have a chart for a hot box application vs. hot iron absorption.
The ski pores are like pores of your skin.  The molten wax is a barrier while you heat up the ski base with the iron.  The pores, or spaces in the material, stay open and absorb more wax on a descending time line.  The longer you can allow the pores to remain open the more wax will penetrate deeper in the base.  Molecular size of the warm waxes is smaller and the size will increase with the hardness of the wax thus warm waxes penetrate deeper.

Anyhow, hope this helps.

Brushes: I recommend softer brass, cooper, or stiffer nylon brushes as they do not create micro hairs on the ski bases which will slow the ski.


* absorptionofwax.jpg (39.05 KB, 500x360 - viewed 753 times.)
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Alan Brunelle
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #12 on: 06/03/09, 10:49 PM »

The graph seems to illustrate that most absorption occurs within the first 4 minutes or so, after which I would have to concluded that pores are being saturated.  Seems reasonable.  What is missing from the graph legend is what the conditions are during the time scale.  I would have to assume from what I see is that the absorption is measured at times of ptex exposure to molten wax.  That is, the heated wax should have been applied to a prewarmed (to the stated temperature) ptex base and remained in that temperature state for the stated times on the graph.  That would make sense to me.  The graph does not indicate that heat is removed at time zero and cooling is occuring over the time interval studied.

The graph essentially proves that hot boxes are a waste of time.  Also, the stories of US ski team techs repeatedly waxing skis all summer long to prep them for the upcoming season is also a waste of time.  After all, it would be assumed that such treatment would make sense if that meant that so much wax is absorbed that they would never have to be waxed again.  Of course that is not so.  They probably get waxed between each run.  Me thinks that these technicians are creating employment for themselves during those slow summer months.

There are lots of caveats not knowing how they set up the experimental conditions, however the data look so clean that I am assuming it to be reliable.

I am not convinced that any wax is or can be absorbed once the wax is a solid.   I would argue that it is likely that once the ptex begins to cool that the dimensions of the pores shrink and squeeze wax out of the pores.  Of course even if that did happen the pores (now smaller) would still be filled with wax.

Still I have to say that I was surprised when I got a more durable wax finish on my skis this year with a liquid wax application and brushing than my hot wax applications.  This included doing paraffin wax applications on the edge margins as recommended followed by a regular wax overlay.  This method seemed marginally better, but I went far longer before the bases looked dry with the liquid application.

I like my brass brush.  In some respects with the fiber brush I can get what appears to be a similar finish, but it takes a lot more work and in the end, if I follow up with the brass I can remove more wax as evidenced by the wax particles removed.  I don't even waste my time with the fiber brush anymore.  I really do not have steel brush experience, but it does come recommended by racers.  My guess is that a similar finish can be achieved with steel and a far less aggressive action than with the brass.  I think if care is taken it can be done without any damage.  After all, steel is used all the time to clean bases.  Choices.  But then I use a metal scraper on my skis and that is supposed to be a no-no.  My base structure lasts all season long even after a dozen wax jobs.

Why the heck to do I do all this?  I don't race!  However, I find that I spend most of the time applying and scraping the wax and the brushing takes almost no time. 

I would still like to hear of someone applying the use of a ski brush to rid the bases of pollen in the field.  If they can pull wax out of base structure, they ought to get pollen out just fine.

My biggest concern from the current posts is from Big Steve who claims that skiers who do not wax their skis still accumulate the pollen.  In this case, there might be no hope!  On the other hand a brush may still help those people as well.

Assuming that pollen is not that tightly bound to the base, then I can see where accumulated pollen could certainly foul any ski glue.  I would certainly want to get rid of it before reapplying my skins.

Alan
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markharf
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #13 on: 06/03/09, 11:23 PM »

Alan, I'm wondering what you mean when you suggest that brushing in the field might remove pollen accumulations.  In my experience, the pollen on a bad day accumulates so rapidly and in such quantities that it would clog my (brass) brush in no time.  Also, because the pollen is a tarry substance, not dry like hardened ski wax, there'd be some remaining on the ski anyway....following which another coating of tar would accumulate within several hundred feet.  What's to gain here?  Am I misunderstanding what you're saying?  Have you actually tried this? 

