man waxing snowboard

HOW TO GLIDE WAX YOUR SKIS AND SNOWBOARD

Glide waxing your skis and snowboard gives them an extra boost of speed. Their cornering abilities and carving will also be smoother and it gives an extra layer of protection to the bottom of the skis, making them last longer.

You can apply glide wax to alpine skis, skating skis, backcountry skis, snowboards and even to the tips and tails of cross country skis to give them a more fluid feel.

CHOOSE YOUR WAX

The first thing you need to do is decide what wax fits your purposes. For the average skier or snowboarder who gets away a couple of times a year to pursue their hobby, a universal hydrocarbon wax is the best place to start. They are designed to work well in all temperatures and can be applied with a waxing iron. The universal waxes applied by hot waxing irons usually deliver noticeable results straight off the bat.

If you don’t have time to be messing about with a waxing iron, there are rub on waxes. These don’t deliver the same results as waxes administered with a hot waxing iron but they are better than nothing.

If you are skiing or boarding in particularly cold conditions, it might be worth applying temperature specific wax for below zero conditions. You can find temperature specific waxes for all temperature ranges and you can even blend temperature specific waxes for temperatures on the border between two categories.

To get the maximum glide for racing and competitive skiers and snowboarders, fluorocarbon wax gives the best results. Fluorocarbon waxes can be rather expensive but give the best glide on the snow.

PREPARE YOUR SKIS AND SNOWBOARD FOR WAXING

For skis, the brakes need to be held out of the way while you are waxing. To do this push the heel piece down to retract them and hook an elastic band across on arm of the brake, then pull the elastic band over the top of the heel piece and hook it to the other arm. This should pull the brakes out of the way while you are waxing.

Flip the skis or snowboard upside down and if possible hold them in place with a vice. If you don’t have a vice, some piles of books can be a handy substitute. You will need to clean the base of any dirt with a rag and apply some alcohol to the surface.

Once the alcohol has dried you are ready to apply the wax.

APPLYING THE WAX

To apply the wax, it is best to use an iron which can maintain a steady temperature. For this reason, it is always better to use a waxing iron specifically made for this purpose. Typical clothes irons have a fluctuating temperature which doesn’t make them the ideal choice for applying the wax.

Set the iron temperature. Softer wax requires a much lower temperature than a harder wax designed for colder conditions on the mountain.

Position the iron about 3 inches from the ski or snowboard base and hold a piece of wax up to it. As it melts let it drip onto the ski or snowboard. Gradually move the drips up to the tips and down to the tail until the underside of the board is covered.

Once it’s more or less covered, you can apply the iron to the base of your ski or snowboard and spread the wax evenly so it forms a layer completely covering the base. Be careful not to leave the iron stationary in one place, as the heat could cause blisters on the base. The board should be covered from tip to tail with a thin layer of wax. Then leave it to cool at room temperature.

After it has dried, use a plastic scraper to scrape the layer of wax off. Use overlapping strokes which go from tail to tip and don’t forget to scrape the metal edges as well. When all the wax has been removed brush the surface down to bring out the texture. The wax will not be visible but it will have soaked into the pores of the base.

Here are 2 instructional videos showing the application process for skis and snowboards that I think are quite useful.

 


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Jake Taylor
jake.taylor@dinga.com.au

Jake is a global traveller who has recently called Australia his home again. If he's not travelling, he is writing about it and his experience.