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 Nov 18, 2010: Volume 11, Number 28


Waxing with a Respirator 


I've read some things recently about the dangers of ski waxing. Most recommendations say work in a well ventilated area and use a respirator. I was wondering if you have any recommendations on the type of respirator to use. Obviously a cheap cloth mask is not gonna cut it, but there is a long list of various respirator types for varying pollutants. Do you know of any respirators that protect from the particular dangers of ski wax?




First, it is always important to work in a well ventilated area, ideally one that has exhaust fans and a fresh air supply. Next, never expose waxes of any type, especially flourocarbon and fluorinated hydrocarbon waxes to open flames. This means no open flames, period, torch, heat guns, space heaters, fire places, ect. There is a chemical danger associated with flourocarbon waxes when they are overheated. Having said that, when used properly and within the recommended ironing temperatures, Swix waxes will not breakdown and become harmful.


If you are doing a lot of waxing and feel that your exposure amount to waxing is extensive, Swix recommends using a respirator mask. It should be a cartridge type for filtering organic vapors. During my time with the US Ski Team as the Head Wax Technician, I used a full face forced air respirator unit. It was battery powered and came with removable cartridges and a fully enclosed face mask. Ok, I am not waxing as many skis now as I was with the USST, which was basically every day from the beginning of November to the end of March, but I still use a full mask cartridge unit that is not battery powered. For some more information, you can visit the following link, swix-nordic-racing-manual  This is Swix's Nordic racing maual for the 2010-2011 season. There are many useful topics in this manual on waxing, base structuring and safety recommendations from Swix. I hope you have a great winter and hope to see you on the snow.

Best Regards,

Chris Hall Swix Nordic  Racing Director


Have  your waxing question answered by Chris Hall at the West Yellowstone Ski Festival Swix Wax Clinic Wednesday Nov 23 7pm

A Ski Marathoner Chasing Pheidippides, Part 6 - The Final Stretch!


Beyond any personal accounts, the 2,500th anniversary of the Athens Classic Marathon was truly a first class event and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Hats off to the Greeks!

The start group was packed as sardines; we were lined up to cover the original, classic marathon, the real deal. I felt great and excited about the journey from Marathon to Athens, had studied the course profile and had a clear plan for the next 42,195 meters monitoring distance, time, pace, cadence and heart rate. In short, I planned to find a light, quick rhythm over the first 7 miles of easy terrain and slide over the next 3 uphill miles at a reasonable clip. The following easy mile would be used to regroup for the next 9 miles of variable uphills, and the last 7 miles into the finish should be enough easy terrain to secure a good enough average pace to land in about three hours. My proven  PowerBar pre-race and refueling plan was also part of this. Although race morning revealed the course much harder than anticipated, such info is for the pessimists, and this was just like a Birkie start strategizing the options upon assessing ski speed and events on the start stretch and power-line hills.


The shot went off and we were on our way and soon came the surprise of the day. At 200 meters we caught up to walkers, at 600 meters it got quite crowded, and right before one K mark the road was totally blocked. An impenetrable line of people capped the rear of one solid mass moving forward at a snail's pace as far as eye could see and the race plan and time-table were immediately irrelevant. Back to the Birkie; yes, this may be a familiar experience for some.

 engen athens

I was amazed at the activity level in this peloton; what actually went on besides running. Tightly packed, many were engaged in hefty, loud, highly animated conversations, while others were exuberantly celebrating the marathon screaming and shouting at the top of their lungs while moving as much in every direction as forward. Being in a culture where awareness of personal space, or consideration whatsoever, is reserved for a faint few did of course add to this picture. Some wore costumes; the most noticeable were the groups of classic Hellenic warriors with helmets, breast-plates, shields, spears and all. Although fully expecting massive show-boating through the streets of Athens, these scenes with 41K to go suggested this would be a long day under the hot sun for many.


