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A Step-by-Step Guide to Waxing Your Skis for Peak Performance

Author: REITime: 2024-01-20 14:25:00

Table of Contents

Introduction to Properly Waxing Your Skis for Peak Performance

Waxing your skis is one of the most important maintenance tasks to keep your equipment in top condition. Proper waxing protects the base of your skis, reduces friction, and helps you glide faster on snow. It also makes turning and edging easier. While it may seem daunting at first, waxing your own skis is easy with some basic tools and steps.

In this beginner's guide to ski waxing, you'll learn why waxing is so important, what supplies you need, step-by-step instructions for preparing, waxing, scraping, and brushing your skis, and tips for getting the best results.

Why Properly Wax Your Skis for Peak Performance?

Waxing your skis regularly is the best way to protect them and keep them performing at their peak on the slopes. Here are some of the key benefits of proper waxing:

  1. Protects the Base - Ski bases are made of P-Tex, a porous plastic material. When waxed, the wax fills in the pores in the base creating a protective barrier against moisture and slows down base deterioration.
  2. Reduces Friction - The main purpose of wax is to reduce friction between the ski and the snow surface for faster gliding. The right wax will allow you to pick up speed and maintain it with less effort.
  3. Aids Turning and Edging - Wax enhances edge grip, allowing you to carve tighter turns with precision and control. It also makes initiating a turn easier.
  4. Repels Dirt and Debris - A well-waxed base will resist dirt, dust and other debris that can slow you down and damage your base over time.
  5. Extends Ski Life - Regular waxing prolongs the life of your skis by protecting the base from drying out and oxidizing. This saves you money in the long run.

What You'll Need for Waxing Your Skis

Waxing your own skis only requires a few specialty items. Here is the basic gear you'll need:

  1. Waxing Iron - Invest in a waxing-specific iron, as a regular iron can damage your skis by overheating the wax or base material. Waxing irons allow precise temperature control.
  2. Wax - Pick a wax suited for your area's temperature and snow conditions. Ask a local shop for recommendations. Have an all-temperature wax on hand.
  3. Plastic Scraper - A plastic scraper will remove excess wax without scratching your base.
  4. Brushes - Use a nylon brush to clear wax from the structure and a horsehair brush to polish.
  5. Ski Vise - This securely holds your ski in place while waxing. Books or other supports work too.
  6. Clean Towels - For cleaning and preparing the base before waxing.
  7. Rubbing Alcohol - Removes oils and dirt from the base prior to waxing. With the proper supplies and some practice, you'll be waxing like a pro in no time. Now let's get into the step-by-step process!

Step-by-Step Instructions for Preparing Your Skis for Waxing

Before applying wax to your skis, the bases need to be thoroughly cleaned. Pre-waxing preparation ensures the wax adheres well and penetrates the pores for optimum performance. Here are the key steps for getting your skis ready for waxing:

Securing Your Skis in Place

Start by securing your ski firmly in place to keep it stable while you work. If you don't have a proper ski vise, you can improvise:

  • Place your skis top sheet down on a flat, stable work surface. -Put a soft pad or towel underneath to prevent scratches. -Stack books or blocks under each end to hold them at a comfortable working height. -Use a large rubber band or other fastener to keep the ski brakes locked up and out of your way.

Cleaning the Base Before Waxing

Before applying wax, you need to thoroughly clean the base to remove any dirt, oils or old wax that could impact adhesion. Here's how:

  • Use a wire brush to remove any caked-on dirt or debris. Brush base from tip to tail. -Wipe the base clean with a towel dampened with rubbing alcohol. Let the base air dry fully. -Use a sharp plastic scraper to remove any remaining wax or residue from the previous waxing. The base should now look clean and have a matte finish ready for the new wax layer.