I've had my best luck to date with Hertl Spring Solution (second to which some of the expensive fluorinated, graphited and/or molybdenum-fortified waxes have also made a perceptible difference).  Like Steve, I've tried leaving a thick, un-scraped coating of wax in order to scrape it off in the field (with pollen coating attached) but haven't found this workable.  I've also cleaned bases with solvents between runs, and this works as well as anything--it's sometimes an absolute necessity if I want to re-skin (I haven't noticed big differences between citrus cleaners and white gas, so I carry some citrus stuff in a spray bottle; other solvents, like rubbing alcohol or paint thinner, also work).

Some folks swear by Zardoz, and I'm always meaning to try this but never get around to it.  For the most part, direct observation tells me that many people will swear by whatever they happen to have paid money for, or spent a lot of time on, or in other respects gotten over-invested in. What they swear by, therefore, doesn't necessarily bear any resemblance to whatever might actually be true--about wax choices or about anything else.  Maybe the same is true about me!

At home, I'm always convinced I'm going to outsmart the pollen next time out--by waiting until after it rains, by climbing above its elevation, by skiing only the steepest possible slopes (where base stickiness is less of a factor), whatever.  Sometimes these various strategies are successful, but sometimes they fail as miserably as anything else. 

Still looking for the magic solution.

Mark

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Tokogirl
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #14 on: 06/03/09, 11:49 PM »

Brushes are best kept at the wax bench.

Liquid waxes can work good if you have some wax already in the ski base as it will bond better and be a bit more durable.

The graph isn't the best and all I could come up with on short notice.  I am digging thru disks to find a better one.

Alan, it does really absorb more.  I saw a great demonstration by a chemist in Switzerland: used several different wax application methods on different sections of a ski and did this with 10 skis.  Shaved and analysed the wax penetration.  Best was a hot box application of soft wax at 120 degrees C for 1+ hours.  Cool, scrap, brush.
 
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Robie
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #15 on: 06/04/09, 07:17 AM »

Nature 1   Skiers 0
Actually Markhof comes the closest with go higher, go steeper,go scrape, repeat
I would never ever let my precious brass brush touch pollen.
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Mr.Doober
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #16 on: 06/04/09, 07:32 AM »

A heavy coat of pine tar on my Bonna 2400's scares off any pollen grains that even think they can get a free ride.
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Big Steve
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #17 on: 06/04/09, 07:55 AM »

Nature 1† †Skiers 0
Actually Markhof comes the closest with go higher, go steeper,go scrape, repeat

Add to that: Go east.  Far less pollen east of the crest.
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Alan Brunelle
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #18 on: 06/04/09, 09:18 AM »

Alan, I'm wondering what you mean when you suggest that brushing in the field might remove pollen accumulations.† In my experience, the pollen on a bad day accumulates so rapidly and in such quantities that it would clog my (brass) brush in no time.† Also, because the pollen is a tarry substance, not dry like hardened ski wax, there'd be some remaining on the ski anyway....following which another coating of tar would accumulate within several hundred feet.† What's to gain here?† Am I misunderstanding what you're saying?† Have you actually tried this?†


Mark,

No I have not tried it.† As stated in my original post it was a suggestion and a request to see if it was ever used.† I only posted because I saw several posts complaining about the pollen this year and did not see any posts with obvious solutions.†

If the problem is so bad that the ski is fouled in just a couple of hundred feet or so then it is obvious that there is no solution.† After all, we cannot expect the mountains to provide scrapers embedded in the snow every hundred feet to automatically clean the bottom of the ski as we descend.† The solution on that day is to just have a nice day in the hills on foot.

I necessarily was discussing days where fouling slowly accumulates such that after a fun run down or two the experience degrades.† What to do then?

If there are extreme accumulations, I can imagine a brush would foul itself pretty quickly.† Perhaps the solution there is to use the scraper to get the bulk of the gunk off and then use the brush to clean out the rillling in the base structure.† My guess is that the material in the base structure seriously impedes performance and at the same time promotes faster re-accumulation.† On the other hand, if it builds up that fast, there really is no solution is there?

Toko,

I am not inclined to leave the brushes home until someone tells me that they have tried it and it did not work.† I would prefer to find out myself, if the situation presents itself and then I will let you know if it works or not.† I would hate to walk away from a possible solution based on speculation.† Again I am not talking about extreme accumulations.