A quick assessment of the situation made me join the brave folks taking alternate routes around the masses. It was stop and go, zigzagging, onto the rock and concrete sidewalk, down on the road again for a few feet, in the borrow-pits and ditches, cross-country dodging trees, culverts, spectators, traffic furniture and everything else, back into the crowd... This action, especially the vertical leaps and impacts, would be a wicked expensive toll on the legs, but clearly a calculated opportunity cost. I found it worth risking premature leg fatigue and a few very slow final miles rather than adding hours to my time stuck where I was. The congestion eventually started to loosen up although there were intermittent solid road-blocks up to the 10 mile mark and crowded well beyond that.


The half marathon point was passed in fine form with 6 more miles of uphills ahead. Knowing "Bitch Hill," "Heartbreak Hill" and the alike, it is common for marathon courses to save the best for last, and reaching the highest point was a memorable climb. I worked hard up the final hills, but felt fine and kept passing people. The last 7 miles were wide boulevards, flat and downhill, and perfect for good finishing speed. My legs turned to concrete cylinders once starting to go down and I was happy to bring them forward a step at the time at low heart rate. Pushing hard would have been painful and unproductive; riding on the energy from the enthusiastic crowds was just the opposite. Everything went nuts approaching the finish in the historic Panathenaic Stadium. Wild crowds celebrating culmination of the 2,500th anniversary marathon hyped by deafening sounds of Zorba and Mikis Theodorakis met us in the gardens and entering the track. This moment alone was worth the run and all the travels and everything else going into this project, and thanks to Pheidippides who go the whole thing started.


My watch read 3:17:45, 26.37 miles at an average pace of 7:28 min/mi, gaining 1,146 ft with heart rate of 136 bpm and 170 strides/min. This was truly a memorable day in my athletic life which may even have sparked the interest in running and trying another marathon. Thanks to everyone who supported and motivated me in this effort, including PowerBar, Rossignol, the Sun Valley Masters and all my friends in US skiing, as well as the Durance Cycling Team and my Idaho riding buddies. Special thanks go to Darlene who also ran the race and signed me up in the first place.

Jon Engen -
Master Skier, 3-time Winter Olympian & Enthusiastic Athlete



Get your NCCSEF Calendar and help

Team Tomorrow become Team Today.

Click Here to Read Toko eBlast

Toko Chemist Udo Raunjak to Present at West Yellowstone  Ski Festival

Toko wax chemist Udo Raunjak will be in West Yellowstone this year.  He will conduct internal seminars to the Toko Tech Team and afterward on Tuesday 23 November at 6:00pm in the Conference Center, he will give a presention to the general public.  Udo is a key man in the Toko organization.  He is responsible for maintaining quality control and especially for developing improved products.  He will not only explain about the development of waxes, but will also show some science demonstrations which confirm waxing principles.   



 Fischer Carbonlite Skate boot

Fischer's new RCS Carbonlite Skating Race Boot is now available at retail locations nationwide. Featuring several new Fischer innovations, the boot ensures a perfect fit to deliver greater precision and optimum power transfer. The Fischer boot, which won more medals at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games than any other, is designed to deliver breakthrough performance to Nordic racers.


The RCS Carbonlite Skating Race boot features Fischer's new Torsion Control System that combines a micro-adjustable external instep strap with a diagonally-running internal strap. The straps work in conjunction to provide a notably higher torsional resistance that prevents the boot from twisting and increases power transfer to the ski during the kick phase. The Torsion Control System also allows the skier to fine-tune the boot's fit for optimal comfort.

 carbonlite skate boot

The boot also features Fischer's innovative new Frame Technology for progressive foot support, a new World Cup Carbon Cuff to provide outstanding lateral stability with full freedom of fore and aft movement. Finally, the RCS Carbonlite Skating Race boot features Fischer's unique Snake Lacing technology.


The RCS Carbonlite Skating Race Boot is available for purchase through Fischer retailers nationally and for demo at select retail locations hosting Fischer Carbonlite Demo Centers. For a list of demo center locations, please visit and click on Carbonlite Demo.







The 2010-2011 FIS Nordic WorldCup gets underway in Gšllivare Sweden this weekend.  10km and 15km freestyle races Saturday and 4*5km and 4*10km mixed relays Sunday.


