Finally back in the normal routine here in Bozeman. Here is a general recap of what we were finding in West Yellowstone last week.
Firstly, we found that, despite new snow early on the week, slightly warmer grinds (Uni or equivalent) were running best, particularly when they were on a ski with low camber and uniform, soft flex. The Toko Blue Hand Structure was the best hand structure we tested early on in the week. So in that sense, the snow was acting a bit warm (since we would otherwise have figured that less aggressive grinds and no hand structure would run the best). When we tested base waxes, on the other hand, we found that colder base waxes were running the best. As mentioned, we base-waxed with Toko HF Blue for the classic race on Wednesday morning. So in this sense, the snow was acting a bit colder than the temperature indicated. Finally, we were surprised when warmer pure flouro top-coats were running better than the others. On Wednesday morning, for example, we applied Toko JS Red on top of the Toko HF blue base wax. We were very pleased with the skis.
When Thursday arrived, it was quite warm, so it was a frustrating day of testing, knowing that temperatures were going to cool off for Friday and Saturday. We decided to test on the colder side of waxes to see if anything was running best. Even in the warm temperatures, Toko HF Blue ran very well. We found a slightly warmer base wax winner from another company that ended up beating Toko HF blue, so we ended up using that for our base for Friday--we were worried that it wouldn't actually get that cold overnight on Thursday night (which, indeed turned out to be the case). We found that the Toko Blue hand structure ran well immediately before the race on Friday, so we applied that to the skis. Toko JS Red block ran the best of all the pure flouro covers tested. We were ultimately very, very happy with the skis Friday (so was Leif!), but we did wonder whether we should have left the hand structure out with the new snow that fell during
For Saturday, we knew it was going to get brutally cold over night, and that it was going to stay cold throughout the morning. We used an under layer of HF Moly mixed with Toko Cold Powder to harden up the bases. Toko HF blue was a natural choice for us as a base wax since it had run the best in the colder conditions. We tested hand structures on Saturday morning and found that no hand structure was the best. Toko JS blue block was the best cover that we tested on race morning, so we applied that to the skis.
So, in the end, Toko was great for us in West Yellowstone this year! We tested Toko, Swix, Rex, Holmenkol, and Star extensively throughout the week and consistently found Toko to be among the best. We used Toko as a pure flouro layer for every single race and used Toko HF base waxes for all but one race. I am looking to do a lot more skiing with the new Toko kick waxes, as I am largely unfamiliar with those waxes and when/where they work well. I am now a huge fan of the Toko Blue hand structure tool as well!! I'll be curious to see how the Toko red and/or yellow structure tools run in the warmer snow!
Bjørn Bakken, BSF