Shawn

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Images of bases including time since last grind and/or wax would be elucidating.

These skis have been used for about 500,000 vertical feet. I am the original owner. DPS Phantom was applied by L9 at the time of purchase. They have only been sharpened on the edges, no base grinds yet, and had only one traditional wax application, which was last week. I have skied approximately 10,000 vertical feet on them since then. I will try to provide better pictures when lighting is better, if that would be helpful. I do not have proper tuning equipment to confirm, but they may be slightly base-high underfoot. I don't have enough tuning experience to really comment on the flatness of the ski, and I am unsure of how flat they were when they were new from the factory.

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Doug Briggs

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@Shawn, thanks for the photo.

A recent wax would disguise any possible base burn, unfortunately. Feel free to post another photo before you wax again. ;-)
 

DanoT

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Yesterday I took my skis in and he asked me again if I was also interested in waxing at home. And I again said that I do for my other skis, but don’t on those since they have Phantom applied. For the first time he broke it down further and specifically said that while having Phantom might keep them gliding, it doesn’t offer any protection to the bases at all. He said that I’m wearing out my bases, especially nearest my edges from the abrasion of manmade snow, and that it would be much more protected if I waxed them regularly.
The thing is, you have 4 seasons with a lot of vertical and DPS Phantom and very little wax, so your skis are a test case. Is there base burn or other signs of damage or excessive base wear near the edges or anywhere else on the bases?
 

MissySki

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The thing is, you have 4 seasons with a lot of vertical and DPS Phantom and very little wax, so your skis are a test case. Is there base burn or other signs of damage or excessive base wear near the edges or anywhere else on the bases?
It’s hard to get a good picture with lighting.. my skis do need a grind in general obviously. I like to ski natural terrain with bumps and trees most, but even groomers have been low tide in the East at times this season. I actually haven’t been in the trees yet this season though. These are my daily drivers so I ski them a significant amount of the time. I ski in the East, so mostly manmade snow and firm/icy but I take them West too. I average around 50 days per season overall. They haven’t been waxed since they went in for a tune with Mike last season, I have been on snow 23 days so far but not all on these. I don’t recall if the bases were ground last season too or not, sometimes he will say I only need edges done and will wax then too. For the first time since getting Phantom on them I actually have been feeling like the glide is not great the last few weeks and like they do need wax. That combined with my edges needing some love brought me to SkiMD yesterday. All of my other skis without Phantom look much prettier on the bottoms I swear! Lol

He specifically pointed out the wear lines going down the length of the ski right behind my edges which you can visualize in the first picture pretty well I think.. when mentioning Phantom not protecting bases at all like wax would.

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gratedwasabi

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Interesting stuff! I'll probably wax my phantom skis once to end the season and once halfway through it, feel like that should give me best of both worlds.
 

MissySki

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@MissySki, the top picture clearly shows base burn. Base burn is not fast which would lead to your commenting 'glide is not great the last few weeks'.
I’ve always been told that skis with Phantom won’t look nice and shiny on the bottoms due to not waxing which makes sense, and that the gray dry looking color you get is what is to be expected with Phantom without wax. So when they look grey, is it always base burn, or? They've looked gray before without feeling slow.. but perhaps it's just gotten bad enough now to feel it?
 

MissySki

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Yup. Base burn and dings/scratches.
Wax wouldn't have prevented the dings and scratches though, right? The long scratch down the middle was an unfortunate occurrence when we had a dusting of snow and I glided too close to White Cap lodge at Sunday River, not realizing what lurked right beneath.. hit a nice hidden rock that stopped my gliding real quick. I was so mad I did that not even actually skiing, though at least it was the base and I didn't hit my edges on anything..
 

cantunamunch

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Wax wouldn't have prevented the dings and scratches though, right?

"Prevented", no.

The long scratch down the middle was an unfortunate occurrence when we had a dusting of snow and I glided too close to White Cap lodge at Sunday River, not realizing what lurked right beneath.. hit a nice hidden rock that stopped my gliding real quick. I was so mad I did that not even actually skiing, though at least it was the base and I didn't hit my edges on anything..

Believe it or not, the dings and scratches are mostly cosmetic defects. "structure" in a way.

On a hypothetical pair with 200 days on them and just ^those scratches and zero base burn, I wouldn't even bother grinding. Just brush out, Fibertex polish, wax, brush and go.

Unfortunately, the existing base burn would reappear in 3-4 hours if you did that with ^that actual pair.
 

MissySki

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"Prevented", no.



Believe it or not, the dings and scratches are mostly cosmetic defects. "structure" in a way.

