The ski season 2020 is about to start in a few weeks. Have you already prepared your skis for the first snow? Have you waxed your skis already, or have you actually ever thought about ski waxing? Many skiers invest a good amount of money in new powder guns, but never actually take care of them. Many people don’t even bother to maintain their skis, and only a fraction of skiers regularly wax their skis. If you are interested in waxing skis, then read this post.
Ski waxing is an important part of ski maintenance. Wax protects the base of a ski and lessens friction. Ski wax is like the motor oil that keeps a motor running and in good operating condition. Ski wax is necessary to keep skis operating well. You can go skiing without ever waxing your skis, but the performance of your skis will not come even close to the level of properly waxed skis.
Waxing Skis is Important
You might not have ever heard this before, but as snow gets colder (like -20 Centigrade) it can actually damage the base of your skis. In cold temperature snow crystals become sharper. In order to avoid skis from getting damaged, you must use cold temperature ski wax which protects the ski base from getting cut by sharp snow crystals.
How about warmer snow? In warmer temperature snow becomes wetter, which causes more friction between the ski and snow. Warm temperature ski wax removes some of the friction, which leads to easier and faster gliding.
What Equipment is Necessary for Waxing Skis?
Different weather conditions require different ski waxes. So the first thing you need to know before waxing skis is to know the weather conditions. Next you need some tools for waxing skis.
- Ski wax for the current temperature and snow conditions
- Iron for ironing the wax into the ski base
- Vise for stabilizing skis while waxing
- Scraper for removing extra wax
- Brush for removing extra wax
Note that the iron should be a special ski waxing iron, not the one you use to iron your shirts. If you use the same iron for waxing skis, you will destroy your shirts the next time you iron them. A ski waxing iron is also able to maintain a consistent temperature, which helps to avoid burning the ski wax. Therefore it is recommended to purchase an iron specifically made for waxing skis.
It is not always easy to find a place for vise at home, but I strongly recommend you try. The reason is that waxing skis without a vise can be really frustrating: if the skis are not locked down, they keep flopping around as you’re trying to work on them. Some skiers wax their skis without a vise, but I can tell you that a vise makes waxing skis a lot easier and less frustrating.
There are different ski waxing brushes available, from steel to nylon. It makes sense to purchase both of them, but if you want to buy only one, then choose the nylon brush. We recommend you purchase a ski waxing brush that integrates both nylon and steel brushes, like the one in this picture. A brush is used to remove extra ski wax.
How to Wax Skis?
Now that you have all the necessary equipment, it’s time to start waxing skis. Here are our tips for waxing skis at home.
Start by selecting the right wax for the current temperature. Check the temperature outside or in the weather forecast and find the appropriate ski wax. Notice that ski waxes are designed for snow temperature and air temperature is usually couple of degrees lower than snow temperature, so you may need to do a little bit of math here.
Start waxing skis by dripping melted ski wax from the iron to the ski base. Hold your iron about 5-7 inches above the ski base, and drip melted ski wax constantly around the ski base. One 60-gram ski wax bar should be enough for waxing five skis and three snowboards. The actual number depends on the size of your skis. If you have so-called fat skis, then you naturally need a bit more wax than for regular skis.
Next, start ironing the ski wax by moving the iron constantly on ski base. Make sure not to stop moving the iron because keeping the iron in one spot can seriously damage the base of your skis. After ironing the ski wax into your ski, let it cool for an hour.
Next you need to scrape off the excess wax. Start scraping from the tail of your ski. Hold your scraper at a 45-degree angle to the ski, and scrape back and forth. Continue scraping until you cannot remove any more ski wax.
The last phase is brushing. Start with your stiffest brush and move to softer ones along the way. Start brushing from the tip of your ski, and head towards the tail of your ski. Continue brushing until you cannot remove any ski wax with your softest brush. Clean your skis with paper towel in between when you switch from stiffer to softer brush.
Finally clean your skis with paper towel. Congratulations, you’re done waxing your skis.
How often should my skis be waxed?
It would be optimal for you to wax your skis before each skiing outing, like ski racers. But for most of us this is not possible. I usually wax my skis a few times a year. A good rule of thumb is to wax your skis every tenth skiing day.
What kind of waxing tips and ideas do you have? Do you wax your skis using a different method? Please tell us how you wax your skis and what you would do differently. Just leave a comment below.