Applying Ski Wax - Dripping, Spreading, and Cooling

Now comes the fun part - applying the wax! Follow these steps closely to get an even layer that penetrates into the base structure:

Heating the Waxing Iron Properly

Start by heating up your waxing iron to the proper temperature. Follow the iron's instructions, but keep these tips in mind:

  • Only heat the iron to the minimum temperature needed to spread the wax optimally.
  • If you see smoke coming off the wax, turn down the heat immediately to avoid damaging the base.
  • Let the iron cool off if needed before continuing. It's better to wax slowly than risk overheating.

Dripping and Spreading the Ski Wax

Once the iron is up to temperature, you're ready to start applying the wax:

  • Hold the iron at a 45 degree angle and drip wax along the length of the base so it flows tip to tail. -Smoothly spread the wax by slowly running the iron along the ski at a consistent speed. Apply light even pressure. -Make 4-5 passes over the whole ski to allow wax to fully penetrate the base pores. -The top sheet should feel slightly warm after several passes to ensure wax is melting into the base.

Letting the Wax Cool and Set

Proper cooling time allows the wax to set up and adhere firmly to the base. Avoid rushing this step!

  • Leave the freshly waxed skis untouched on a flat surface until they return to room temperature.
  • Resist the urge to scrape or handle the skis before they have completely cooled.
  • Wax the second ski during this cooling period to make the most of your time.

Scraping Off the Excess Ski Wax

Once the skis have cooled completely, you'll need to scrape off any excess wax remaining on the base surface. Here are some tips for safe, effective scraping:

  • Use a plastic wax scraper, working at a 45 degree angle to the base.

-Apply firm, even pressure as you scrape from tip to tail in overlapping strokes.

-Target edges and sidewalls too, using the scraper's beveled ends.

-Continue scraping until you see no wax residue being removed.

  • Go slowly to avoid gouging the base with the scraper.

Scraping should leave a thin layer of wax remaining deep in the pores for optimum glide and protection.

Brushing Out the Structure for Speed

The final phase of waxing involves brushing to clear any wax from the micro-structure in the base:

  • Use a nylon or horsehair ski brush and brush base from tip to tail.

-Apply firm pressure brushing base in overlapping strokes.

  • Continue brushing until you see no wax particles in the brush or coming off the base.

-Finish by polishing base thoroughly with a horsehair brush.

Brushing is key to revealing the structure that allows water to channel out from under your skis as you glide. More brushing leads to a faster base, so brush until the base looks clean and polished.


Learning to wax your own skis takes some practice, but quickly pays off through enhanced performance and lower maintenance costs. Follow the steps for preparing, waxing, scraping, and brushing the bases. Be patient during the cooling phase before scraping for best wax adhesion. And don't forget - the more you brush, the faster your skis will glide across the snow!

With proper tools, quality wax, and the techniques learned here, you can keep your skis in peak condition all season long. Your skis will reward you with maximum speed, control and enjoyment out on the slopes.


Q: Why properly wax your skis?
A: Waxing protects your skis and keeps them performing at their best on the slopes.

Q: What do you need to wax skis?
A: Clean towels, rubbing alcohol, ski wax, a plastic scraper, brushes, and a ski-specific waxing iron.

Q: How do you prep skis for waxing?
A: Secure skis properly, clean base with alcohol, brush off any visible dirt or debris.

Q: What temperature should the waxing iron be?
A: Hot enough to melt the wax without smoking. Reduce heat if wax smokes.

Q: How many passes with the iron are needed?
A: 3-4 full passes from tip to tail until the ski feels slightly warm.

Q: When can you scrape off excess wax?
A: After the waxed ski has completely cooled back to room temperature.

Q: What is ski base structure?
A: The tiny channels in the base that move water out from under the ski as you slide.

Q: Why is brushing important?
A: Brushing clears out the base structure so water flows freely for better ski performance.

Q: What types of brushes should you use?
A: Start with a nylon brush then finish polishing with a horsehair brush.

Q: Can you over brush skis?
A: No, the more passes with the brushes, the better!