Skiing is the king of winter sports. Some people ski for fun while others ski professionally.
Skiing through the snow gives you an adrenaline boost. You cannot describe the rush of gliding down a snow-clad mountain in words.
You can feel the wind blowing through your hair and the sun shining on your face. The snowy mountains glistening in the daylight is surreal. You can’t help but fall in love with the seamless glide.
But as you are skiing down the hill, you hit a bump. And that bump, my friend, is your skiing dream coming to an end. Just like that, your skis stop descending.
If you have ever tried skiing, you know exactly what I am talking about. That annoying moment when you can get your skis to move. No matter how hard you push, you cannot bring yourself to glide further.
Such a problem occurs when friction occurs between the snow and the ski. If the snow is fresh, you can ski easily on it. But when it becomes old, it also becomes problematic. This hardness tends to cause friction.
When the snow is old, it tends to become sticky. It starts sticking to the base of the ski and hinders its momentum. Such issues come up because there is no lubrication on the ski.
What Is Ski Wax?
In the earlier days, skis were lubricated with animal fat or other types of natural grease.
But as the skiing community began to progress, people came up with better solutions. The ski wax was explicitly designed to lubricate the base of a skiboard. The lubrication assured an effortless skiing experience. It benefitted both athletes and recreational skiers.
You can apply skiing wax on snowboards, skating skis, alpine skis, and backcountry skis. The wax melts into the pores of the base and forms a layer of wax. The wax provides skiers with an optimum skiing experience.
Professional Skiing Athletes swear by the ski wax. There are three basic kinds of ski waxes made for them. The first one is white and can be used in all weathers. Snowboarders and recreational skiers use this one. Then there is the red ski wax which is used for hot snow. The ski wax with blue particles is explicitly made for cold snow. Yes, there are different ski waxes for different types of snow. That proves the importance of ski wax.
Athletes competing in the Winter Olympics swear by the ski wax. Competitive skiing requires agility and speed, so ski wax is vital. Skiing competitions are won by a difference of a millisecond. Without ski wax, athletes may lose precious time.
Many professional skiers have failed because their skis weren’t adequately lubricated. Now that you understand the importance of ski wax, let’s understand why you should wax your ski.
Why Should You Wax Your Ski?
When your skis start to become slow and heavy, you know it’s time to take out that ski wax. If you want to enjoy smooth skiing rides, applying wax to your ski is vital.
When you use your skis regularly, they wear out fast. The bases begin to look white and chalky. If you start to notice this whiteness, you know it’s time to lubricate your skis. You will also see that your skis aren’t picking up momentum like they used to. It could happen with snowboards. Another sign to look for is sticky snow.
As you begin skiing, you will notice that the snow gets stuck to the bottom of your ski. It increases friction and restricts the movement of your skis. When you see snow sticking to your skis, it is time to bring out the ski wax.
Ski waxes are made of hydrocarbon and fluorocarbon. These chemicals add lubricating qualities to the ski wax. If you are used to skiing in a region with wet snow, and you’re going to one with dry snow, then you need to wax your skis.
A change in the type of snow can increase the friction between the snow and your skis. Ski wax wears out faster in powdered snow than in other kinds of snow. So if you often ski in powdered snow, then make sure to wax your skis often.
You will need to lubricate the bases 2-3 times a month. Applying wax to your skis improves your speed and keeps your gear healthy. It is crucial for maintaining your skis and keeping them healthy.
Skiers usually wax their skis at the end of the season. You can apply wax as and when you feel the need to! The wearing out of wax depends on the frequency of usage. So if you use your ski often, then wax accordingly.
Now that we have understood why wax on your skis, let us learn how to use ski wax on your skis.
How To Wax Your Ski Properly?
Applying wax to your skis isn’t as simple as it sounds. You cannot directly apply ski wax to the base of your skis. For ski wax to work correctly, it has to seep into the ski base.
You will find that some skis have sintered bases while others have extruded bases. Sintered bases have more pores than extruded bases. It means sintered bases can retain the wax for a long time, whereas extruded bases cannot.
Check the specs of your skis to see which kind of bases your skis have. If they have an extruded base, you will have to wax your skis frequently. At the same time, the one with a sintered base does not need to be lubricated often.
If you are a beginner, you don’t need to worry about ski wax. Ski wax increases the speed of your skis. But when you are just learning to ski, you need your skis to go slow and steady.
So don’t worry too much. Rented skis often come with a coat of lubrication. On the other hand, applying wax is a must if you are an experienced skier. Before you start applying wax to your skis, you need to make sure all your materials are in place.
