3 Tips To Get The Most From Your Ski/Snowboard Wax – Mixing & Layering

Today, I’ll be covering advanced tricks that you can use to get the most from your waxing. If you’re not familiar with waxing, refer to my previous blog on how & why to wax your skis/snowboard.

Instead of just waxing your base with the same all-temperature wax every time, you can mix other waxes together and layer your waxes to get better performance.

Remember, the below tips aren’t *must do’s* but rather, they are things you can do if you feel like getting more from your wax jobs. If you can’t be bothered with this extra work, just stick with all temperature wax from the local snow shop and wax like you normally would 😉

1) Match the wax to the temperature

You’ll find that you can buy wax in either ‘all-temperature’ or specific warm or cold weather wax. If you buy a hot or cold weather wax, it means that the wax is best suited for use in those types of temperatures.

How do I tell what temperature works best for the wax?

You’ll find a temperature range listed on the packaging of waxes. This will tell you the ideal temperature for the wax.

2) Different types of waxes for different situations

Wax comes in several different types and each different type has different advantages and benefits.

Hydrocarbon Wax

This is your standard wax. If you go into any snowboard/ski shop and ask to buy a normal bar of wax, this is what they’ll give you.

It’s cheap and it does the job, which is why most skiers and snowboarders just use hydrocarbon wax all the time.

Bluebird Hydrocarbon Wax

Fluorocarbon Wax

This is your upper class wax. It’s made with a special chemical, flourine, that repels water and makes your base glide better, which is why all ski/snowboard racers use some sort of fluoro type wax.

Swix Fluoro Wax

Why not use fluoro wax all the time?

It costs a lot more than normal wax, up to 3+ times the cost of your standard hydrocarbon wax. This makes it cost a lot over the course of a season if you wax often.

High, Medium or Low Fluoro Wax?

You’ll find that fluoro waxes come with either high, medium or low fluorine added. If you use fluoro wax, you need to match the type of fluoro wax according to how wet the snow is.

High Fluoro – Used on wet snow that you can make into a really wet snowball

Medium Fluoro – Used on snow that you can make into a snowball

Low Fluoro – Used on dry snow that is hard to pack into a snowball

Base Prep Wax

This is a special soft wax that is made to really absorb into your base. It’s designed to be used as just the first coat of wax on a snowboard. Don’t worry if you’re confused right now, I’ll explain how to use this in the ‘layering your wax’ section of this article.

One Ball Jay Base Prep Wax

Graphite Wax

Graphite wax is useful when you are riding dirty snow. The graphite inside the wax reduces friction from the dirt and other things in the snow, so you’ll only really use graphite wax when the snow is older and dirtier.

Graphite also reduces the waterproof level of your base, so it’s not really a wax that you use by itself, but it’s useful for mixing and layering, as I describe below.

Kuu Graphite Wax

3) Layering your wax

Alright, now that you know the different waxes, here’s how you actually use each of them properly.

Apply a base layer using base prep wax and hydrocarbon wax

You’ll want to put a nice base layer of base prep wax before using any other waxes. If you have already used other wax on your skis/snowboard, get a base cleaner (about $10 from any ski/snowboard shop) and follow the directions on the bottle to get rid of the wax in your base.

To apply your base layer:

1) Use your base prep wax and do a ‘hot wax’. This means you wax like you normally would, except after ironing on the wax, scrape it off while it’s still hot.

2) Now use your base prep wax again 2 more times, except use it as if you were doing a normal wax job. This means you’ll iron on the wax and wait at least 30 min before you scrape it off.

3) Now apply a layer of hydrocarbon wax and scrape off like a normal wax job.

Now you’ve got a good base layer of wax that other stuff can go on top of. You don’t need to redo this base layer every time you wax, this is just something you do once at the start of a season.

How to use fluorocarbon wax

When using fluoro wax, you should apply it on top of a layer of hydrocarbon wax. If you did the base layer above, you’re set, just apply the fluoro wax as if you were waxing your snowboard like usual.

How to use graphite wax

Once again, you’ll want to apply your graphite wax on top of a layer of hydrocarbon wax. So again, if you’ve set up your normal base layer, you’re good to do.

With graphite wax, you should mix it with your normal hydrocarbon wax.

1) Apply it by rubbing the block of graphite wax on your base.

2) Drip your regular hydrocarbon wax on your base as well.

3) Iron all the wax and wax like normal.

I hope this guide was helpful and not too confusing. I know mixing and layering can get confusing, so feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below.

– Jed

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Comments

  1. Great post, Jed! Thanks a lot, mate! The only thing that’s unclear to me is how to open the base properly. Do I do it in the beginning of the season or a the end of it? Do I rinse my board with water and wipe it dry after applying the base cleaner, as some suggest, or just apply it, let it dry completely and apply the first layer of the base-prep wax right over the base cleaner? How do you do it? Thanks again, mate, for all fine work you put in this project!

