Article by Paul Webb
Using skis & boards on any surface other that real snow will cause more wear than normal.
Dry Slope Burn or Railing
There are at least three or four different types of dry slope some with watering systems some completely dry & all in certain circumstances can cause the dreaded “Dry Slope Burn” and “Rail” your skis/boards
Plastic surfaces cause a heat build up between the P-Tex base of your ski/board & the metal edge heats up even more, this can reach a critical temperature where the base material starts to soften near the edge & then gets worn away even quicker resulting in a small long gully appearing down the edge this often referred to as “dry slope burn”. In extream cases this can make the ski/board almost impossible to control & the rider will oftern say I can’t ride this anymore my ski/board has been “railed”(because the damage is near the edge).
So this needs to be prevented or fixed.
Preventing the problem
Slow Down – High speed carving over a long distance increases the risk
Monitor – look at the base of your skis/board frequently , if sliding fast beware of sudden change in speed or a plastic burning smell, stop & look at the base for damage , feel how hot the edge is. On one slope I have skied at I know if I carve from the top by the end the ski will be starting to melt but if I only go full speed from half way then no problem, luckily we are freestylers not racers & every time we hit a jump or rail our bases are getting a chance to cool a little.
Waxes & other preventors
Anything that that you put on your base to make it slide better will reduce friction & help prevent burn.
Best tip is to wax your skis with a hard iron on wax before the next session on the slope.
I use the one pretty hard wax (CH6) & then a top coating very hard (CH4) , unlike preparing a base for snow there is no need to scrape or brush the base, just wax allow to cool then use it , the slope is a excellent “brush” & the surface wax will be cleaned off by the end of the session, we are using was here in a different way to use on snow, on snow the job of ther wax is to fill in minute holes in the base to make the base very water proof to the snow as it melts under the pressure of our weight. On a plastic slope we are simply trying to protect the bases.
During the session , look at what the racers do, they use a variety of stuff to make their bases faster from washing up liquid , furniture polish , cable grease , specialised rub on liquids like Zardox Not Wax, its all good none of it lasts more than a two or three runs down a slope but it does help.
Also see what the slope organisers make available some have wax mats at the top of the slope , if they have any kind of watering system & its not running ask if it can be turned on.
Weather can make a huge difference a still damp day is best , worst is a warm windy day that sucked all moisture out of the slope.
Fixing the problem
In my next update to this blog I will explain how to repair a damaged ski/board
Paul Webb 20th Aug 2011