Originally Posted by Snowolf
Great info. Thanks for sharing. I used to be a "waxing fanboy" too but in recent years have moderated my stance on the issue. For awhile now I have maintained that waxing need is really predicated on weather and snow conditions. Your research seems to back that position up.
Here in the PNW where we have warm, wet snow (Cascade Cement we call it) because of the high water content in our snow (average 8" of snow for 1" of moisture), wax definitely does make a difference here that you can feel ( despite BA's feeding me that bag of mushrooms last time).
Your research seems to back this up as well. More than the actual wax, I believe it is the high Flouro contact we use around here for the water reppelency. In spring and summer, we ride a lot on volcanoes and dust is a major issue. As a result a very popular wax here is OBJ Black Magic with graphite. The theory being (as I understand it) is this combats the added friction of the dust on the snow surface. I again feel the difference when I am riding off of the actual 11,254 foot summit of Mt. Hood on a hot summer day.
90% of East coast riders with their shit snow don't benefit much at all from waxing. Additionally, the cold dry conditions of the Rockies I suspect limits any performance benefit. But if you ride in this slop we all love in the PNW, you might want throw a coat of wax on!
Your research also touches upon the value of structuring. I am a huge fanboy of this and I have all of my boards structured. It makes your base look and feel like fine Courdoroy with the grooves running longitudinally to help channel water. This far more than waxing improves your glide in off piste conditions in our snow. Waxing can be a good substitute for a structured base though if you brush after scraping. Using a stiff nylon brush and aggressively brushing longitudinally down the length of the board will create thousands of micro channel grooves that allows water to channel out from under your base. This is very similar to the way a so called "aqua tread" pattern on a car tire works to prevent hydroplaning on wet pavement.
According to this, would you say wax is more or less useful for riders in the midwest (Minnesota, to be specific)? And do all sintered bases come structured? How often do you have to "restructure" them? And is that the same thing as getting a base grind? Thanks!