Learning how to wax your own skis can save you precious time and money, in addition to help protect your equipment from abrasions! Plus, once your learn the proper techniques for waxing your skis, you will be able to do so more frequently – and as a result enjoy better (and faster!) turns on your favorite mountain. At the end of the day, you simply cannot wax your skis too much! Following the steps below, you will be on your way to blazing down the mountain on a freshly-waxed pair of skis.
What You Will Need
You may find that you already own some of the supplies below. Others will need to be purchased from a local ski shop or online retailer:
- Ski Wax – Read below for the various types
- Iron – An old iron laying around the house will work – or, buy one specifically for ski wax.
- Workbench or vise – Use the workbench in your garage or basement, along with vise clamps.
- Metal Scraper – You’ll only use this is you are using P-Tex
- Plastic Scraper – Any plastic scraper with a decent edge will do the trick! They only cost a few bucks at your local ski shop.
- Edge Tool – Fairly inexpensive and can be picked up at any local ski shop.
- Brush – Use a soft brush to “polish” the wax once it has been scraped off.
- Stone – Use a stone to remove rust from the ski and board edges
- P-Tex – Critical for filing those deep gouges in your ski or board base.
Types of Waxes
When it comes to types of wax that will be used on your skis there are two primary options depending upon what type of skiing you plan to do. Generally speaking skiers will want to use a lower grip wax for most types of downhill skiing but if you plan on going cross-country skiing a higher grip wax will be optimal to allow for improved traction.
Once you have determined the type of skiing planned waxes are then broken down into two categories: all-temperature and temperature specific. These two categories are fairly straightforward as all-temperature waxes work well in a wide variety of temperature and snow conditions and are optimal for when the conditions are either unknown or will vary throughout the entirety of the trip. Temperature specific waxes are best for very specific temperature and snow conditions as they have smaller optimal ranges generally spanning 10*F. Along with wax type considerations it is also important to consider the type of iron to use, ski wax specific irons are best but other options also exist.
Clean and Tune Surface – How To Wax Your Own Skis
The first step in learning how to wax your own skis is to stage your skis so that they are set on a sturdy base in order to ensure there is minimal movement throughout the entire process. In order to do this ski brakes should be locked in the ski position and the skis should be set on blocks on a sturdy table so that they are on a flat and even surface. Once the skis have been staged properly the next step is to prepare the bottom of the skis for the waxing process. This step can vary depending upon the condition and type of skis that you have, lower quality skis are generally made with materials that endure a higher level of abuse while higher quality skis are generally made with less abuse resistant materials. The difference in material will determine the extent of cleaning necessary in this step but in either situation it is important to clean the surface of your skis with an abrasive pad to remove dirt and old wax so that the new wax will adhere properly.
After your skis have been cleaned and prepared for wax the next and most arduous step is to iron on the new coat of wax. Throughout this step the objective is to apply a small coat of wax across the entire surface of the ski, from edge to edge, and so that the small pores in the surface are filled. This is done by first melting wax on the hot iron, allowing the melted wax to drip down onto the ski so that a beaded line of melted wax becomes present along the length of the ski. Once a base amount of wax has been applied to the ski the hot iron is then run along the ski to smooth out the bead of wax into a thin film along the ski. While the wax is being smoothed across the ski it is important to remember that the iron is hot and if allowed to linger too long in a certain area can cause damage to the ski. This damage can easily be avoided by continuously moving the iron back and forth and by simply raising it from the surface if a pause is needed at any point. After the wax has been applied to the entire surface of the ski it should then be allowed to cool completely before the next step can begin. The amount of time fluctuates with the type of wax that is used but generally allowing it to cool for 30 minutes is sufficient.
Once the wax has been allowed to cool thoroughly the next step of scraping the wax can commence. Scraping is essential as leaving too much wax on your skis is a very common error and can lead to decreased effectiveness of the wax. The process of scraping the wax is fairly simple but can take some practice to get just right. When you begin scraping your ski start by angling the scraper in the direction of travel and moving it from the tip to the tail of the ski. By using this direction and angle of motion you optimally remove the excess wax and follow the direction that the ski will move when in use. It is important to remember that a very small amount of wax should remain on your ski after scraping just enough to fill any porous features of the ski and to leave a very thin film across the entire ski, also it is important to remember to scrape the edges of your ski as they should be completely free of wax.
After the skis have been scraped, brushing can begin. The process of brushing smooths out the wax across the surface and generally speaking can not be overdone. Brushing should begin with small strokes from the tip to the tail of the ski and once the surface has been completely smoothed should be finished with a few full length strokes running again from the tip to the tail of the ski. After this process of full ski brushing your skis will be ready for use. As you can see, learning how to wax your own skis is a fairly easy process (once you get the hang of it), and can help you enjoy your time on the slopes!