WHAT IS A WAX AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
WHY WAX YOUR BASE?
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU WAX YOUR BASE?
HOW DO YOU APPLY HOT WAX?
WHAT ARE HYDROCARBON WAXES?
WHAT ARE FLUOROCARBON WAXES?
WHAT ARE FLUORINATED WAXES?
HOW DOES FLUORO CONTENT AFFECT PERFORMANCE?
ARE ALL FLUORINATED WAXES CREATED EQUAL?
WHAT ARE GRAPHITE WAXES?
WHAT ARE FLUOROGRAPHITE POLYMER WAXES?
  


WHAT IS A WAX AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Wax is a lubricant that reduces friction between the base and the snow. It also reconditions and protects the base from drying/cracking and oxidation. The base is made of polyethylene, a thermoplastic. This plastic contains small pores, sort of like a sponge. These pores absorb molten wax which after solidifying is held on to the polyethylene because they are compatible. Many layers of wax deposit on the base and as the base moves on the snow some layers are left behind until eventually all the wax is gone and then it is time to re-wax.

WHY WAX YOUR BASE?
Nearly 95% of skiers and snowboarders do not maintain their bases. They get a "tune up" in the beginning of the season and believe that this is good for a year. All the hi-tech Titanal, cap construction and pre-pregs will not do you much good if the base, the place of contact with the snow, is a shaggy mess. There is also the misconception that wax is used just to make you faster and most of them "are faster than they want to be, thank you very much". But wax does a lot more than make you go faster. It makes the base glide better so turning is easier . This also gives you more control which enhances your pleasure and makes skiing or riding safer. It also protects the base from drying and cracking so your skis or boards will have a longer life so you can spend more money on lift tickets and less on equipment. And, off-course, if you do like speed, waxing will put a smile on your face.

Benefits of Waxing

  • Fun: Faster in the flats, less pushing, bigger air.
  • Safety: Easier to guide, more control.
  • Economy: Protects the base and makes it last longer.

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HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU WAX YOUR BASE?
Professionals and top competitors hot-wax every time they use their equipment, to keep it in peak condition and get the most out of their ride. For most recreational skiers and riders, though, hot-waxing every third time is sufficient, as long as a rub-on or paste wax is applied in between hot waxes to protect the base from drying out.

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HOW DO YOU APPLY HOT WAX?
There are two methods to hot wax your base:

  1. Dripping: Touch the wax to the iron and move it over the base letting wax drip on the base. Iron it in making sure that there is a layer of wax between the hot iron and the base.
  2. Crayoning: touch the bar of wax to the iron long enough for it to soften and rub the softened wax on the base. Keep doing it until the base is covered with a generous amount of wax. Iron the wax in. Crayoning takes a little more time than dripping but uses less wax.

Do not overheat the iron. It will ruin both the wax and your base. A rule of thumb is that there should be a little wisp of smoke coming from your iron when lifted from the base but it must not smoke while you are ironing wax on the base. And remember that it always takes a little time after you turn the dial for the iron to reach the intended temperature. How long to iron for? When the top of your alpine ski or board feels warm to the touch in the tip and tail areas you are done. For cross country skis iron one to two minutes per ski.

General SAFETY
The fluorinated additives must not be exposed to temperatures above 200C (390F), so keep your waxes away from flames, cigarettes and space heaters. Maintain a maximum iron temperature of 120C (250F). Always wax in a well-ventilated area.

Waxroom Safety
Quite often in waxrooms or in poorely ventilated areas there is a lot of wax vapor. The US government recommends that for prolonged exposure to high wax vapor concentrations (more than 2 milligrams per cubic meter) you protect yourself by wearing a respirator. This recommendation applies to hydrocarbon waxes of any brand.

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WHAT ARE HYDROCARBON WAXES?
Until the mid-1980s, most ski waxes were relatively simple compounds called hydrocarbons, containing exclusively hydrogen and carbon. They effectively reduce (dry friction) but are only fair, or even poor solutions to other (friction) components. Most hydrocarbons are derived from crude oil ・"natural waxes" ・ or coal ・"synthetic waxes ・and are available in a variety of hardness grades. Synthetics are particularly hard and brittle and are typically used as hardeners for petroleum-derived waxes, although they can be used alone in extreme cold conditions. Hydrocarbons are inexpensive. Hydrocarbon waxes include the DOMINATOR HX series, ZOOM, ZOOM Backshop, and Renew Zoom.