For optimum lubrication, you will need the following items:
- Plastic Wax Scraper
- Clean Rag
- Base cleaner solution
- Waxing iron
- Ski wax
- Nylon Polishing brush
Before you start with the process, make sure to tie the banding breaks back or hold it with a pen. This way, the breaks won’t interfere with the lubrication process.
The next step is to clean the base of your ski. You can add a base cleaner solution and wipe it down with a clean rag. Wipe the base properly so that accumulated debris is thoroughly removed. Once this is done, wait for the solution to dry. Now take a plastic wax scraper and scrape the remaining old wax.
However, most of the wax wears off when you ski; some remains. It gets collected at the tip and the tail. Don’t forget to scrub it off thoroughly.
Now that the cleaning process is complete, we can apply wax to your ski. You will need your waxing iron and your ski wax for this step. Take some ski wax and add it to the waxing iron. Turn the temperature of the iron to 140 degrees Celsius. Now let the wax melt into the holes of the waxing iron. It takes a little longer to let the wax melt into the holes. But this will give you a clear picture of how much wax you need for a ski.
Now add the wax to the ski. You can apply it in a zig-zag pattern, linear pattern, or any other way you prefer. There is no right or wrong way. Take your hot iron and glide it across the base of the ski. Make sure to slide the iron in a linear motion.
Do not use circular motions as they can damage your skis. When you use linear motion, you tend to miss some spots. It is why some people also use a circular motion. Please DO NOT do that at any cost. It might take you a little more time to cover all the spots. But linear motion is the only way you should apply wax to your ski.
Waxing irons are hot and need to be used with utmost caution. Make sure you do not apply too much pressure on the iron. You need just enough pressure to keep the iron on the ski.
Once the application is made, wait for the board to cool down. The wax will dry up within 20 minutes. It is ideal to leave the wax on for 24 hours. But if you are in a hurry, then 20 minutes is more than enough. Now take the plastic scraper and scrape off the additional wax. Extra wax starts seeping out of the pores. This dried-up wax needs to be scraped off.
After scrapping, use a nylon brush to dust off the remaining wax particles. Now your skis are ready for some action. Take them out in the snow and enjoy sliding down the snowy mountains.
What Happens When You Don’t Wax Your Ski?
Applying wax to your ski is essential! It prevents your ski from wearing out. Ski wax also reduces friction between the snow and your ski.
Friction causes your ski to slow down or come to a halt. By applying appropriate lubrication, you can have a more friction-free ride. Apart from causing friction, snow also tends to become sticky. It sticks to your skis and can be pretty dangerous. You can trip and fall.
Athletes who participate in a cross country skiing competition rely heavily on ski wax. It improves agility, which makes a huge difference when you are competing. Ski wax also helps maintain the health of your gear. It keeps your ski healthy and prevents it from wearing out.
And most importantly, ski wax ensures an optimum skiing experience. An unwaxed ski can hinder the experience. Your skis will become slow and heavy. The quality of your skiing experience depends on a well-lubricated ski.
If you are skiing on powdered snow, it will be no problem skiing smoothly down a hill. But if the snow is rough, then your skis will get stuck. You won’t be able to move forward with ease. You will keep getting stuck.
It is impossible to ski without applying a good coat of ski wax. So before you take out your skis, make sure you have covered them with a thick coat of ski wax. You can buy all types of ski wax online. Choose the one that suits your needs and your budget.
Other Ways You Could Care For Your Ski
Tuning and edge maintenance are other ways to care for your skis. Tuning is done by professionals who maintain skis.
Do not try this at home unless you are a pro at tuning. The tuning process involves polishing the edges and grinding the base. They also optimize the base structure so that it doesn’t retain moisture. The tuning method keeps your skis from wearing out quickly. It improves performance and improves grip.
Ideally, it would be best to tune your skis every 20 ski days. Make sure to take your skis to a professional ski shop. Give all the information to the professional.
Tell them about the level at which you ski, how often you ski, and other such details. It will help the person get a good idea about how they should tune their skis. Professionals are also available at ski resorts. You can consult them about the health of your skis.
Filing the edges of a ski board keeps your skis from swiveling. Skiers need to maneuver their board in different directions. Edge maintenance ensures smooth navigation. The tips and tails of a ski often become dull. Filing ensures that they maintain their original form.
Now that you’ve got a complete guide to ski wax, you understand how crucial it is not only for your speed but also for grip.
Whether you are a competitive skier or recreational skier, you must understand the importance of ski wax. Coat your skis well before taking them out!