    • Your base will open up whenever you’re waxing because heat is what opens the base up, so your base opens up automatically anytime you wax with an iron.

      With base cleaner I’ll spray it on a cloth, clean my base with the cloth then wipe it off with a wet rag. A lot of people do this because base cleaner isn’t really that great for your base, but sometimes it’s the only way to get rid of dirt that refuses to come off your base.

      Just make sure you don’t use base cleaner often. I only use it maybe a couple times per season and only when if I’m willing to do a hot wax afterwards and re-do all my waxing since it dries out your snowboard’s base and strips the wax out.

  2. Jed,

    I’ve been reading the tuning tips at racewax.com, and they do not recommend using base cleaners directly on bases of skis or boards. Instead, they advocate hot-wax-scrape approach as the best for cleaning and conditioning bases before the season. What do you think?

  3. Hey Jed. Great post here. I just have one question.
    I know you said to use base prep and hydrocarbon as a base layer at the beginning of the season…

    then everytime I put on a layer of fluoro, should I always do a layer of hydrocarbon before hand? Or did you mean the hydrocarbon at the beginning of the season is good enough for the fluoro wax? Thanks!

    • Hey Jeremy, I meant the hydrocarbon wax at the start of the season is good enough for the fluoro wax.

      You can just put your fluoro wax straight on since you already did the base prep at the beginning of the season.

  4. Hey, thanks! The internet is the best education ever. I’ll be sure to put a good base and the fluoro wax on so my board doesn’t get any cavities. You see what I did there. Yeah. Fluoro, fluoride. uh huh

  5. I’m fairly new to tuning and waxing snowboards and am just beginning to maintain my snowboard to ride 80-100 days a season. What level of investment/necessities should I buy into considering I don’t have the money to buy all the necessary equipment? Thanks.

    • The least amount of tuning gear you’ll need to maintain a snowboard is a diamond stone to get rid of burrs on your edges, an edge sharpener, wax and an iron of some sort.

      You can get away with a standard cheap house iron, but don’t put any water in the steam section or anything like that (and definitely don’t use it on clothes after waxing your board).

      Somewhere like Tognar (tognar.com) is a decent place to pick up bits and pieces you need.

  6. Hey Jed,
    Great blog.Really easy to undrestnad and really enjoyable.Keep the nice work,man!There is a thing that I didn’t get:Will i apply a layer of hydrocarbon wax over my prep+hydrocarbon wax combo?And do i need to use base cleaner before putting a prep+hydrocarbon wax at start of a new season to clean all the waxes that applied to board?or can i just put a new layer of base wax at start of a season?
    P:S:english isnt my 1st language so sorry for some misunderstandings

    • Thanks JP, glad you like the blog.

      In general, use base cleaner if you want at the start of the season, but honestly a hot wax is better than using a base cleaner if you want to get your board clean. Base cleaner isn’t great for your base.

      If you’re using just plain hydrocarbon wax then yeah, you can put prep+hydrocarbon layer then another hydrocarbon layer on top. Whatever type of wax you use normally just goes over your base layer of base.

      It’s honestly not a big deal though, that’s just the way I like to do it.

  7. Gregory says:

    Hey Jed,
    I know that after some time wax layers start to stay at base and it increases its performance and durability.You said when we hot wax-scarpe while its warm will remove all the layers of wax.Does it remove all the wax that base absorbed after 2-3 seasons.
    And should i clean the base with a metal-wire brush and horshair thing before and after waxing?

    • Yes it does, but you may have to do a few hot scrapes in a row if your base is very dirty.

      I don’t use a metal wire brush, but I do use the horsehair brush after waxing. There’s no point is doing it before waxing, just do it once after each wax.

      • So my bases performance wont increase if i hot wax it?They say everytime you wax you allow base to absorb more wax next time?So i wont get full performance out of base if i hot wax it?

        • You should only be hot waxing when you want to clean out your base and re-do all your waxing and layering.

          For example, I only hot wax my base at the start and end of the season, never during the season because I don’t want to re-do my waxing and layering.

        • Your bases performance doesn’t keep increasing forever with each wax – wax doesn’t work like that.

          Hot waxing won’t affect your bases performance. Just make sure you redo your wax layering after a hot wax and its fine.

  8. Can I just replace graphite with Molybdenum wax. Any details on how to use moly waxes? Should i just add it to the base layer after a first hot wax that is scrapped?
    Or I should get fluorocarbon wax wit Molybdenum additive and layer it on top of the base layers?

    • Oops, I missed this comment, sorry.

      From what I’ve heard you can replace graphite with molybdenum, but I don’t have much experience using molybdenum wax sorry 🙁 I’ve always just used graphite, but I imagine it’s similar to how you use graphite waxes.

  9. Hi jed! I Love your blogs! I understand that you can clean your base by applying wax and scraping it off right away, but do have to use a base prep wax to do this? Or can i use my normal all temp wax?

    Thank you for your time!
    Rinn

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