I would be interested in how deep waxes can penetrate into ptex.† Micrometers, millimeters, centimeters?† Also, what is the efficiency of penetration with depth?† On the other hand what practical value does that level of penetration yield?† It would be hard to argue that wax that is below the surface and cannot come into contact with the snow could offer any performance value to a ski.† I would doubt that wax deep into the pores somehow gradually extrudes out and refills the surface.

Again, I have never seen a report from wax techs or any articles on waxing to suggest that a hot box preparation meant that a race team could rewax skis at longer intervals of use.† Fact is the skier is skiing on the wax that was last applied.† And they always rewax, the needs more in line with the changing snow/temp conditions.† I have no doubt that the wax suppliers would have us believe that applying wax daily, in- and off-season, would be beneficial.† To what end?† What incremental improvement is gained?

Alan


 
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Big Steve
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #19 on: 06/04/09, 10:30 AM »

Quote from: BigSnow
If the problem is so bad that the ski is fouled in just a couple of hundred feet or so then it is obvious that there is no solution.†

Well, there is no complete solution that will render the bases slick as they would be in non-pollen conditions, but Markharf and I (the only two contributors who have tried the product) have offered that Hertel Spring Solution helps to smooth out the ride.† It's not a complete solution, but it's not so bad -- I did a 1300 foot run last Saturday on pollen fouled Spring Solution-waxed bases, and it was slow but tolerable and non-jerky, better and faster than pollen-fouled bare P-tex or other waxes.† Markharf and others and I have also related our experience that scraping and judicious use of solvent (citrus cleaner is the popular one, but I agree with Markharf that white gas seems to work just as well) is the only way we've figured to remove the pollen, aka Kascade Klister.† I have not tried brushing, but I sometimes do use Scotchbrite to remove gunk after using solvent.† I'm inclined to agree that a brush would quickly get so clogged as to be worthless.† If someone has a better system, I'm all ears.† † Grin

Edited to add:† Toko relates some good sound conventional waxing wisdom, but it does not directly address the pollen issue.
« Last Edit: 06/04/09, 10:34 AM by Big Steve » Logged
Alan Brunelle
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #20 on: 06/04/09, 10:52 AM »

I like the first hand accounts for the success of the Hertel product.

It looks like it is a partially fluorinated wax product and works best if hot waxed in.  I wonder if the fluoro component is what reduces the pollen stick?  Can other fluoro waxes do the same?

However, your description is that there still was some fouling to deal with.  This is probably not such an issue on a short trip, especially if the product makes the trip possible at all.  If you want to extend the trip, then removing the pollen that does adhere without removing the Hertel seems reasonable if you overwax slightly, as you suggested. 

They say that the wax can be rubbed on, but I would not do that for fear that the weak application could foul ski glues.  I think your solution is a better way to go.

Why does pollen stick to bases that are unwaxed?  Does it carry its own coating of resin on its surface?  It does not stick to my windshield, even after it has become wet with dew.  Seems odd that it should stick to "dry" ptex.  I can see pollen becoming embedded in the softer waxes.  Maybe there is other unseen crap that the ski picks up that then captures the pollen.

I will still try my brush idea and report on it if I can get out.

Alan
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Big Steve
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #21 on: 06/04/09, 11:58 AM »

Why does pollen stick to bases that are unwaxed?

I don't know why, but it does, as evinced by my buddies's skis, which go waxless year round.  As I remarked above, the big problem is that pollen sticks to pollen, hence the build up.
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Robie
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #22 on: 06/04/09, 04:45 PM »

Day 2
Nature 2  -Skiers 0
I have always used Hertals Fc 739 highly flourinated ,hot deep waxed (think deep massage deep deep into the pores )and scraped and brass brushed down down to ptex. I,ve always scraped the pollen off.
Perhaps the pollen is confused by fir /spruce /poplar cores?
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Big Steve
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #23 on: 06/04/09, 05:36 PM »

I'm not a botanist nor microbiologist, but my guess is that pollen naturally selected to stick to stuff.† Check out the pics here
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Alan Brunelle
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #24 on: 06/04/09, 08:48 PM »

I do have some experience with plants and the target of pollen is the stigma or the female part of the plant.  However, it is usually the stigma that is what we would call sticky or often wet.  However on a microscopic point of view these little suckers have lots of spiny like things that could stick into the surface of wax or ptex.  But my experience is that when you scrape the stuff off it is sticky all by itself, unlike the pollen that falls onto my car.  It might be that the plants around my house are different and the mountain pollen is one that is really sticky.

