The season for the famous, Swedish cross-country ski race Vasaloppet is here and temperature and conditions is on everyones lips. How to optimize your performance through the 90 km long distance between Sälen and Mora that Gustav Vasa fled by ski more than 500 years ago?
Vasaloppet is an annual, rather festive, ski tradition held in Dalarna province, also called “the Heart of Sweden”. The first race was held already in 1922 which makes it the world’s first long distance ski race and for many years that was the only cross-country ski race offered in Sweden. Today it is still one of the biggest and most popular attractions for the snowloving every year.
Many brisk men and women have skid the 90km from Sälen to Mora through the years. And many more come to partake in the festivities around Vasaloppet the first Sunday in March. To have a nice day in the snow, the need for good grip and perfect glide is key. Therefore, carefully balanced waxing, matching perfectly with the temperature and conditions of the race day is important. Since our daily focus here at Brann are patents, I’m going to tell you about intellectual property rights regarding wax and implements.
While searching for a patent in a patent database (espacenet, see link below) you’ll find patents for both the substance of different wax types as well as devices to apply it, like this one:
SNOW SPORT EQUIPMENT WAXING DEVICE AND METHOD Publication number: WO2016161365
In this construction you can place your skis or snowboard in what they call a kiosk to have them waxed. A computer calculates and chooses the wax to use due to the weather and snow conditions.
The abstract reads as follows: “Automated systems, methods and devices for refinish surface on equipment (such as ski and snowboards), engaging the equipment and retracting ski brake arms are disclosed. The disclosure includes applying wax on at least skis and snowboards and may provide kiosks where skiers and boarders can deposit their equipment in a track and have appropriate wax for current snow conditions applied to the equipment.”
Description: “a substantial unmet need in the art is for an automated device for applying wax to winter sport equipment that can be used publicly, requires a limited amount of space for operation, and assists in proper selection of wax for snow conditions. The disclosure overcomes the problems of the prior art by providing an automated device which cleans winter sporting equipment, applies wax, and scrapes off excess wax while contained in a housing that requires limited space and assists in selection of wax based on most current snow conditions. The disclosure also provides for a public kiosk where skiers and snowboarders can insert their equipment and have it waxed on-site. This does not require either a significant time investment in manual waxing or cumbersome acts of bringing equipment to a technician ahead of time.”
Practical, I guess, and seems handy in many (ski) situations. It remains to be seen if these kiosks are available to use on Sunday when Vasaloppet takes place.
If one intends high performance in gliding this one is interesting:
HIGH-PERFORMANCE SKI WAX COMPOSITION AND PREPARATION METHOD THEREFOR. Publication number: WO2018182087
This patent application describes a wax composition including superhydrophobic carbon nanoparticles and preparation methods. While using that kind of compositions the hydrophobic properties within the wax are increased and thereby, the friction reducing abilities, are optimized.
It remains to be seen how well the performance is and remember, there are quite a few uphills in Vasaloppet so friction could be preferred during some stretches.
What if you want to practice before Vasaloppet but there’s no snow? Well, then you could always roller ski. In this patent application a special pair of roller skis are presented:
ROLLER SKI Publication number: WO2012060714
From the abstract: “The invention relates to a roller ski which is employed amongst other things for training in classic cross-country skiing during the summer. The object of this roller ski is to achieve a pressure-dependent grip when a kick is generated, with the result that more pressure on the ski from the foot provides better grip. This is in order to simulate skiing on snow, where in classic style pressure has to be placed on the ski during the kick in order to obtain grip on the middle of the ski. The invention is based on a common principle. Roller systems with free roll both forwards and backwards are combined with roller systems with one-way roll, in such a manner that when the pressure on the roller ski from the skier increases, the roller system(s) with one-way roll will be activated to an increasing extent as the pressure on the ski increases, with the result that the ski obtains grip thereby enabling a kick to be generated. The grip is obtained without any risk of the ski jerking in the event of unexpected pressure from a rough surface. Without extra pressure the roller ski will be liable to back-sliding just like a classic cross-country ski with grip wax under the middle and glide wax at the front and rear.”
It seems like these roller skis are extra good for training classic style skiing, due to the pressure grip generated while kicking. Clever.
Here in Stockholm the snow is gone by now and the birds are singing so maybe some roller skiing is a great alternative to keep the Vasaloppet spirit afloat.
We wish you all a lovely week of Vasaloppet and sun!