effect of wax hardness vs temperature

The data presented here is the result of a year long testing program.  The details of the testing can be found in the article we published in the journal of sports engineering


A lower coefficient of friction is what is responsible for a faster ski.  These charts are the result of hundreds of test runs on the same 3 sets of skis over an entire winter season.  The waxes were rotated across all the skis in many different temperature and snow conditions.  They are meant to give a overall understanding of the effect of wax hardness across a wide temperature range

Results Discussion:  

These results largely validate the temperature ranges recommended by the manufacturer.  One interesting result is that the blue wax is never the fastest wax at any temperature.  The cold and warm waxes will always provide the faster result if the temperature is constant.  But, if the temperature is changing over time, the blue wax can provide for the best overall compromise and fastest ski overall.

Procedure:  

The charts above summarize the results of hundreds of individual test sessions.  Each test session is comprised of many individual runs down a test track.    One example test session is shown to the right.   Three skis were tested over a range of different speeds.  Friction changes with speed (not because of air drag!).  To normalize the results and get a fair comparison, the friction at 5 km/hr is taken as the figure of merit.

On snow friction

test data