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How to wax skis?

How to know whether you need to wax your skis?

It's a well-known fact that waxing the base of a ski is a compulsory operation before setting off into the mountains, and is part of the regular maintenance you need to carry out on your ski equipment. It must be renewed frequently if you ski often. Racers wax before every training session or competition, but recreational skiers ideally wax at the beginning and end of the season to 'nourish' the base during the period when the skis are stored (summer ski servicing). If you notice that the gliding properties of the skis have deteriorated or if the base is damaged, you can re-wax them during the season. But before going on to the actual waxing, it's important to understand what a ski base is.

Understanding the ski base structure

Each base has a structure designed to improve glide. Small oblique grooves help evacuate the water that accumulates under the tip of the skis when skiing. Waxing improves the properties of the base while protecting it from oxidation. This process considerably increases the ski's gliding ability. 

Structure of a ski base
In order to respect the structure of the ski's base, all brushing and scraping operations should be carried out in the direction of glide, i.e. from tip to tail. 

Ski waxing is divided into 2 stages: cleaning the base and the waxing operation itself.

Paraffin, wax, waxing iron… What are the supplies and equipment required for ski maintenance?

To wax your skis, you will need:

  • 1 block of cleaning paraffin,
  • 1 block of universal ski wax,
  • 1 waxing iron,
  • 1 plastic scraper,
  • 1 bronze brush,
  • 1 soft brush.

How to prepare your skis before waxing?

You may be the most meticulous person in the world but your skis will still attract dirt and filth like a magnet. Ski lift grease, soil and plant residues, groomer oil and other debris annoyingly tend to find their way under your ski bases.

That’s why it is necessary to clean your skis well before you start waxing. This will unload the base of all the impurities you collected on the slopes and prepare the base to absorb the new wax.

First of all, set the iron on 100°C and melt the wax along the ski. Getting the right amount is a little tricky. Try to coat the entire base with a thin and consistent layer of wax.

Be careful with the temperature of the iron. Too hot, it will burn the paraffin and take away its gliding properties. The same applies for the wax. Besides, some waxes contain fluorine whose vapors can be dangerous for your your health so always work in a well-ventilated room and if possible wear a protective mask if you use a fluorine wax.

In order to heat up the wax and paraffin properly, we recommend using a waxing iron. Very light, it can be set up on the ideal temperature and is specially designed to apply wax. You can also use your grandma’s old iron if you have a taste for danger...

Then, spread the wax with the hot iron, slowly and homogeneously on the whole surface of the base. If you hear a crackling sound, it means that your iron is too hot and is damaging the base. If that’s the case, lower its temperature.
On a side note, the base might be resistant but it may not endure the heat if you leave your warm iron in the same spot for too long, in the same way that your normal iron can burn your clothes.

For a good waxing, the ski base should be at room temperature. Therefore, you should avoid waxing your skis right after a session, the contact between the hot substance and the cold base will create a thermal shock causing your wax or wax to crackle immediately.

Once the wax well spread, remove it directly with a plastic scraper. Scrape a few times, always from tip to tail, in order to remove the wax. The result should be a black/greyish residue, meaning the dirt was absorbed into the wax. After that, take your bronze brush and pass it on the base from tip to tail. Never go back and forth and do not press too hard in order to preserve the base microstructure. Finally, get rid of the last residues with a soft brush for the finish touch.

Waxing your skis:

Different types of waxes are available on the market but we recommend the universal ski wax if you're not used to waxing your gear. Performing on a temperature range from -10°C to +10°C, the universal wax is the best way to ride in all conditions and on all types of snow.

To spread the wax, proceed exactly like you did earlier with the cleanser to clean your base. For universal waxes, keep your iron temperature at 100°C and lay a coat of wax on your base before spreading it with the iron.

Unlike the cleaning phase, this time, let the wax rest and soak in. Leave the wax to dry for 2 hours. The wax remover, being lighter than the wax, will rise up to the surface during the drying phase while the wax will go the opposite way and be absorbed by the base.

After 2 hours, your base will have soaked up the wax and all that’s left for you to do is to scrape the excess off. Use the plastic scraper as usual and pass it from tip to tail once again, without pressing too hard.

Finally, brush your base to clean up the very last residues and you’re all done.

All the gear for ski maintenance at Glisshop

Glisshop has all the ski maintenance equipment you need, including wax in different colours depending on the temperature, waxing irons, brushes, as well as tools for edge tuning and minor repairs. Thanks to these accessories, your ski equipment will stay in perfect condition and give you maximum fun. You'll find everything you need for maintenance and preparation, so that your skis perform just as well on wet snow encountered during a spring ski outing, as on light powder or on groomed and abrasive snow.