In an earlier blog post we explored liquid glide waxes and promised to provide updates as we got more experience with them. Thanks to a prompt from a friendly reader, here's the update.
We are by no means a testing facility but we do ski a lot. We've been training, racing and coaching most of our lives and have a pretty good idea of what feels good on a ski and what doesn't. As stated in the earlier post, we were very curious about liquid glide waxes when they came out and for two years we've been using them extensively.
The take-away? Liquid glide waxes are really good. We love them. Not only are they convenient and easy to apply, we believe they may be superior to melted wax as far as base penetration into the ski, as the wax is suspended in a solvent.
A couple of us have been using only liquid glide waxes for training and racing both short and long distances, and our race times have not been affected negatively at all. When tested against other skis our glide is often superior. Again, we are not performing proper tests, but when you glide farther than other skiers more times than not, that's a good thing.
One of the biggest questions has been the durability of liquid glides vs ironed-in hot wax. There are many skiers who maintain that a melted wax will have greater durability than liquid, hands down. We however are unconvinced. So far we have had good results with LF, HF and UF liquid glide at events up to 55 km. It is important to go through all steps for maximum durability: glide zone clean, liquid base wax, then liquid glide wax - making sure to let the products fully dry, cork them in, and then brushing.
Vauhti maintains that their liquid glide waxes last at least 40 km. They research and test their products over the long-term at the University of Eastern Finland using World Cup service teams, so they know their stuff. They have developed a number of LDR (long distance racing) products that have extremely high dirt resistance and greater durability than the regular fluoro lines. If you are putting top coats on your bases, these LDR liquids will extend their durability significantly as well.
One of the reasons we like Vauhti is that their waxes suit our snow well. Saskatchewan, like much of Finland, has cold dry snow. We don't have experience (yet) with durability or performance of liquid glide waxes in man-made and wet snow conditions since we almost never encounter these, but feedback from the ski world (online and personal) is positive.
If you are thinking of giving the iron a rest, we recommend getting your bases stone ground before giving liquid glides a go. Even World Cup level wax technicians have been known to seal bases - it's a risk every time heat is applied to a ski base, and especially when applying hard, cold weather wax (as is often necessary here in Saskatchewan). Liquid glide waxes work best on fresh bases.
Or, like many local skiers, keep hot-waxing your skis but experiment in between hot waxes with the liquid glide products. Do a little "non-professional" testing yourself and see if you like what you feel on the ski.
As always, we welcome feedback. Let us know how it goes!