February 19, 2021
COVID-19 Notice:

Park, ski, and head home. Help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

  • Follow all provincial guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Gathering in the parking lot or on ski trails and trailheads is not permitted.
  • Maintain a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from anyone outside of your household, at all times.
  • Once the parking lot at Strathcona Wilderness Centre is full, please visit alternate outdoor recreation areas, such as Broadmoor Golf CourseCooking Lake – Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area or try snowshoeing at Beaver Hills Biosphere.
  • Stay home if you are sick or displaying any symptoms of COVID-19
  • Learn more about how to stay safe and prevent the spread of Covid-19 when outdoors.
Today's temperature:  0ºC
Tomorrow’s temperature: 0ºC; Sunday: 4ºC
Snowfall in the past 48 hours: (trace)
Packed base: 8-15  cm
Hours of operation: Monday - Sunday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

And so, the pendulum swings… so much so that it may be at risk of flying off its supports entirely. As happy as we are to see the departure of the polar vortex, it would be nice to assume a median range in terms of the temperatures, instead of rocketing over 30 degrees up the thermometer scale (what is wrong with some stable -10C?!). But, alas, as per usual, our cogitations and aspirations concerning the weather are merely paper moose in the meteorological sense (paper tigers would not survive here).

The significant change in thermal values will of course induce some changes to the snow conditions, primarily transforming the hard, sharp crystalline snow structure resultant of the extreme cold towards a granular morphology. While this greatly improves glide characteristics, it has a detrimental effect on integrity and density – which we will of course mitigate to the best of our grooming abilities. Shedding a few layers of clothing and skiing on snow that does not have a coefficient of friction analogous to that of cotton balls on sandpaper are of course very desirable aspects of non-polar vortex conditions, so we can enjoy that for the time being. As always, more snow and sub-zero temperatures are our standing requests, so if you see us working on constructing a moose-like structure out of paper…

The  “Virtual Birkie” has been extended to February 28, due to the recent deep freeze - the warmer temperatures in the forecast will make your VB much more enjoyable! Visit the Canadian Birkie website for full details.

 It may have been a bit cool lately to try our Fischer “Skiletics” course (courtesy of Fischer Nordic and our friends at Lanctot Distribution), but the more amenable temperatures will be perfect to get into the program! This is a unique and innovative ski experience that will enhance your technique and fitness. The Skiletics course at SWC is on the Multipurpose loop, skied in a clockwise direction starting at the Information Center trailhead. See below for more information.

Keep sending your wax and ski equipment questions in - see the "Wax Tech" section below for this week's discussion.

Our ski instruction programs are back in session this weekend, and our rentals remain open, with equipment available from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm (due back by 3:30 pm); while we are doing our best to serve our ski friends as safely and efficiently as we can, there may be a line-up - please have your rental form (link below in "Equipment Rentals section) and photo ID with you to help speed the process.

Please ski responsibly, leave your pets at home, and remember that our front gates close at 4:30 p.m.

See you on the trails!
Grooming Report:

Warming temperatures are inducing transformation in the snow structure, moving from crystalline to granular. We will be doing a full renovation and reset on the trails Friday evening and will groom skate lanes Sunday morning.

For our real-time GPS grooming update click here here.
West Trails Last Groomed Last Track Set Rating / Comments
Multipurpose Feb. 19 Feb. 19 Very Good - Excellent
Moose Feb. 19 Feb. 19 Very Good
Old Ridgeway Feb. 19 Feb. 19 Very Good
Bennett Lake
Feb. 19
Feb. 19
Feb. 19
Feb. 18
Very Good
Good - Very Good
East Trails Last Groomed Last Track Set Rating / Comments
Fox Feb. 19 Feb. 19 Good - Very Good
Owl Feb. 19 Feb. 19 Very Good - Excellent
Wagon Feb. 19 Feb. 19 Very Good - Excellent
Coyote North Feb. 19 Feb. 19 Very Good
Coyote South Feb. 19 Feb. 19 Very Good - Excellent
Old Ridgeway Feb. 19 Feb. 19 Good - Very Good
Fischer "Skiletics" Course at SWC!

What is "Skiletics"? Think ski + athletics: it's a unique and innovative way to enhance your skiing and fitness on the trail, offering skills, technique, and fitness building exercises in 7 stations over a ~1km loop on the Multipurpose trail. Fischer Skiletics is basically on-snow circuit training. Participants can go through the circuit at their own pace. Each station explains a drill you can do that will help you become a better skier as well as increase your fitness level, working on specific muscle groups. You can use your smartphone to access videos at each station - all 7 stations have a QR scan code, as well as a description of the exercise. The course starts on the lower Multipurpose trail and skis clockwise around the loop; the map is located on the West trails trailhead just outside the Information Center. We welcome any level of skier - try it as often as you like, and have fun!
Wax Recommendations:

After a couple of weeks of unvarying waxing conditions, the temperature changes will add some challenge to waxing, at least for the grip

Glide: morning = Swix PS-7 (LF7), afternoon = Swix PS-8 (LF8)
Grip: Swix VG30 base binder; morning = Swix VP45 (VR45), cover with VP40 (VR40) for the early morning; afternoon = Swix VP55 (VR50/55), Swix VP60/65 if the tracks glaze
Wax Tech:

Why do my ski bases turn white after skiing on them? - Derek

An interesting question Derek, with a few potential answers, incorrect and correct. Two common reasons ascribed to are that the bases need waxing, or that they are "burnt". 

