SkiTrax - - Contents - By Jack Cook and Pa­trick Moore

by Jack Cook and Pa­trick Moore

One of the com­mon ob­ser­va­tions made about the suc­cess of the US Ski Team is the ex­tent to which the ser­vice staff works to­gether as an in­te­grated unit. Al­though the staff is not large, there is a fo­cus on a sys­tem, and U.S. ath­letes con­sis­tently have some of the best skis in the World Cup field.

Sim­i­lar con­cepts can be ap­plied to lo­cal or re­gional teams and clubs to im­prove your chances of ski-ser­vice suc­cess. By or­ga­niz­ing the po­ten­tial chaos as­so­ci­ated with large teams and vol­un­teer wax­ers, you will cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that is fo­cused on the ath­letes.

Have a leader

Wax­ing race skis means that, in­evitably, a tough de­ci­sion is go­ing to have to be made. As Colin Pow­ell said, the role of a leader is “to cut through ar­gu­ment, de­bate and doubt; to of­fer a so­lu­tion ev­ery­body can un­der­stand.” Strictly speak­ing, Pow­ell wasn't talk­ing about wax­ing skis, but the premise still ap­plies! En­sure that some­one is in charge.

Train your vol­un­teers

On av­er­age, clubs tend to be short on pro­fes­sional wax­ing staff. Luck­ily, clubs usu­ally have an abun­dance of par­ents milling around. By train­ing those vol­un­teers in wax ap­pli­ca­tion, you will sud­denly have an army of avail­able wax­ers. Host one or two clin­ics to demon­strate and have the vol­un­teers prac­tise ap­pli­ca­tion, re­mem­ber­ing that con­sis­tency is key.

Clas­sic-ski mark­ings

A ma­jor chal­lenge faced by vol­un­teer wax­ers can be the con­sis­tency in the mark­ing of pock­ets on Clas­sic skis. This leaves them guess­ing as to how much wax to ap­ply and where it should be put. De­velop a con­sis­tent sys­tem of mark­ing pock­ets on Clas­sic skis. In ad­di­tion to the ob­vi­ous front and end mark­ings, ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion such as cam­ber height and the lo­ca­tion of resid­ual cam­bers will help the wax­ers en­sure the best com­bi­na­tion of grip and speed. In­sist that all ath­lete skis fol­low the sys­tem.

Names on skis

It sounds sim­ple, but en­sur­ing that ath­lete names are clearly writ­ten on the skis will re­duce the chance of skis go­ing out the door with the wrong per­son or not be­ing com­pleted on time.

Wax box

The wax box for your club (both grip and glide) needs to be com­plex enough to al­low for fast skis in any con­di­tion, but sim­ple enough so as not to be over­whelm­ing. Fo­cus on adding ad­di­tional waxes me­thod­i­cally and with a pur­pose, not just be­cause a new prod­uct is ru­moured to be the next big thing.

Test skis

Test skis are a crit­i­cal part of any wax­ing pro­gram. A well-matched set of skate and Clas­sic test skis is an in­vest­ment that will last for many years to come. Learn­ing to test by feel us­ing sin­gle skis (and per­haps con­fir­ma­tion from a test­ing part­ner) al­lows you to dou­ble the use­ful­ness of your fleet. For ex­am­ple, a fleet of five skis al­lows you to test 10 waxes! The num­ber of test skis is a del­i­cate bal­ance – too many and the fleet be­comes un­man­age­able. Too few and the ef­fec­tive­ness is re­duced.

The main goal of any ser­vice staff, whether club or World Cup, should be to pro­duce con­sis­tent skis week­end af­ter week­end. Con­trol­ling cer­tain key vari­ables will pro­vide di­rec­tion and ul­ti­mately sup­port both the wax­ers and ath­letes.

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