Basic Ski Tuning and Waxing Maintenance Guide
How To Tune And Wax Your Skis Or Snowboard
Tools Required: True Bar
Supplies Required: Ski or Board Wax
Step 1 - Flatten Your Bases
A ski or snowboard should be flat across the base from edge-to-edge in order to perform efficiently, comfortably and predictably. Check it with a true bar to determine this. If it’s flat, you’re ready to move on to Step 2.
If not, and the ski or board is new, take it back to the shop where you purchased it, and ask them if they'll correct this. If your gear is not new, or a shop can’t help, you can flatten the base with base flattening tools.
If a base is scratched or gouged, you can repair damaged areas with base repair materials and tools.
Step 2 - Structure Your Bases
A ski or snowboard base should be structured. You can detect a base structure using your fingernail, or by inspecting it with a magnifying lens. If your gear is new, it should already have a base structure. If not, take it back to the shop where you bought it and ask if they'll correct this.
If your gear isn't new, or a shop can’t help, you can create a base structure (or refresh an existing structure) with structure tools.
Step 3 - Tune Your Edges
The steel edges on skis and boards should be tuned regularly. This is really important, but easy to do...and greatly contributes to better control and performance.
Lastly, the edges should be deburred and polished regularly to keep them smooth, crisp and rust-free. Again, this is quick and easy work using deburring and polishing tools.
Step 4 - Wax Your Bases
Despite most modern technological advances, ski and snowboard bases dry out quickly and need to be kept waxed otherwise they start losing their gliding ability, become harder to turn, and wear more quickly. It’s important to wax bases regularly. The best way is to hot wax a heated application that melts the wax and allows it to penetrate more deeply into a base (somewhat like sugar dissolving in hot coffee). Otherwise, you can simply rub-on a paste or liquid wax...even when you’re on the slopes. This doesn’t offer the durability of hot-waxing, but serves it’s purpose for half a day or so. We offer a wide selection of waxes and waxing tools.
Recreational riders should start with hydrocarbon waxes which are inexpensive but provide good base protection and performance. A ‘universal’ or ‘all-temperature’ hydrocarbon wax is the simplest approach for most all snow conditions.
Racers and competitors should use fluorocarbon waxes whenever snow has enough moisture in it to easily make into a snowball. Although more expensive, it provides faster glide in these conditions.
Tuning & Waxing Schedule
After each day on the snow...
1) Check both your base and side edges for nicks and burrs...especially the inside front edges. Deburr these using a deburring stone in conjunction with your bevel device or guide, followed by a polishing stone.
2) Check your base for gouges. If they are shallow, you can either fill them now, or wait til your weekly tune-up. If they are deep, or you see fiberglass or core material exposed, fill them immediately. Remove excess repair material afterwards.
3) Check your base for dry or oxidized areas. This indicates that the base needs waxing. A hot wax is best, but a rub-on liquid or paste wax will do in a pinch.
4) After hot waxing, let the base cool for 20-30 minutes. Then scrape off excess wax with a plastic scraper and brush all remaining wax out of the base structure with a nylon, steel, brass or combo brush.
5) Fasten skis together using a strap or base protector that keeps bases from rubbing against each other.
6) Wipe off ski or snowboard top with clean dry rag.
Once a week, or after 3-5 days on the snow...
1) All the above daily steps, plus...
2) Lightly file side edges (but not base edges) using a steel mill file in conjunction with a side bevel device or guide. This resharpens them for better edgehold...especially on hardpack snow.
3) Hot scrape bases to clean them. This is the same as a hot wax, but you use a soft (warm temperature range) wax, and scrape it immediately after ironing...don' t let the base cool first. This pulls dirt out of the base better than any other method. Follow this with a regular hot wax.
4) Check base for gouges...fill any and all gouges if possible.
5) Pull liners out of your ski or snowboard boots to let everything completely dry out.
6) Spray a little boot/binding lubricant on boots, bindings and ski or snowboard tops (but not bases)...this'll help prevent snow build-up.
Once a month, or after 15-18 days on the snow...
1) All the above daily and weekly steps, plus...
2) Check your base with a true bar for flatness, and correct if necessary.
3) Check base structure for wear, and refresh or restructure if necessary.
4) Check binding mounting screws (but not release adjustments!) and make sure they are snug.
5) Check poles for worn baskets, straps, etc., and repair as necessary. Ditto for your goggles.