Wrong Wax? Snow Problem For Olympic Athletes

www.oann.com | 3/8/2008 | Staff
reantes (Posted by) Level 3
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – It is the one subject skiers and snowboarders cannot stop obsessing about at the Winter Olympics – how best to wax their equipment to ensure maximum speed and stability.

Get it right in the waxing shed and you can glide your way to Olympic glory. Get it wrong and the snow can turn to treacle.

Cross-country - Skiing - Wax - Order - Pace

In cross-country skiing, athletes must ensure they get their “kick wax” right in order to keep pace in the uphill stretches and former biathlete Jean-Marc Chabloz told Reuters there was no room for error.

“It is completely crucial, completely crucial,” the four-time Olympian said as he demonstrated the basic techniques for waxing cross-country skis.

Race - Skis - Everyone - Margins

“You can’t win a race with bad skis, it just doesn’t work. Everyone is at their best, so it’s small margins.”

Chabloz, who now coaches student athletes at the Jamtlands High School in Sweden, expertly cleaned his skis and used a hot iron to spread a thin layer of glide wax before polishing them to a smooth finish.

Cross-country - Skiers - Biathletes - Balance - Right

For cross-country skiers and biathletes, getting the balance right is tough. They need to be able to ski as fast as possible across flat ground and downhill, but they also need a good grip to get them to the top of hills.

To achieve this, a stickier “kick wax” is applied to the ski in the area under and in front of the foot, while the rest is given a coating of glide wax.

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