Month: March 2014

Plotting

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Our annual motorcycle trip is around the bend. That means it is time to dig out the maps and start plotting the fun – 250 miles at a time. Time to start brainstorming tour T-shirt designs too!

Remembering Leo

One of our precious foster kittens (now a 10 year old cat) passed away yesterday. Nine lives just wasn’t enough to battle the tumors that had grown in his little body. I’ll miss the stolen snuggles he always managed to get between bouncing children.

My heart is with my brother- and sister-in-law, niece and nephew in the days ahead. May the sorrow you feel be lightened by the love that surrounds you.

Seattle Snaps

I went for a walk around Seattle at lunch today. Why? To celebrate the fact that it wasn’t raining. I snapped a few pictures of historic buildings and such along the way and my phone smooshed them into this quick video. Bonus points for anyone who can identify what’s in the pictures and why they are significant.

Why everyone needs to wax their cross country skis

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It’s happened again. Nick and I made a date to go cross country skiing with friends. When I mentioned we were waxing our skis, they scoffed and claimed they never did such a thing. This is such a common occurrence that we wanted to explain why waxing your cross country skis is important.

It doesn’t matter if you are skating or classic skiing, here are three reasons to give your skis some waxy love.

1. Wax maintains the bases and prolongs the life of your skis.
Every piece of technical outdoor equipment requires some maintenance to maximize its life and work properly. Bike chains need to be lubed; jackets need to have their DWR coating replenished; crampons need to be  sharpened occasionally; and skis need to be waxed. Just like your skin, ski bases have pores. When skis are waxed, the heat of the iron opens these pores and allows the wax to soak in. This wax keeps the bases from drying out and cracking.

2. Skis are designed to work with wax on them.
The p-tex on the bottom of your skis is not slippery by itself. It does not slide on snow very well.  When your skis are waxed and the base gets cold from being on the snow, the pores contract and extrude a tiny amount of wax. This wax lubricates the ski bases so they can slide on the snow. Even if your skis are “waxless,” they still must be waxed. More on this later.

3. Proper waxing enables proper technique.
To have good technique your skis need to be able to glide. When you transfer your weight onto a ski that doesn’t glide the effect is like hitting a pine cone on your skateboard: the ski stops and you fall on your face. If you have a sticky, unwaxed ski, you have to compensate by keeping your weight too far back and not committing your weight 100% to your gliding ski. And vice versa a waxed ski encourages proper body position.  Unless you keep your weight forward the ski will shoot forward out from underneath you.

“My skis say waxless, do I still have to wax them?”
Yes. “Waxless” skis have a texture in the base (frequently referred to as fish scales) allowing them to grip the snow when the skier kicks. Skis without this texture require special sticky wax to help them grip the snow. Both types of skis must still be waxed for glide. There is no such thing as a ski that doesn’t need to be waxed.

“Can I just rub some wax on the skis when I get to the trail?”
No. Wax should be ironed in. The heat of the iron opens the pores and allows the wax to penetrate the base. If you forgot why this is important, see number 1, above. If you simply rub wax on the bottom of your ski, the snow will quickly scrape it off. And the you are back to skiing with an unwaxed ski again.

“What do I do if I don’t have wax on my skis?”
Go snowshoeing. Skiing on waxed skis is a sign of respect for your equipment, the sport, and your friends.

Cold feet


It started snowing mid-ride today. Nothing like a tub of hot water to defrost or toes back home.