How to Wax Skis | Ski Waxing Guide for the Perfect Glide

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Skiing is tons of fun! Whether you’re racing down the mountain on the best quality all mountain skis or just getting started with your very first set of the best skis for beginners, you’ve locked into a thrilling sport that offers nonstop speed and thrills. The only thing that makes the thrills stop is when your skis run out of wax and you don’t know how to wax skis.

A lot of people will take them to the professionals to wax, but did you know that if you learn how to wax skis at home you can save yourself a lot of time and money? If you learn how to wax your downhill skis or your best powder skis on your own, you will find that you can get that perfect, custom glide that is best suited to your personal style. It also means you can wax whenever you feel the need, instead of having to wait to take skis to a shop or not having the ability to wax them when you feel them stop floating as well.

This article will teach you how to wax your skis, whether you need to know how to wax cross country skis or trick skis. You will learn how often to wax skis, and what sort of wax is best for your needs. By the end, you’ll be ready! 

Wax Types for Your Skis

Liquid and paste waxes are available, but not recommended. Although they seem like a very quick and easy shortcut, the truth is that they wear off just as quickly as you can apply them and offer almost no protection for your base. This is why professionals all use hot waxing methods. 

Universal Wax

Recreational skiers who want to hit the slopes without too much hassle should grab a universal wax.

These are applied in the same way as temperature specific waxes but they’re designed for a wide range of temperatures so you can use it in any condition without losing effectiveness. 

Thermo Activated Ingredients

A good thing to look for is a wax that has thermo-active ingredients added to it. These will automatically adjust your wax hardness for top performance in any type of snow temperature or terrain condition.

Hydrocarbon

Hydrocarbon waxes are a great basic ski wax. These glide waxes cover a wide range of temperatures for different types of snow. It’s also a great lubricant. Hydrocarbon waxes are usually pretty affordable and they are suitable for every level of ski skill from beginner to racing professional.

Base Wax

Ski bases need to be lubricated for protection because snow is abrasive no matter how fluffy it feels. It also ends up working with air to oxidize your skis.

Buying a base prep wax will ensure that the wax penetrates deeply into your ski’s base. They are a great way to start lubricating skis. New skis will do especially well with this. These will combine ultra-soft wax penetration with the ultra-hard wax protection against abrasion. 

Graphite

Waxes that add graphite will have a protection against static in dirty and dry snow. If you’re planning to ski through these conditions, then find some of the graphite wax to enhance your performance.

Fluorocarbon

If you’re skiing in high humidity conditions or over excessively moist and wet snow, then grab a fluorocarbon wax. This will increase your ability to glide over the snow. This hydrophobic material blends into the hydrocarbon wax to repel the water and protect your skis against oxidation. 

Racing Wax Overlay

The finishing touch for racing should be a wax overlay. Apply it on the hill right before your race starts for instantaneous acceleration and the ability to hit your top speed much faster than otherwise.

How to Wax Skis

Waxing is really easy, and you don’t need a ton of supplies to do it right.

It’s very simple. Just grab your wax, an iron, a plastic scraper, a brush, and in some cases rubbing alcohol, a metal file, and a ski vise.

Now that you’ve got all your tools, it’s time to learn how to wax skis.

Clean Ski Base

The first step is to get your ski base cleaned. You need to remove the dirt and old wax that accumulates as you ride. Make sure that you retract the brake on your ski. Just push the pedal down to pop the arms parallel with the ski. You can either clamp it into this position or use a large, strong rubber band to secure it by looping it over the top of one heelpiece and hooking to the other arm.

Tighten the vise around the middle of your ski base to hold it into place securely If you don’t have a vise, you can support your ski on some stacks of books. Next, start cleaning the base with an acrylic wax scraper. Use base cleaners sparingly because these will quickly deteriorate and dry out your ski’s base materials and decrease the lifespan. In fact, using a little bit of alcohol will work just as well without adversely affecting your skis.

With a bronze or brass brush, move aggressively from tip to tail to remove oxidized material and get everything clean. Follow this with a fiber pad so you can remove and of the fuzz in the base burn caused by abrasive types of snow. Let them dry for around 20 minutes before moving to the next step. 

Apply Wax

Next, apply your wax. You will need an iron that can maintain a regular temperature. They sell special ones for this purpose, which are safer than home irons that aren’t as good at holding temperatures, but in a pinch, you can use a high-end home iron on medium setting as long as you know it can't be used on clothes after being used for waxing. 

Hold the bar of wax to the base of your iron, with the heat set on medium so you don’t burn your wax or ski. Let the melted wax drip onto your ski base. You don’t want to smoke your wax. 

Next, iron the wax into your base for 30 to 45 seconds. Make sure your iron is constantly in motion so you don’t burn your ski or your wax. The goal is to allow your wax to penetrate the base and spread the wax evenly throughout your skis. 

Cool and Scrape

When you finish applying the wax, you need to let it cool to room temperature. Once it’s cooled down, scrape off the excess wax using your acrylic scraper. Leave a thin layer on the base. The goal is to have the wax in your base rather than on your base. 

Brush and Polish for Maximum Glide

After you’ve scraped the skis, the last step is brushing it. You need to get the surface wax out of the base structure and texture. Use a nylon, horsehair, or bronze brush for this task. This will clear some channels for moisture, so you have some help breaking the snow surface suction. It also enhances the way the ski glides over snow. 

Finally, wipe your ski down with a fine fiber pad. This will clean off any remaining wax particles which the brushing caused and also polish your base. And that’s it, ski waxing is done and now off to the slopes!

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