How & Why To Wax Your Snowboard/Skis

Today we’re going to cover the how and why of waxing your ski/snowboard base.

What is waxing?

In simple speak, waxing is putting wax inside the base of your ski/snowboard to make it glide better and help you travel faster on the snow.

Why should I wax?

Well.. you don’t have to wax, but waxing your gear regularly does offer benefits to your riding.

For example:

  • It’ll be harder to get stuck on flat terrain
  • You’ll be able to hit park features from closer (less runway required)
  • Waxing regularly helps protect your base from getting dry and wearing out quicker

When happens when I wax my ski/snowboard?

As I covered in my blog post about repairing your base, your base is made up of a material called p-tex. When you heat p-tex, tiny little holes in the p-tex open up, this is similar to our skin which has tiny holes that allow us to sweat.

By putting wax into the tiny holes in p-tex, we create a surface that glides over snow more efficiently. This means you travel faster! The wax also helps you maintain the p-tex and gives it a little protection from wear and tear.

If you don’t wax regularly, your snowboard still glides on the snow, but the p-tex on your base will feel dryer and you’ll find that you travel slower than others who wax regularly.

How often should I wax my ski/snowboard?

For optimum performance, you’ll want to wax every couple days of riding. This will keep your base nice and waxed, because wax typically only lasts a couple full days of riding.  However, don’t worry if you don’t want to wax that often, it just means you’ll travel a little slower.

A large majority of people only wax their skis/snowboard when they need the extra speed. For example, if I find myself getting stuck on flat terrain, I’ll usually wax my snowboard to try to increase my speed.

Go with the amount of waxing that you feel you need, waxing isn’t a must do, it’s just a nice bonus to have.

What do I need to wax my ski/snowboard?

You’ll need:

Waxing Iron – You can use any old iron, it doesn’t have to be a special iron like the one pictured below, any old iron will do. Just know that you can’t use it for clothes as well, unless you want wax on your clothes. I recommend picking up the cheapest iron you can find at any department store.

Dakine Waxing Iron

Wax – You can buy a block/stick of wax for about $10-20 at your local ski/snowboard shop.

There’s actually a lot of different waxes you can use, but for the most part, the average rider can use a standard block of ‘all temperature wax’ which works for most conditions.

For those who want to get in depth information on waxes, I’ll have another blog up soon on using different waxes and how you can select the best wax for you as well as how you can mix waxes to get the best performance.

Bluebird Snowboard Wax

Plastic Scraper – This is just a piece of plastic that is used to scrape off the leftover wax from your base. This will cost about $10 at any ski/snowboard shop.

Dakine Plastic Wax Scraper

Scuff Pad – This isn’t a must have, but it’s really good to have as a final step in your waxing process. You can find these at any supermarket, it’s the same thing used to clean pots and pans.

Scuff Pad

How do I wax my ski/snowboard?

Here’s a couple videos that will take you through the process.

Have fun and if you’re interested in making your wax work even better, make sure to read my next blog dedicated to choosing and mixing waxes.

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Comments

  1. Hey Jed,

    In the video the guy had wax shavings. So when you wax your own board, do you just shave the bar of wax to get shavings? Thanks

    • If you have a bar of wax you can just use the bar. Some snowboarders save their wax shavings after scraping their snowboard to get some extra wax to use for future waxing sessions.

      You only really need to do that if you want to save a little bit of money on wax cost, but honestly it’s a lot of effort to gather wax shavings and re-use them just to save a few dollars on wax.

  2. just had board serviced at a shop not sure if he has taken enough wax off how do you tell a good serviced board to a bad one ??? cheers

    • You shouldn’t be able to see wax clumps on the board if it’s a good wax job.

      It’s pretty typical for a lot of places to do sloppy wax jobs where they leave a ton of wax on the base instead of scraping properly, but thankfully most of the extra wax tends to come off after a day riding groomers.

  3. Hey Jed,

    Just a quick question. I recently waxed up my board for summer storage but I’m not sure if I overheated the base/damaged it. I used a normal iron, I believe the setting was on “silk” (yes, it’s weird like that, matches heat to fabric I guess).

    When I was ironing it there wasn’t any smoke coming off, but I did do a thorough job (maybe too thorough). I did keep the iron moving as much as I could but at some areas I had to keep moving it to get the little areas that were missed out.

    I guess what I’m asking is how would you know if you had damaged your snowboard from overheating? Will the damage be noticeable? How “hot” is too hot exactly?

    Thanks!

    • Hey Mervyn,

      If there wasn’t any smoking while you waxed you should be fine. I wouldn’t worry about it, it sounds like you did everything right.

  4. Hey Jed,
    Do you recommend putting prep+hydrocarbon wax after scraping the wax that protects the board from air(during summer)?Or are we going to put the prep+hydrocarbon and let the last layer stay until the start of season?

    • The way I do it is at the start of each season I re-do all my wax. So right before the season begins I’ll do a hotwax to get all the wax off and make sure my base is nice and clean then re-do all my waxing.

      When I store my board for the season I usually give it a good clean + hot wax to get all the gunk out, then put a layer of just regular wax over the top and store it until the season starts, then as I said earlier I’ll re-do my waxing properly then.

      • And do you reccomend 2010 or 2011 version of dakine super tune kit?2011 version has kinda diffrent design and pattern?

        • No big deal either way, both offer the same stuff. I think the super tune kit is discontinued anyhow, they sell the kits without the iron now and if you want the special wax iron you have to buy it separately (most people just buy a cheap normal iron anyway).

  5. Do you think there is a change at quality between years?I love the plaid design but simple one is newer

  6. Hey Jed,
    Metal or plastic scraper-which one do you advise to scrape the wax and is it unneccesary to buy a rub on wax if i wax my board every 4-5 days of riding?

    • Plastic scraper. Metal can scrape off some of your snowboard’s base if you aren’t careful, so a plastic scraper is a lot safer to use when waxing.

      Avoid rub-on wax – it stays for 1-2 runs then disappears and isn’t worth the effort. It’s mostly only useful to people like racers who benefit from the short term increase in speed.

  7. Gregory says:

    This is what a website says ”
    The Dakine Metal Scraper is a really handy tool to have when scraping off wax or ptex repairs. It is a thick tough blade 6 inches (15cm) wide. It needs a little care when removing wax so the base does not get damaged but will smooth off some scratches and gouges with some care.

    Once you have had a metal scraper you won’t go back to plastic!”
    Do you agree?And if a metal scraper damages base why they include it in super tune kit?

    • As they said “It needs a little care when removing wax so the base does not get damaged but will smooth off some scratches and gouges with some care.”

      This is why most people don’t take the risk – it’s easy to press to hard accidentally with a metal scraper. Most people will only use a metal scraper for smoothing off scratches and gouges and stick to plastic for waxing for this very reason.

      They include it inside the super tune kit because you need a metal scraper to clean up scratches on gouges on your base.

  8. Gregory says:

    Do you reccomend horsehair brush or not needed?

  9. How much speed will i lose if i dont wax at all?

    • Honestly it’s not a big deal, you won’t lose that much speed and most people won’t even notice the difference. I know plenty of guys who never wax and they go plenty fast enough.

      A lot of the time you don’t ride at max speed on a snowboard anyway.

  10. Hey Jed I was wonder if using paraffin wax would work the same way as using wax I would get at a ski/snowboard shop just to save $

    • I’ve heard of people doing this, and it beats no wax, but honestly you can get normal all-temp snowboard wax very cheap online these days. If you wax a lot just buy a big bulk piece of all-temp snowboard wax online and you’re good to go for a very long time.

  11. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m inspired!

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