Check out Salomon Updates on: Justyna Kowalczyk, Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, Arianna Follis, Rikka Sarasoja,.Charlotte Kalla,  Masako Ishida, Kikkan Randall, Therese Johaug,Kristin StÝrmer Steira, Marcus Hellner, Devon Kershaw, Alex Harvey, Ivan Babikov, Emil Jonsson, Mathias Fredrickson and more at



SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WorldCup 2010/11


Contest now LIVE - Register Your Team Today

SkiTrax Magazine is pleased once again to present our popular international FIS Fantasy World Cup 2010/11 Contest for players around the world. The Viessmann XC FIS World Cup season kick off begins in Gallivare, Sweden on Nov. 20, with five stops before the Tour de Ski in January leading up to the Oslo 2011 Nordic World Championships at the end of February.

The deadline to register your FIS Fantasy World Cup team, or to make any changes, is 10pm EST on November 19, the day before the Gallivare WCup. Earn bonus points along the way such as TdS Points or Olso Nordic Worlds Points - all contest rules and information are available when you register your team. visit  


Nordic Night - Idaho Mountain Touring

Thursday, November 18th from 5:30 to 8:30pm

Find out about places to ski and take lessons.

Stone grinding demo and Swix Wax Clinics.

Sample local food, beer and wine.

1310 W. Main, Boise ID 83702 Phone: 208-336-3854


November 23 - 27, 2010


Light snow is falling outside and the weatherman is calling for more. There are less than seven days to go and almost all of them have a snowflake in the forecast. The Rendezvous Ski Trails were rolled this morning and we are skiing in town.   The main loops will be groomed with a classic track and skate lane on Wednesday morning. 


With the 2010 Yellowstone Ski Festival in sight, the final details are wrapping up.  It is not too late to register for a clinic.  Consider a three or five day Nordic clinic to really start the ski season off right.  Or a one or two day to fit your holiday schedule.  Take in an early season race.  There are seven different races at this year's ski festival.  Online registration is available now.  Sign up by Thursday, November 18 to avoid late fees.  Check out the schedule of events.  Enjoy an array of waxing clinics, movies, classes, and presentations.  The schedule is updated constantly, so check back often.  The Indoor Expo is packed with all things Nordic and free of charge.  Fill in your wish list at the On-Snow Demo, the largest of its kind.  That's right, your ski pass allows you full access to demo gear on the trails.


Make plans to head this way and we will see you on the snow in West Yellowstone next week.


For more information, visit and follow westyellxcski on Twitter or Facebook friend Yellowstone Ski Fest for up to minute news.



8th Annual Steamboat Nordic Camp

Dec 11 - 12th, 2010 - Registration Open

Kick off your ski season with area's top coaches helping you improve your skills. A remarkable collection of coaching talent including former Nordic Olympian Sarah Konrad and top area coaches will assemble for the 2-day instructional camp to take place Friday evening at Ski Haus, and Saturday at The Lake Catamount Touring Center and Sunday at Steamboat Ski Touring Center

The Camp caters to all ability levels: true beginner to advanced and race oriented. Clinic groups are divided by ability and group size is small so that participants can get the most from their coach. Thanks to Ski Haus, 10/11 Nordic ski equipment will be available to demo at the "try before you buy" demo tents: Fischer, Salomon, Rossignol, Atomic, SWIX, Toko, Madshus representatives will be on hand with equipment and information to assist you. Last but not least, hearty lunches, happy hour, great prizes and fun camaraderie add to this "not to be missed" Nordic event. For more information and to register:
Early registration fees are $165 for two days and $100 for one day through Dec. 4th. Register online at or in person at Ski Haus. Sign up early, this camp will fill up.

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Cross-Country skiing's community lodge. Where knowledge and stories are shared. The goal of SkiPost is to make the sport of Cross-Country skiing easier and more enjoyable for all who choose to participate. If you have questions on Cross-Country Skiing see or email us at

Enjoy Winter,
Andrew Gerlach
Director/Editor- SkiPost

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