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WHAT ARE FLUOROCARBON WAXES?
Introduced in the mid-1980s, fluorocarbon waxes (more correctly called perfluorocarbons) are synthetic products containing exclusively fluorine and carbon. Applied over base waxes, they offer outstanding performance on wet and relatively new snows; they resist oil and dirt, and reduce (wet friction) and (friction from dirt). On the downside, they lack mechanical strength, are easily penetrated by aggressive snow crystals, and tend to "stick" at snow temperatures below -10C (14F). Applied by rubbing, fluorocarbon waxes have very limited durability; ironing increases durability but also poses a potential risk to both your (health) and your base. Fluorocarbon waxes are significantly more expensive than (hydrocarbon waxes). Fluorocarbon products include (DOMINATOR Q) perfluorocarbon wax in powder form.

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WHAT ARE FLUORINATED WAXES?
Fluorinated paraffins -- or fluoros -- became available around 1990. Fluoros can be blended with warm or cold (hydrocarbon waxes) to produce fluorinated waxes in a variety of hardness grades. These waxes reduce wet friction and friction from dirt. A minimum amount of fluoro (2-3%) produces noticeable effects and more (3-15% depending on humidity) provides optimum results. Fluorinated waxes include DOMINATOR痴 FX series, HyperZoom, RaceZoom, Rocket, and Nordic Gliders.

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HOW DOES FLUORO CONTENT AFFECT PERFORMANCE?
(Fluorinated waxes) can be classified as low-fluoros (0.5 ・2.5%), mid-fluoros (2.5 ・5%) and high-fluoros (5 ・15%). High-fluoros (DOMINATOR High fluoro), are typically used for racing on wet snow or when the humidity is higher than 50%, can feel sticky in very low humidity. Mid-fluoros (DOMINATOR Mid-fluoro) are for racing in humidity of 25-65% and are excellent for training in all humidity conditions. Low-fluoros (DOMINATOR Low-fluoro) are for racing in humidity under 25% and are used for junior training and recreational racing where budget considerations restrict the use of mid-fluoros.

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ARE ALL FLUORINATED WAXES CREATED EQUAL?
Although a variety of low-cost fluorinated additives, the products wax manufacturers blend with (hydrocarbon waxes) to create (fluorinated waxes), is available, only those developed specifically for waxes are suitable. Some commercial fluoro waxes contain a low-cost ultra-fine fluoro powder -- PTFE, commonly known as Teflon -- whose effectiveness as a wax additive is highly questionable. Some other brands contain 0.5% fluoro and, while their manufacturers call them fluorinated waxes, there is negligible performance advantage compared with hydrocarbon waxes.

All fluoros used in the DOMINATOR line have been molecularly designed in our own laboratories to provide optimum performance, and all DOMINATOR low-fluoro formulations contain effective amounts of fluorinated additives.

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WHAT ARE GRAPHITE WAXES?
Despite the antistatic claims of some companies, only graphites address friction from static. Graphite waxes are created by adding graphite, a black powder with antistatic and lubricating properties, to hydrocarbon or fluorinated waxes. Typically, the ratio of graphite to wax is approximately 1 to 99. The grade of graphite is critical; the smallest possible particle size must be used so it does not interfere with the base structure. Most users apply graphite wax incorrectly; the best method is to rub it on the base and then iron it in (harder waxes must first be softened by touching to the iron). This ensures uniform coverage of the base by the graphite particles. Graphite products include the DOMINATOR Electroground series (FG 07, FG 77 and FG 88). Graphite Zoom, RaceZoom New Snow and ReNew Zoom Graphite. Graphite waxes work best on natural and man-made snows that are up to three days old.

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WHAT ARE FLUOROGRAPHITE POLYMER WAXES?
In order to overcome the shortcomings of graphite waxes while still maintaining their benefits, a few years ago we started to experiment with waxes containing Fluorographite Polymer instead of graphite. Fluorographite Polymer, a light gray powder, is a state-of-the-art polymeric lubricant made by the reaction of fluorine (a gas), with graphite (a black powder) through a complex patented process. Fluorographite Polymer waxes are created by blending fluorinated waxes with Fluorographite Polymer powder. Due to the complexity of the production process, Fluorographite Polymer is much more expensive than graphite and is in limited supply. Fluorographite products include the DOMINATOR Electroground series (SRB01, SRB 11 and SRB32), RaceZoom Old Snow and Butter. These waxes work best on snow that is at least three days old.

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