When the snow seasons arrive, this is the queue to grab your skis and snowboard and head up to the mountains. Sliding down the steep slopes is one of the most exhilarating pastimes for the snow sports enthusiast.
Of course, you will need other gear such as the best snowboard gloves.
And the key to having an awesome time is a snowboard or skis that work well. They should slide on top of that ice and snow with ease and allow you to make sharp turns and glide down the steep snowy slopes as fast as you can.
To make sure that the skis or snowboards are fast on the snow, they need to be waxed. This makes the base smooth while also making it more durable. This is how to wax snowboards and skis.
Tools you will need
Among the tools that you will need to apply wax on that snowboard to ski are a brush, metal file, glide wax, waxing iron, plastic scraper, and rubbing alcohol.
Once you have the necessary tools in check, it’s now time to get the right wax. There are four different types of wax that you will want to consider. These are temperature-specific wax, fluorocarbons, universal specific wax, and rub-on waxes.
Note that before heading off to the mountains, take a look at the guide to ski and snowboard gear.
Temperature specific waxes
Note that the majority of waxes are going to fall into this category. You will use a waxing iron to apply the wax. These are made to cope with a certain outdoor temperature range. Check the packaging before buying the wax to understand the range of how to wax a snowboard.
To ensure that your ski or snowboard can handle a larger range of temperatures, you can choose a temperature specific wax meant for temperatures above freezing and one meant for temperatures below freezing.
The idea is to make the all-mountain board or ski slide faster. Sometimes you may need to try out different waxes over the seasons to know which one works best for you.
This tends to be the best to use on skis to make them glide faster. The more the fluorocarbons are contained in the wax, the better quality it usually is. This is something to always keep in mind when learning how to wax skis. That said, this also means the higher the price will be.
If you are a recreational skier or snowboarder, a standard fluorocarbon wax will work just fine for you. On the other hand, racers who want to maximize the speed of the ski or board will require a wax with the highest quantity of fluorocarbons.
Another great choice for the recreational skier or snowboarder is the universal wax. It is specially blended to handle a wider range of temperatures. They are also simple to apply.
The simplest type of wax for skis is run on wax. As the name suggests, you will simply apply it without the need to use a waxing iron. This is one way on how to wax skis. All you will require is a sponge to apply the wax. However, it is not as long-lasting as the temperature specific or the fluorocarbon waxes.
If you are just starting, you will need the best beginner snowboard.
Preparing the snowboard or ski for waxing
Before you can put on a coat of wax on your skis or snowboard, there are some initial preparations that you will need to make.
If you have downhill skis, depress the pedal to retract the ski brake. This will cause the brake arms to pop up in a parallel position to the skis. Find a strong rubber band and hook one arm of the ski brakes and then stretch it over the top of the heelpiece and then hook the other arm. This will help keep the brakes out of the way to allow you to work with ease.
Next, flip up the base of the ski and then hold it in place with the vice in the middle. If you are dealing with a snowboard, place it on top of the vice. You can also use something else such as a stack of heavy books.
Then take a clean rag and moisten it with alcohol. Use those to wipe off the dust in the snowboard or ski. If the base is very dirty then you may need to use a wire brush. After this, you can clean it with an alcohol-moistened cloth.
Allow the snowboard or ski to dry for 20 to 30 minutes. Remember to go through the detailed backcountry ski and snowboard trip checklist.
Applying the wax
It’s now time to make use of the tools. First off check that the waxing iron is working correctly and that it can maintain a constant temperature. Avoid using the home iron as these tend to have temperature fluctuations even while setting to specific heat.
Start by connecting the waxing iron to the power source. Note that the temperature setting should be low if you are dealing with a warmer wax and a high setting for a colder and harder wax. Do not worry if you are doubtful of the correct temperature setting. Often this will be indicated in the wax package.
Take a chunk of wax and place it on the hot iron. It should melt and drip onto the snowboard or ski. Ensure that you are holding the iron at the ideal height above the ski or board. This can be 2-4 inches. Then start to move the iron from the tip to the tail as well as side to side while the wax melts and drops no the snowboard or ski. This is a great method on how to wax skis.
