Welcome to Gear West Wax Week! Over the next 7 days we’ll be going over a number of different waxing related topics as well as highlighting each of the brands we carry and discussing the uses of each of their lines of wax.
To begin, we’ll start with the basics: how to apply a basic layer of glide wax to your skis. This is a fairly straightforward practice, and is basically the same for all Nordic skis, Alpine skis, and snowboards. It’s worth noting that, especially early on in a ski’s life cycle, one layer of wax will likely not be enough. Multiple layers of wax will penetrate progressively further into the base, so the more layers you can iron in, the longer your wax will last. But let’s go over how to apply your first layer.
- To begin, set your iron to the temperature indicated on the box that the wax you’re using came in. Be aware that a hot iron may overheat a ski base, especially at the higher temperatures that very cold waxes require, so NEVER let an iron remain in stationary contact with the ski base, and get well practiced with softer waxes before you attempt to apply a cold wax to your ski.
With the iron warmed up, press the block of wax against the bottom of the iron and drip wax down either side of the ski.
Run the iron from tip to tail with even pressure to melt the wax beads into the base. You may make a second pass down each half of the ski to melt wax in any spots that the first pass appeared to miss, but should allow the ski to cool to the touch before doing so. Each pass should take roughly 5 seconds, and the iron should move at a constant speed without stopping.
Allow the ski to cool for about 10 minutes. Some waxing tutorials suggest placing the ski outside to make it cool faster – this is a bad idea as it cools the wax prematurely and prevents it from fully penetrating the ski base. You can take advantage of this time by ironing the wax onto your other ski while you wait.
Scrape out the excess wax in the groove using a groove scraper. You can use your finger as a guide to prevent it from jumping out of the groove.
Scrape off the excess wax on the base using a scraper, starting at the tip and scraping towards the tail of the ski. Ensure that you apply even pressure and use several passes with moderate pressure. Do NOT try to scrape off all the wax in one pass – this can damage the structure of your base.
Brush the remaining wax out using a stiff nylon or fine brass brush. As with scraping, brush from tip to tail. The first few passes may be done using several short, aggressive strokes, but a ski should be finished with at least one smooth pass down the entire length of the ski. As a final note, the more you brush a ski, the faster a ski will be.
That’s all there is to it. Again, the more you wax your skis, the faster they will be, so practice often and your skis will serve you well for years. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss how to prepare a pair of skis that have never been waxed, which involves a LOT of layers, so come back then if you’ve got a new pair!
-Posted by Josh Doebbert on Jan 18th 2014