This year has been really weird for fans of Swix or Toko wax. Wax has been out of stock and race wax recommendations have been scarce. Seems the US importer is stuck in some kind of legal jeopardy with the US Environmental Protection Agency. All we have at New Moon are assurances that next year will be better, and that each of the wax brands will get the EPA’s attention in their turn.
In practical terms, this means your favorite brand or tech may be unavailable this race season. With Birkie coming up it is time to get acquainted with some of the other, lesser known brands that are available this season: Start, Rex, Vauhti. Below I will call out some standout waxes that have been legendary at Birkies past.
Start SFR75 cold fluor powder has been on winners’ skis many times in the last ten years, new versions are Start HF9 and FHF9. These are some of the best cold powders you can buy. Start Green glider has been super in the cold at all levels of racing for decades. There is an LF, Mid Fluor and High Fluor. Seems like the MF10 as the mid fluor green is now called is our local favorite.
Start kick waxes have been taking share of Swix’s historical dominance now for a couple of years. The “Oslo” Racing line—Special Purple, Extra Blue, Super Green—seem to be a pre mix of hard wax and klister and have been saving weekends for years on the Birkie Trail. These waxes really help climb hills when the track is glazing or wetter than expected. This can happen especially when the trail has lots of skier traffic on race day. Start Terva kick wax is a nice kick and glide in fresh snow and the Extra Base Wax binder has been super reliable.
Rex HF21, the new Rex Blue high fluoro, was my wax last year’s Korte and it was superb. I used the liquid, and my prep time was mercifully brief in an otherwise overbusy week. Just spray on and brush when dry. Likely it would have been faster with a layer of powder burned in but there were many other skiers’ gear to attend to.
Rex TK-29 was maybe our most amazing wax job for service skis in, I think, 2012. We had fresh snow in the low twenties and lots of skiers set PR’s in what would have been slow and soft conditions. This powder is best 28-15F.
Rex Pro Grip Kick wax is less goopy than the Start Oslo and is better when the snow is a bit drier but can handle some glazing. There are four waxes in this line up; red, purple, blue and green. Many high school races are won on Pro Grip Blue.
Rex Liquid Klister. This is a lifesaver for the busy athlete or coach. Application is easy and fast and makes an excellent binder to hard wax. Currently three in the line: Base, Gold, and Special Red. I have used the Base and Gold on older snow and added the red in light rain or wetting up corn. Makes klister easy.
Vauhti. This one is new for me. I have been using their liquids this winter and have had excellent luck with the LF Mid and UF Mid. Very fast skis, super easy application. Vauhti Carrot kicker and their Super Base binder have been bragged about for some time.
So get out of your comfort zone. Most ski shops have run out of many Swix and Toko go to waxes early on this year and we’ve have to learn some new tricks. Luckily the snow doesn’t seem to mind and if you get it right you will have a blast! —Joel