Every skier dreams of impeccably smooth turns and predictable handling on the trails. The first step in achieving these goals and keeping your skis in top shape is proper waxing. But who wants the hassle and expense of having a ski shop do the maintenance? We’ve put together some DIY tips that will have you waxing your skis like a trained professional in no time.
HOT WAX METHOD
Hot wax is the most effective ski waxing method. Deciding on the best type of wax is contingent on the temperature on the mountain. However, weather conditions are often unpredictable, and temperatures are likely to fluctuate throughout the day and at different altitudes. If this is the case, an all-temp or universal wax is recommended.
Wax types include hydrocarbon wax or fluorocarbon wax. Most recreational skiers will use hydrocarbon wax, which is less expensive than fluorocarbon wax while yielding similar results.
To use the hot wax method, follow these steps:
Lay your skis out flat and ensure breaks are out of the way by retracting them with your hands while wrapping a rubber band around them and the tailpiece to keep in place.
Apply base cleaner with a soft cloth to remove dirt, dust and old wax. Be sure not to apply base cleaner in excess as skis need to be completely dry before moving on to the next step. Once dry, rough the surface by going over the skies with a bronze brush.
Preheat the iron. An ordinary household iron can suffice, but professionals recommend purchasing a specific ski waxing iron as it’s easier to regulate the temperature. The iron should be just hot enough to melt the wax; if the iron is smoking, that’s a good indication that the temperature is too hot for the skis.
Melt the wax with an iron. While holding the iron above the skis, touch the wax to the iron until wax begins to melt and drip onto the ski. Delicately move the iron up and down along the length of the ski to create a coat of wax. Apply additional wax as needed. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or until the wax is cool to the touch.
Starting with the ski tip, use a wax scraper to gently remove any excess wax, leaving a thin coat of wax on the ski. Then use a fine horsehair brush or a nylon fiber brush to remove wax and smooth the surface.
PASTE WAX METHOD
Paste wax is a cold waxing method perfect for skiers seeking a quick and easy method to keep skis waxed.
To wax your skis using the paste wax method, follow these steps:
Begin by laying skis flat and using a vice or wooden blocks to secure skis in place.
Remove dust, dirt and old wax by applying a base cleaner with a soft cloth. Ensure the cleaner is thoroughly dried before gently brushing the skis.
Using the applicator included with the wax, apply the wax to the entire surface of the ski and allow to dry.
Using the polishing tool included in the paste wax kit, polish the ski.
Finish the process by brushing the skis using brushes with varying coarseness.
Finally, always work in a well-ventilated area
Most ski waxes on the market are made from petroleum by-products and therefore are toxic. Whichever waxing method you prefer, remember to always work in a well-ventilated area, or consider using a non-toxic plant-based wax.
According to Peter Arlein, founder and CEO of
mountainFLOW eco-wax, “With petroleum-based waxes, particles are transported into the snowpack and eventually make their way into the area’s rivers and lakes. Using a plant-based product provides a safe and effective waxing solution for the environment as well as the user.”
Learning how to wax your own skis will save you time and money in the long run. And in no time, you’ll find well-maintained skis translating into better ski performance on the slopes.