Next, place the waxing iron on the ski or the snowboard’s base and then slowly move it from one side to the next. This will spread the wax evenly on the base. Take care not to leave the iron stationary on one spot as this could cause a blister on the board or ski. If you notice a dry area and without wax, simply add some more wax.
To make sure that you are doing it correctly, one end of the wax should be drying up as you reach the other end of the board or ski.
The last step is to wait for the snowboard or ski to dry off. This should take between 30 minutes and 1 hour. Note that you must always know what to wear skiing before heading out.
Brushing and scraping
Now it’s time to do a little bit of scraping and brushing. You will need a plastic scraper. Avoid using a metal scraper. By scraping from the tail to the base, you will remove excess wax using continuous and overlapping strokes.
Keep repeating the process until there is no visible wax on the base of the ski or snowboard.
While you are at it, ensure that you have scraped the metal edges of the snowboard or the ski. You can always find a plastic scraper that features notches for just this purpose.
You will need to brush the base to bring out the texture and structure. This will result in more speed when snowboarding or skiing.
Many people will find a stiff nylon brush being a great all-purpose choice. When using it, make sure that you are brushing over the entire length of the base using around 20 strokes.
That said there are many different types of brushes available that you can make use of. Sometimes you will need to use two or three brushes.
One of the main types of brushes is a brass brush. This is ideal for structuring the base and prep. Then there is a brush that has softer bristles. This will smoothen the base a bit. And lastly, you will need to use an even softer brush to make the base of the snowboard ski even smoother.
Keep in mind that you want to ensure that only a very thin layer of wax is left behind. When you are dealing with wet snow, this calls for an even deeper structure. This will be created when you use the nylon brush.
On the other hand, if you are having to deal with colder and much drier snow, you will need a thinner structure. You will achieve this by using the softer brushes or by using a medium nylon brush.
If you are a skier another important piece of gear are ski boots. Ensure you have the best as these will also impact the type of experience you are going to have.
Brush repeatedly using the three types of brushes until you notice the base becoming uniformly oily. Use medium strokes and as you do so, you will begin to notice tiny bits and flecks of wax every time you make a stroke. This is so even while it may seem that the surface wax has disappeared.
So, where do the flecks come from? These come from the structure and the result is a super-fast snowboard or ski. And while you might feel like you are over brushing, make sure you keep doing it for the next 20 minutes or at least until your hands become tired.
Then finish by making full length trips from base to tail. Now you are ready to get on and ride those slopes.
Some tips for waxing snowboards and skis
The first thing you should always make sure of is that you are in a ventilated area. Secondly, when using the waxing iron, make sure that it is not too hot such that it smokes. The best temperature should be just hot enough to melt the wax.
When using your plastic scraper, always ensure that it has a 90-degree angle. You can make use of a metal file. This will help make the edge of the scraper sharp thus making it more efficient.
When you are scraping, always ensure that you are working from the tip of the board to the tail.
When to wax skis and snowboards
You might be wondering when is the best time to wax snowboards and those all-mountain skis. Simply put, you should wax when the ski and snowboarding season has arrived. And even while you are still riding those steep slopes, and you start to feel like the skis or snowboard has become a little dry, you can still take time and wax them.
And when the winter season is over and you are now ready to store your snowboard or ski, give the last waxing then store them away. Also, remember to wipe off any dirt and moisture before storing them. This will help maintain them in good quality shape.
Also, whenever you get brand-new skis or snowboard, it is a good idea to wax them before using them for the first time. Granted, most skis and snowboards will come pre-waxed. However, it may be a long time since the manufacturer applied the wax.
How often to wax the snowboard and ski
Now that you know how to wax a snowboard, it’s also important to know how often to do it. Several factors come into play. How often you ride your skis or snowboard, the type of snow you ride on, and how fast you want to move are all important considerations.
If for example you are riding the snowboard and the skis very often then it makes sense that you will need to wax often. Note that the wax will wear out as you ride the slopes.
Also, if you are riding in hard icy conditions, the wax will wear out quickly and you will need to wax often. If you want your snowboard to be fast then you also need to wax often.
If you want your kids to get in on the action it’s important that you first learn how to teach your kids to ski.
Globo Surf Overview
Many factors need to be considered when waxing your snowboard and skis. One of the main benefits is that it helps maintain them in great condition while also making them fast on the snow.
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- How to wax the snowboard, redbull.com