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There are good reasons why in former times proper waxing of the skis was regarded as
"black magic", comparable with the occult of the alchemists in the Middle Ages:

In its different forms, snow is just as diverse as nature itself. Its character depends on a large number of factors such as temperature, humidity, age and crystalline structure.
Modern skiwax makes it easy today even for beginners to make the right choice – as long as he can form a clear picture of the condition of the snow and its possible changes during the course of a day. Here – in very simple terms – are the four basic types of snow:

 

New snow is a crystalline, unadulterated form of the snowflake with delicate crystals which – depending on the temperature – are harder at low temperatures and softer at higher temperature. These delicate crystals can be easily compacted during gliding and cause a friction / suction effect which can be prevented with an appropriate wax mixture and corresponding base texture.
Fine-corn snow (old snow) has already undergone one or more
transformation processes as a result of temperature changes which have caused the outer tips of the crystals to melt or break off and have led to a corn structure. Compared with new snow, the suction effect is less pronounced and the friction effect increases. Depending on the temperature the snow can be damp and heavily infiltrated with water or can be dried out by the cold and wind.
Coarse-corn snow (old snow) has completely lost its original form due to repeated melting and freezing processes and been transformed into a snow corn, in other words has become metamorphosed. We speak of old snow or coarse corn snow. Depending on the corn size, a distinction is made between coarse-corn and fine-corn old snow (corn size between 1 and 3 mm). The most common forms of coarse corn snow are fine snow and crusted snow.
Artificial snow or "machine snow” confronts waxers with considerable problems, particularly due to its aggressiveness. Because of its high density and inhomogeneous form, this snow is very dull and demands a particularly high abrasion resistance of the wax. The snow surface changes after a few transformation processes into more crystalline forms, the glide properties improve and less hard waxes can be used again. Despite its unfavorable characteristics, this is the most frequently encountered snow type at alpine events.