Iron Temperature

I have heard from a number of people that our irons are not running hot enough. Fortunately this is NOT the case. The issue is that people are using infrared thermometers to measure the temperature of the bases of the irons. Infrared thermometers are great for measuring temperatures of things that are not shiny, but when there is any reflection involved, generally a temperature reading that is far too cool is the result. Stainless steel is especially famous for this issue. What actually ends up happening is that the infrared beam reflects and you get a reading of something in the room as compared to the iron base. All of the irons in the test were set for 160c (320F) as the question at hand was if they got hot enough.

Here is an example of the contrast:

These two images were sent to me as evidence of the iron not getting hot enough.

Here are the actual temperatures of the iron bases (two different irons that were sent back).

Here is a T8 iron reading. We know the T8s run slightly cool, so this is very good for an $80 iron!

This is the proper equipment for measuring the temperature of a base of an iron. It is a thermocoupler which is basically a digital thermometer that has a direct interface with the iron base eliminating any reflection. This is a scientific instrument that is both expensive and accurate.

Anyway, this wasn’t a bad exercise to have gone through as it had been a while since I checked the actual temperatures versus readouts.

Ian Harvey, TOKO


Skin Skis – Opinion

There sure is a lot of hullabolu about the new skin skis and I am wondering are they an improvement over the old nowax pattern skis, and if they are, – why are they better. Or are they just another fad like the short skating skis, palm grips of poles etc. I sure would like to hear from other skiers, how they like them and why?


A: The skin ski makes a faster and quieter racing waxless ski than a cut pattern. But a waxed ski beats a skin ski most days. Skin skis are great for marathon classic races where the snow will change a lot throughout the day. Skin skis makes it easier to go out and classic in any condition without having to take any time to wax. For those of us who like waxing, – waxing rules.

Andy at SkiPost

Transporting Top Coat Gels On An Airline

Q: I have been having good success with SWIX HVC warm and cold liquid Cera as a final top coat in humid (above 70%) conditions. I’d love to bring the two containers I have, but a friend says the TSA may give me a hard time in transporting them in my ski tube. Have you been able to transport these kind of top coat gels on an airline?


A: If your wax containers have the little flame symbol on them, you are probably not supposed to fly with them. So, I should tell you not to…

That being said, if you are checking a bag of regular standard sized luggage and equipment that will go through the X ray machine, you will probably be able to fly with them if your bag is not searched by hand. If they are in an oversized piece of luggage that will possibly be hand screened, your chances of being able to fly with them are not very good.

The safest route would be to buy the one HVC liquid you are going to need at the expo, use it and then figure out shipping it home.

– Joe H. (CXC Skiing)

How to Watch all Olympic Cross-Country Skiing Races Live

Don’t want to miss a second of Olympic cross-country skiing? has you covered.

Women’s 10km individual

When to watch: Thursday, Feb. 15, 1:30 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Men’s 15km individual

When to watch: Friday, Feb. 16, 1 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Women’s 4x5km relay

When to watch: Saturday, Feb. 17, 4:30 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Men’s 4x10km relay

When to watch: Sunday, Feb. 18, 1:15 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Men’s/women’s team sprint

Event: Semifinals
When to watch: Wednesday, Feb. 21, 3 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Men’s/women’s team sprint

Event: Finals
When to watch: Wednesday, Feb. 21, 5 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Men’s 50km mass start

When to watch: Saturday, Feb. 24, 12 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Women’s 30km mass start

When to watch: Sunday, Feb. 26, 1:15 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.


Long Term Birkie Outlook and Discount

Currently forecasts for the Birkie indicate overnight lows of around 0f and highs of around freezing for the whole period before and after the Birkie. With this in mind, you might want to consider some cold weather gloves or mittens, Thermo Race or Thermo Plus gloves, some Birkie wax such as LF or HF Blue and JetStream Blue, and maybe some tools such as fiberlene for ironing JetStream, a copper, horsehair, or nylon polishing brush, a Thermo Pad, or an iron!

Hopefully our local stores are well stocked with whatever you are looking for. You can always order at and guarantee that you will have what you need well ahead of time. Ordering at and using the discount code TOKOBIRKIE will give you 15% off from now until the end of February.


Ian Harvey, TOKO

Should I skip a local race in light of upcoming Birkie?

Q: I have a local race this Sunday which is all up. It’s level 4 the entire way. I would like to get the race in, but since the Birkie 29k is only 5 days later might I be not recovered for the Birkie, which is more important than our local series.

A: Is the Aspen Race the very best prep for the Kortie? Probably not, the Kortie will be a bit more user friendly this year, starting at Double O and finishing in Downtown Hayward. You won’t have quite the treacherous unrelenting terrain of the trails north of OO, but you will still have many punchy climbs and have to deal with the brute of a climb after Highway 77. So, practicing some climbing 5 days out is not such a bad thing.

I think the bigger questions are:

1. Will you be able to reasonably recover from the Aspen Race with travel to the Midwest in the 5 day period.

2. If you are only 95% recovered and as a result go a few % slower for the Kortie, will you still have a great experience at the celebration of the circus that is the Birkie?

If your answer to both questions is no and you might be kicking yourself about it, then you better skip the Aspen Race. If on the other hand your Kortie result is secondary to the whole experience of being at the Birkie and you think the Aspen Race is going to be a cool challenge, – go for it!!!

Birkebeiner Bridge will be part of Super Bowl Live on Nicollet Mall

The bridge will showcase demonstrations of cross-country skiing, skijoring and tubing.

The 200-foot American Birkebeiner International Bridge will come to downtown Minneapolis during the 10-day Super Bowl Live event on Nicollet Mall.

Photo Credit:


The bridge will be open to the public and built on Nicollet Mall over 9th Street South during the free event. The bridge will showcase demonstrations of cross-country skiing, skijoring and tubing.

The bridge is an “iconic centerpiece” of the American Birkebeiner (Birkie), the 35-mile cross-country ski race held each February in Hayward, Wis., according to the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee. The Wisconsin event, the nation’s largest cross-country ski race, cuts through the North Woods on the Birkie Trail.

Until January, the bridge has never been erected outside Hayward where it is assembled once a year for Birkie activities.

The 44th annual Birkie will take place Feb. 22-25. Super Bowl Live starts Jan. 26 and ends on Sunday, Feb. 4, hours before the football game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Some 13,500 skiers from 48 states and 22 countries skied over the bridge at the Birkie earlier this year, executive director Ben Popp said.

The bridge will also be part of the City of Lakes Loppet Festival. The Loppet Foundation will bring snowmakers to downtown, transforming two blocks of Nicollet Mall into a “winter playground,” according to the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.

The bridge will be covered in snow from 12 dump trucks.