Equipment care. Part 1: Waxing

Every skier and snowboarder who owns equipment wants it to perform as best it can for as long as possible. The more proficient we are on the slope, the more attention we pay to the interplay between our skill and our skis and/or board. Getting our gear to help and not hinder is a fundamental matter and one which concerns everyone - from beginners to advanced skiers. One of the most important equipment care activities is waxing and that is the focus of the first part of this series. There are two kinds to consider: casual cold waxing and professional hot waxing.

Ski waxing
Ski waxing

Important: waxing, scraping off excess wax etc. should be done from the tip to the end of the ski.

Cold waxing

1) It's better to use this casual method than none at all,
2) How often to wax depends on conditions on the slope and frequency of use, though it is generally best to wax every time before going skiing,
3) Pay attention to the base of the skis before waxing. If you see deep scratches, you should strive to get them fixed as soon as possible (more on this in subsequent articles),
4) Several types of wax are available: sticks, sprays, pastes and liquids. Each one should do fine, provided it matches the outside temperature. They typically fit into one of the following categories: for subzero temperatures; for temperatures around 0 degrees; for temperatures above freezing,
5) Wax should be applied onto clean skis (a wax remover can be used for this purpose),
6) Wax from front to back, preferably with natural cork (eg. with felt), which guarantees even distribution.

Hot waxing

1) This is a more advanced and difficult method of waxing,
2) Consider taking your gear to professionals to ensure proper waxing. We recommend against putting it off until the last moment, especially as service might not be available at a moment's notice,
3) DIY requires: an iron (one specifically dedicated to skis or just an old one no longer used for clothes), a plexi scraper, hard and soft nylon bristle brushes, a steel bristle brush, a copper bristle brush and a wax remover,
4) Start by cleaning your ski base. Here you can use the wax remover and the hard nylon or steel bristle brush,
5) Repeat using a copper, bronze or brass brush, so the wax can soak in more deeply in later steps,
6) Apply the base wax. The most commonly used type is for temperatures of -10 degrees Celsius upwards. We can also choose hard wax (for very low temperatures), soft base etc.,
7) Scrape off (using a sharpened scraper) excess wax,
8) Now apply the proper wax to the base. The temperature is correct when the liquid wax sets right behind the iron,
9) Scrape off excess wax,
10) Use a brass, copper or bronze brush to clean the base until its structure becomes visible,
11) Finally, polish the base using a soft nylon brush.

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