I have also raised bees and the pollen that they collect will pack together well, but breaks up as if it were a packed powder.  However the plants they get there pollen from are unlikely to be ones that do the dirty work around these mountains.

Alan
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markharf
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #25 on: 06/04/09, 10:35 PM »

Nature 3, skiers 0.

A quick tour today left moderate, not extravagant accumulations on my waxless skis.  Not bad, considering that whenever I brushed against an alder sapling it left a cloud of green smog in the air and covered my clothes, skin and hair with stylish green blotches.

I think the reason your car doesn't get covered with gooey tar is that you don't habitually drag it windshield down, through pollen-covered snow for miles and miles (I hope). Consider:  skiing at 20 mph ground speed you cover a mile in three minutes.  That's a lot of ground, and a lot of pollen compared to leaving a car to sit passively in the pollen haze for a couple of days. The two situations are not at all comparable.

You can easily confirm this by leaving your (waxed, I hope) skis out, bases up, next to your car; they'll accumulate the same dusting of green stuff that your windshield will.  No difference. It'll clean just as easily, too.

By the way, it's mostly alder pollen.  In the southeast something similar happens with pine pollen...but they've given up skiing by that time of year. 

We've been over this a number of times through the years.  No one's come up with any workable solutions, although various people have described their partial cures.  Part of the problem is that by the time we really get ranting about pollen, it's about to disappear.  Furthermore, it comes and goes (or at least its accumulation on ski bases waxes [sic] and wanes) according to an unfathomable schedule.  Sometimes I've skied identical terrain under what seem like identical conditions just a week or so apart; one day will feature heavy tar sludge, the next will be almost pollen-free.  Why is this? 

I could easily be fooled into thinking that on the second occasion my clean bases are due to whatever "cure" I've been testing that day....until the following week, when I'm again struggling to gain any forward momentum on moderate slopes.  My personal theory is that rain---and probably certain kinds of meltwater---washes the snow clean.  But that's probably not it either.  I've also speculated that sun or heat de-activates the pollen somehow, but today's experience--coming on the tail end of our annual unexpected record-breaking heat wave--quashes that idea convincingly.

enjoy,

Mark

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Big Steve
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #26 on: 06/05/09, 06:34 AM »

Quote from: markharf
Part of the problem is that by the time we really get ranting about pollen, it's about to disappear.

Word.† This too shall pass.
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Jim Oker
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #27 on: 06/06/09, 11:25 AM »

Pollen happens, in other words, eh?

Mark - I was also wondering on the on-off nature of the sticking. In recent ski lapping, I noticed that as the slopes that had gunked my skis on earlier runs (followed each run with some scraping to get down at least close to the p-tex), I picked up far less toward the end of day when the slopes slid into shade and started to freeze up a bit. So perhaps it's the reverse - that pollen sticks much better when warm and moist, versus cool and drier? I'm sure there are multiple other variables in play...

I'll have to try the Hertel's. I've used Rain-x w/o trouble (other than that the skins didn't stick quite as well until placing the ski on the snow, at which point they stayed stuck just fine for the climbs; and on subsequent skis over a few seasons, have noticed nothing other than the typical slow and steady degredation of the skin glue - so if this added to that degradation it was only a slight addition), but as with a windshield, I buff-buff-buffed like crazy to get off all residue possible with my paper towel. I seemed to get more glide than pals on about a 2K run down, but it is hard to say for sure that it was because of the Rain-x.

I guess I'll go accumulate some more pollen tomorrow...
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Andrew Carey
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #28 on: 06/06/09, 09:23 PM »

...
I think the reason your car doesn't get covered with gooey tar is that you don't habitually drag it windshield down, through pollen-covered snow for miles and miles (I hope). ...


Whose car, Mark?  When I looked out the window this morning my blue PU was green (again, after I washed it);  where I live, you start up your car and drive it fast to try and blow as much pollens as possible off before you try washing the windshield.  My silver Airstream trailer is also green and there is accumulated densely packed pollen in all the seams.  The dark green metal roofs of our outbuildings are now light green. Hope it rains.  The longer the pollen stays the stickier it gets.

