Is it still good to wax once before the season starts or is it really not required at all? And how does this fit with people who say that if you don't wax your board much the pores start to close up and it can't hold wax anymore.
Again, wax is definitely not required at all, but it can help your board slide a little easier, especially in some conditions. It really is just a matter of personal preference. As for the notion that the "pores" in your board will close up if you don't wax?
That's a fresh load of BS to me, given that the base doesn't truly have "pores" (see my earlier post). You can always wax your board later if you want, it will adhere as long as it is done properly.
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!
I'll let someone from that area answer your first question. As far as I know, most sintered bases usually come stone-ground and waxed, not structured. Structuring is patterned texturing of the base, and can be done in different patterns for different conditions (see Snowolf's post).
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.
Thanks Snowolf, good points. I'll confess I hadn't really given much thought to the fact that you guys in the PNW get much stickier snow much more of the time. Sadly, my only visits to that area were in the days before I discovered snowboarding, but I've heard it's a bit similar to the mashed-potato snow we sometimes get in early spring, which I will admit is the primary time I would still consider waxing. I should also clarify that my comments regarding not waxing were really aimed at the guys that are waxing just because someone told them it's what you're supposed to do, without properly understanding why. It seems like some people worry that if they don't wax, their board will spontaneously delaminate and their puppy will be murdered.
But that's where you need it most. Of course wax won't make much of a difference when you're carving and your base is on a 30 degree angle to the snow, but when I hit the flats the last thing I want to do is have to work hard to get through it, or *gasp* unbuckle.
Of course riding flats effectively is 90% technique 10% board, but I will keep waxing even if that's the only time I ever need it.
I might sound crazy but I actually like to wax. It's sort of a ritual for me. Pre-season, in the hotel on a trip, some weeknight when I'm going out that weekend. It's all part of the fun. I'm not going to cry if I don't wax every 4-5 days out, but I try not to let it get beyond 10.
I definitely agree that flats are where I can most appreciate the added glide from waxing, I just find that in the conditions I ride most, the little bit of extra glide (for a few runs) is not worth the time and effort of waxing. Ultimately though, it's a matter of preference, and I respect that you and others find the added glide worth the effort.