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Author Topic: Idea for pollen on skis  (Read 12342 times)
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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Posts: 121


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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