On a hypothetical pair with 200 days on them and just ^those scratches and zero base burn, I wouldn't even bother grinding. Just brush out, Fibertex polish, wax, brush and go.

Unfortunately, the existing base burn would reappear in 3-4 hours if you did that with ^that actual pair.
That's good to know in general about the scratches! I try to not be overly worried about that stuff as long as it's not too deep. It's been a difficult mentality to change in my head, but one I've had to with wanting to ski in trees and bumps in the East where there are often sharks waiting to bite ya! :) The whole "tools not jewels" bit is still tough for me since I'm someone who is very careful with my belongings in every other aspect of my life, but I want to ski that terrain more than I want to protect my skis fully so..

I'm bummed about the base burn though.. this definitely makes me want to just wax them more again versus throwing caution to the wind with Phantom as I have.
 

Doug Briggs

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I’ve always been told that skis with Phantom won’t look nice and shiny on the bottoms due to not waxing which makes sense, and that the gray dry looking color you get is what is to be expected with Phantom without wax. So when they look grey, is it always base burn, or? They've looked gray before without feeling slow.. but perhaps it's just gotten bad enough now to feel it?
The gray I see is near the edges which is typical for base burn. It's wear the ski's bases take the most pressure and contact with snow/ice. Not only is it gray, but if you looked at that area with a loupe (10x magnifier) I'd wager a case of Banquet that you'd see the material looks significantly different from the areas that aren't gray. That would indicate base degradation beyond simply color change.
 
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Doug Briggs

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Interesting discussion for a subject I've never given much thought to. How big a deal is base burn? Where does it fall on a scale of 1-10, where 1=cosmetic only, and 10=the skis are trashed and need to be retired?
3 if you are a recreational skier. 10 if you race. Skiing is all about gliding. Base burn reduces your ski's ability to glide.

It can be remedied, but only by a base grind. Wax is a cosmetic 'repair' for base burn that does nothing but give the illusion that base burn is not present by hiding it. Kind of like wetting a surface that is dull to make it shine. Once the surface dries again, the dull finish returns. Wax does however protect the bases from burn.
 

MissySki

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Interesting discussion for a subject I've never given much thought to. How big a deal is base burn? Where does it fall on a scale of 1-10, where 1=cosmetic only, and 10=the skis are trashed and need to be retired?

I'm very curious about this too.. I think mine is beyond just base burn as mentioned just upthread.

Not too upset about it at this point as I've been told that it's more my edges that are starting to wear thin and that I don't have a lot of full tunes left in these skis overall. The plan is probably to do another full tune this season and then they will probably be relegated to rock ski status next season. I have a new pair of the same ski waiting in the wings.. but now I do think I will be waxing those regularly whether I use Phantom or not.
 

PisteOff

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My son and I used to ski 4-5 days a week back in Michigan. We would wax 2-3 times a week. I started putting Phantom on my new skis 4 years ago. Waxed religiously or Phantomed you will still get the heavier witness mark or greying along the edges in the middle 2/3rds of the ski. When your on edge that’s where all the pressure resides. That’s where the hard friction is and all the turn pressure are meeting the snow. Manmade snow is harder on bases than natural snow until it goes through a refreeze. My phantom skis are consistently faster than my waxed skis as the phantom doesn’t wear off. I’ve only done one base grind with a tune on one of the 4 I have Phantom on. Looked just like brand new and lost none of its glide. If the greying causes you dismay a quick wax cleans it right up. The pictures below are of one each a Z-90 (white brake) and Endurance 98 (black brake). The Z’s have about 120 days on them. They were base ground and tuned this same time last year at LeSki Mastery in Taos and have maybe 20 days them since. The 98’s came out of the box last November, had Phantom applied, and then were mounted in Winter Park. They have about 2 dozen days on them and haven’t been touched. Unfortunately a number of those days were the first few days Mary Jane was open last year so they got a little beat up. I’ll continue to use Phantom on my new skis. I no longer understand why there is still a debate on this subject. Trust me, being a religious waxer I was skeptical at first. No longer, haven’t been for years now. Glide is good and consistent in all but the very coldest of snow and I mean sub zero but even then once you break loose and get moving all is fine.
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Doug Briggs

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@PisteOff, there is debate because of the way @MissySki's photo shows base burn. Whatever you call it, witness marks, base burn or graying, what is shown in that image will only appear to be gone when waxed, but will return. The only real solution is a grind. I'll put up a case of Banquet on that. ;-)

I'm not saying that Phantom doesn't have it's place, nor that it can't prevent base burn. We don't have sufficient, controlled evidence about its effects other than many like the way it runs and don't need wax. Skiing in MI and skiing in CO are two different things. Two weeks on MJ and Taos is a far cry from two weeks at Sunday River.