We've had alder pollen and hemlock pollen and, I think silver fir pollen (I live in the woods).  Sitting outside a week ago, drinking a beer, all of a sudden we were enveloped in a pollen cloud from silver fir or hemlock; then another cloud.  I've seen the airspace of nearly entire valley swamped with Doug-fir pollen.  Can't wait for it to stop.
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... want your own private skintrack? Better move to the yukon dude. (B'ham Allen, 2011).
...USA: government of the people by corporate proxies for business.

Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
markharf
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #29 on: 06/06/09, 10:10 PM »

Andrew, I guess I've been so sure it's mainly alder pollen for so long that I've forgotten why I'm so sure.  At any rate, the only empirical evidence with which I'm intimately acquainted is that when I walk through alder thickets during prime season, this is what happens (photo stolen from the Seattle Times): 

Apparently, the release of pollen is timed to happen just ahead of leafing out--the presence of leaves might interfere with release and accumulation of pollen particles.  I need no further explanation for the coatings on my ski bases, but even if I did I've never experienced anything like this in fir, cedar, or even the eastern hardwood forests.  As I said, the southern yellow pines leave similar accumulations of green stuff everywhere during spring.

So if you've noticed that pollen gets stickier the longer it sits around, that would be an alternate explanation for the variations in stickiness, along with Jim's observation that the problem ebbs as the air temps drop at the end of the day.

FWIW, a lot of people make a lot of claims about what does or doesn't contaminate skin glue, but I've never noticed any substantial difference no matter what I do--and that includes dropping freshly-re-glued skins in piles of roadside pine needles, as I did last month. 

enjoy,

Mark
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Jonathan_S.
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #30 on: 06/07/09, 05:48 PM »

I dealt with gunk build-up frequently when I lived in Boston and skied in a skate race every Tuesday night.  (Yes, Boston has a nordic ski area - at the junction of two interstate highways, and gets its snowmaking water for free from the adjacent Charles River.)  The longer the season went on, the dirtier the snow became.  I remember some evenings started off with a V2 Alternate that soon became a slow V1 ... oh the agony!

Anyway, three important points:
- If gunk build-up is a concern, then never ever use the softest/warmest wax in a companyís line-up.  (The local Toko rep would always stress this.)
- The longer you keep ironing the ski, the more wax will be absorbed into the base.  That is what the previously posted graph shows.
- The longer you wait until scraping & brushing, the less wax that will remain on the surface of the ski (which is your goal).  The issue is that once you remove that iron and the wax becomes solid, then the wax starts getting expelled from the base.  So letís say you wait just a few minutes in a warm summer-time workroom, then scrape and brush.  Ski looks well-scraped and thoroughly brushed now, right?  Well, yes, right now it is, but eventually more wax will come up to the surface of the ski . . . and if not thoroughly scraped and brushed, then it will attract more dirt.
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Andrew Carey
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #31 on: 06/07/09, 07:32 PM »

incense cedar pollen:


spruce pollen:


Pollen clouds from conifers can be awesome :-)
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... want your own private skintrack? Better move to the yukon dude. (B'ham Allen, 2011).
...USA: government of the people by corporate proxies for business.

Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
Moscawulff
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #32 on: 06/07/09, 07:45 PM »

Another note on pollen:

Conifers will have a "bumper year" every three-four years depending mostly on regional climates and species. This year is likely such a year for us here in the NW and we'll experience a much greater amount of pollen as a result. For anyone who's into cone collection or just likes practice firing a .22, this is exciting. Best of luck to everyone with fighting off the sticky glop...   
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Robie
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Re: Idea for pollen on skis
« Reply #33 on: 06/07/09, 07:58 PM »

Silver peak snoqualomie.
Nature 4 skiers 0
steep turns were fun .
4 skiers four methods
1)Soft wax bad
2)pariffin ok
3)Hertal fc739 not too bad but finally gunked up
4)Scrape and WD 40 good for 1000' or so rescrape reapply WD40
much discussion,much scraping ,much WD40 †
passed a skier who swears by rainex but don't get rainex on skins/
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