Slow in the Tracks

Q: At a recent frigid race in the UP, we had light lake effect snow falling on a nice hard groomed base. The classic track was significantly slower than the skate deck, even after skiers from a shorter race had skied in the tracks. Nobody used the tracks from the elite wave. Some skiers with stiffer skis and medium grinds reported faster skis than those of us with soft flexes and “cold” grinds. Flouro didn’t seem to make a difference one way or the other. What was going on here?

A: In the new cold snow you were in the classic tracks were most likely slower because the ski base had a greater surface area contacting the new cold sharp (slow) crystals. On the corduroy, the skis had a smaller surface area trying to glide over the new sharp crystals there by reducing glide. If it was so cold and dry that no water layer is ever created between the ski and the snow the reduced contact area would help. If no water layer is ever created, than skiers skiing in the tracks would barely affect the crystals they ski over so the in tracks would not get faster very fast. If no water layer is ever created (and the snow is clean) than Fluoro’s would not be seen to increase speed as they do not have have any water to manage. If temps got warmer or if humidity increased this could all change very quickly.

Andy at SkiPost


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