More photos and detailed histories of the skis in the photos will help quell debate as we'll have facts, not just anecdotal stories of great performance, base burn and everything in between. I'm glad you're happy with the product. I still wax exclusively, but that's likely the racer in me.

As an aside and to rebut a frequent argument for Phantom about how wasteful waxing is, this is how much wax is 'wasted' when I scrape skis. In this case a pair of 188 Ranger 99s. So not tiny skis.

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It's fluffy so looks like a lot more than it is.
 

MissySki

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My son and I used to ski 4-5 days a week back in Michigan. We would wax 2-3 times a week. I started putting Phantom on my new skis 4 years ago. Waxed religiously or Phantomed you will still get the heavier witness mark or greying along the edges in the middle 2/3rds of the ski. When your on edge that’s where all the pressure resides. That’s where the hard friction is and all the turn pressure are meeting the snow. Manmade snow is harder on bases than natural snow until it goes through a refreeze. My phantom skis are consistently faster than my waxed skis as the phantom doesn’t wear off. I’ve only done one base grind with a tune on one of the 4 I have Phantom on. Looked just like brand new and lost none of its glide. If the greying causes you dismay a quick wax cleans it right up. The pictures below are of one each a Z-90 (white brake) and Endurance 98 (black brake). The Z’s have about 120 days on them. They were base ground and tuned this same time last year at LeSki Mastery in Taos and have maybe 20 days them since. The 98’s came out of the box last November, had Phantom applied, and then were mounted in Winter Park. They have about 2 dozen days on them and haven’t been touched. Unfortunately a number of those days were the first few days Mary Jane was open last year so they got a little beat up. I’ll continue to use Phantom on my new skis. I no longer understand why there is still a debate on this subject. Trust me, being a religious waxer I was skeptical at first. No longer, haven’t been for years now. Glide is good and consistent in all but the very coldest of snow and I mean sub zero but even then once you break loose and get moving all is fine. View attachment 190390 View attachment 190391 View attachment 190392

None of my non-Phantom skis have ever looked as bad as the base burn on my Phantom skis now.. Though I also don't think these skis have ever looked this bad either, so it seems they've gotten worse now and the glide is also suffering overall which is new for my experience with Phantom before this. But I have a lot more days on my skis as well.

Are your current skis pictured being skied in MI still or do you ski in the West now? That would make a big difference in our varying experiences with Phantom. I ski almost exclusively in New England and so obviously the abrasion I'm getting is much different than soft Western snow. I don't care about the gray color aesthetically, I purely care if my ski bases are degrading prematurely due to not waxing them and also not liking the slow glide I'm currently experiencing. Perhaps I will still use Phantom in the future but still wax as well for the protective benefits I may be missing here.
 

PisteOff

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@Doug Briggs I agree with regards to the difference in snow and the difference in the friction created by it. Manmade and refrozen natural is just ice crystal ground up by a groomer and laid out pretty. It’s very abrasive. To me, a base isn’t truly burned until it goes fuzzy. I’ve had em get fuzzy and that was the nexus of setting up our own tuning bench and then learning how to properly care for our skis. Personally, I only want to grind a base when my edge base bevels require a heavy grind or much more than just a light touch up. For the obvious reasons right.

I always waxed my NASTAR and beer league skis and that won’t change. Racing is different. For recreational skiing though I prefer Phantom. Unfortunately I started using Phantom the year I left Michigan so I can’t speak to how well it would or would not do in those conditions. The Z’s have skied a lot of refreeze and sometimes get some greying but they haven’t fuzzed out nor have they deteriorated through the grind structure. If you’re wiping out grind structure at the edges you have some serious wear going on. It should take a loooong time to accomplish that.
 

PisteOff

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None of my non-Phantom skis have ever looked as bad as the base burn on my Phantom skis now.. Though I also
Last I skied out East was the Killington Cup 2018. How long has Phantom been on these skis? How long since your last grind in ski days? Looking at your pictures all I can think is nothing you put on them is going to alleviate all of the scratching going on there. You’re definitely wiping out structure at the edge. Maybe a ceramic coating….. :duck:

I’d give them a base grind/tune/wax and monitor. Judging by how scratched up they are I don’t know that anything will fully protect your skis from what is happening. That kind of abrasion is going to nullify wax pretty quick.

I keep going back to your pictures and the more I look at your pictures the more you look base high. I’d bet if you put a base bevel guide and a file across your base you’d peel nothing but poly. You could put a tru-bar, machinist level, scale, or square across your base and see it real quick too. If your base high then your edges aren’t engaging correctly. That would instantly explain the excessive wear you’re seeing at the edge like that.
 
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