The black "P-Tex" bases on most modern cross country skis are made of two different materials:  ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, which is primarily crystalline in structure and very dense and stable; and a lower density non-crystalline polymer that is relatively malleable. The second material is "porous", with the microscopic pores expanding and contracting with heat from the wax iron, and is what absorbs glide wax and accepts structuring. These bases, sometimes generically referred to as sintered bases, require regular applications of glide wax - heated in with a wax iron, let cool, brush & scrape - for optimal performance and protection. The frequency of waxing is dependant on (and correlated to) how much skiing and the type of snow skied on. If the bases feel slow and look dull and fuzzy, they may need to be waxed. In this circumstance, typically the entire gliding section of the base will be dull, look fuzzy (showing fine white fuzz), and the white residue cannot be brushed or scraped away. A quick check by scraping with your fingernail can indicate whether there is a lack of wax or another issue: if the base becomes black and shiny where you scrape with your fingernail, there is wax (we'll come back to this). If not, then it needs to be waxed - try a hot wax scrape to clean the base, then apply the glide wax for the temperature range you will be skiing in. 

A "burned" base, typically from overheating a section of the base with the iron, will result in spots that look flat and smooth, as the pores have been sealed, the base structure has been flattened, and won't absorb any wax. This type of damage does not typically result in the white patches alluded to in the question.

So, with regards to the situation where the white residue can be easily scratched off, and/or it occurs even after fresh application of glide wax, there is another explanation. In this case, the white residue may be an indication of too much wax left in the amorphous (non-crystalline) layer of base material: as noted, the pores open as heat is induced via the wax iron, and then cool once the heat is removed. As they cool, excess wax is pushed to the base surface as the base material contracts. Once completely cool, scraping and brushing removes the excess, and leaves micrometer thin amounts on the base surface. Insufficient base cooling and/or brushing can leave excess amounts of this residual layer, which is then abraded by skiing on the snow, leaving the white residue that you see. This is particularly common when dealing with very cold temperature waxes and cold, hard, abrasive snow (also more common with manmade snow). Waxes used for extreme cold are very hard, using plastic polymers, and require fairly high heat to iron in; this results in a significant expansion of the base pores and then an elastic rebound - the pores close quickly at first as the base material contracts and then slows as the heat of the iron and molten wax is removed and dissipates. While this is happening, there is still some excess wax being purged - let the skis cool for 30+ minutes before scraping - put them outside 5 minutes after waxing and leave for 25 minutes, or leave them for longer at room temperature (45 minutes).

In terms of brushing, particularly for the harder glide waxes, more is better! Once the ski has completely cooled (see above), scrape (use a sharp scraper) and then brush with a medium bronze brush (Swix T-162), using medium pressure and 10-15 tip-to-tail strokes. Do a quick wipe clean with Fiberlene and then brush again to ensure no more wax particles appear - if they do, add another 5 brush strokes. Next, use a fine nylon brush (Swix T-160), and polish, using strong pressure and brush 15+ tip-to-tail strokes. The bases should have a high sheen and no wax residue should be coming off. Pro tip: use snow in the final brush to help polish; have a clean bucket with clean snow, and dip the brush in to get snow into the bristles, then polish.

The good news is that if the white residue is from excess wax, you just need to brush and polish it out, no need to rewax. 

Correction: In last week's Wax Tech answer, there was one small error - the first tier in the flour-free glide wax line is PS Performance Speed, not Pro Speed as incorrectly listed. My apologies for any confusion here.
In the new Swix glide wax line, there are still 3 tiers of ascending performance that mirror the former (legacy) line:
  • PS - Performance Speed, equivalent level to CH in the legacy line
  • HS - High Speed, equivalent level to LF in the legacy line
  • TS - Top Speed / TS-B - Top Speed Black, equivalent to HF / HF-BW in the legacy line
Spring Ski Passes (Feb. - April):

Child (2-12yr)              $10.00
Youth  (13-17yr)          $12.50

Adult                           $28.00
Family **                     $57.00

Senior 65+                  $18.00

Day Trail Passes:

Child (2-12yr)             $2.75
Youth  (13-17yr)         $3.25

Adult                           $7.00
Family **                    $14.00

Senior 65+                 $4.50
(**Family Passes are 2 adults and up to 3 children 2-17yrs related and living in the same house)
Equipment Rentals:

Our cross-country ski equipment and snowshoes are now available for rental use at SWC. In order to provide safe and efficient service, there is a maximum of 6 public at any one time in the ski rental room; this includes picking up and returning equipment. Please follow directions and instructions from our staff; masks are required inside, and please always maintain 2m spacing. And, to help expedite the process, rental waiver forms can be downloaded, printed, and filled out prior to arriving at SWC. Each adult and minor renter needs to fill out and sign the rental waiver form:

Child & Youth ski package (waxless) – $13.00
Adult ski package (waxless) – $16.00
Performance skate ski package (skis, boots, poles) – $20.00
Classic skin ski package (skis, boots, poles) – $20.00
All-terrain snowshoes – $8.75
Preschool skis – $3.75
Baby glider (ski pulk)  – $3.75

The above rentals are based on:
  • First come, first served - no reservations
  • Complete packages and partial sets available
  • Rentals for use only within the park on SWC trails
  • Equipment rental rate is for up to 3 hours
  • Rentals out available until 2:30 pm
  • Rentals must be returned by 3:30 pm
  • Photo ID required to rent equipment
All prices include GST.
 Groomed XC ski trails at the Broadmoor
Enjoy XC skiing at the Broadmoor Public Golf Course for FREE this year. Classic and skate ski tracks will be set and groomed three times a week, weather and snow conditions permitting. Click here for updates and trail conditions at the Broadmoor Public Golf Course.

Walking, tobogganing, and snowshoeing are also available on the golf course. If not skiing, please stay off the groomed trails. Reminder, dogs must be leashed on site.

The exterior Clubhouse washrooms will be open for use from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily. The golf course is open for winter activities 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. for daily use.