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How to Wax Your Skis

person wearing a flannel shirt and rubber gloves waxing a pair of skis held in red vice grips

Level Nine Ski Waxing Guide

Waxing your skis isn't just necessary to keep your equipment in top condition, it is also a process that can be relaxing and — dare we say it — fun. It's a way to give your skis some love. It's a quid pro quo thing: they'll give you some amazing and thrilling experiences, you give them the moisture and the protection they need to keep on trucking. Some people insist that you should wax brand-new skis, as in multiple times, before you first hit those slopes. You don't need to get crazy; you'll quickly find that regular waxing will not only prolong the life of your skis, but it will also aid in that sweet glide.

Why Should I Wax My Skis?

After regular use or long storage stints, skis can dry out. Ski bases are porous — they're made from a lightweight, porous material called polyethylene. Waxing acts as a lubricant for your skis, making them hydrophobic (water-resistant). The more water-resistant your skis are, the faster they will zoom down the slopes. There's nothing worse than being all excited to hit those slopes, only to get stuck with ill-prepared skis that drag. A good coat of wax allows your skis to handle better and will add a layer of protection from nicks, scratches and other abrasions. All in all, just isn't a good reason to NOT wax them regularly. Although some ski shops offer waxing at a relatively low price, it's a good way to get down and dirty with your skis. It fosters a sense of pride and ownership, too.

What Kind of Wax Should I Use?

Check out the different types of wax online. You will see that there are multiple kinds for multiple conditions, including temperature-specific ski and snowboard waxes, fluorocarbon ski and snowboard waxes, and green ski and snowboard waxes. You can't go wrong with a good all-temperature snowboard and ski wax. A great choice is our Wend Ski Wax Combo Kit. These types of waxes work in just about any condition. You can also pick up a wax container and check out the graphics or the recommendations on the label. Of course, if you ski only several times per season, an all-temp wax might be your best bet. (You're not a wizard: you can't possibly know the conditions you'll encounter on your jaunts up the mountain.) A good rule of thumb is that when in doubt, ask an expert.

What Equipment Do I Need To Wax My Skis?

You've got your wax, you've got your skis — now what? First, make sure your skis are warm; waxing cold skis isn't going to work well. The wax needs to stay wet to soak into the pores of the base. The longer you keep your skis wet, the better they will absorb that moisture as it dries and hardens. Before you begin your waxing, you'll need to get your brakes out of the way. This can be done by strapping a rubber band on one brake arm, pulling it over the heelpiece and hooking it on the other brake arm. You'll also need several different tools: an iron (any iron, even a clothes iron, will work in a pinch.) Irons that are made for waxing purposes won't have the steam holes that clothing irons have, the SVST Hipro Compact Wax Iron is a great option. You will also need a scraper, a vice (optional, but it's helpful), and brushes.

How To Wax Your Skis

Secure your binding's toepiece in the vice and make sure your skis are secure. You don't want them to get away from you during this process. Wipe off the base with a dry rag or use a scraper to remove any old, dried wax. Get last year's wax out of the way to make way for this season. Heat up your iron — about 140° is a safe bet (but check out the side of your wax container for specific temps). Hold the wax to the iron over your ski and let the wax drip along the entire base of the ski. Then, use the iron to smooth out the wax to make an even layer on the base.

While it dries (about 30 minutes), you can start on your other ski. After the wax has dried, grab your scraper to move that wax — from tip to tail. Working toward you, scrape and remove the excess wax. Repeat all of these steps to make sure your base is fully saturated. Next, use your brush. Working from tip to tail, brush away all of the remaining wax. Remember, the more passes the better.

How Often Should I Wax My Skis?

How often you wax your skis will be directly proportionate to how often you use them. You can't wax them too much. A good rule of thumb is that after two days of use, your ski wax will be begin wearing down. After five uses, you'll definitely begin to notice a slowing. If you can't remember when you last applied a good coat of wax, it should go without saying that you should do it — as soon as possible.

Contact Level Nine

Have questions about how to wax your skis at home? Have questions on how to wax alpine race skis? Whatever questions you may have about the process or what products are best to use, L9 can help out. Contact us. We love skiing as much as our customers, and we're happy to share our product experiences. Whether you give us a call, open a live chat or stop into one of our retail stores, we're here for you. We also carry several different kinds of waxes and accessories. Check out our selection of ski gear, snowboard gear and accessories on our website.