A good waxed ski base is a must for all skiers. It enables us to glide and steer the skis smoothly over the snow. But have you ever wondered if it’s something that can be done at home. Or is it one of those dark arts best left to the professionals? Let us show you how to wax your skis at home.
Well, with the right tools you can get your skis in tip top condition at home for less than the cost of a service. You can buy all the specific equipment, or you can go with the bare essentials and improvise the conveniences. If you would like more information on this, feel free to ask us during your ski lessons in Chamonix. Or if you are booking your ski lessons with us in Megeve & St Gervais.
Here we look at some of the key steps and what you’ll need in terms of the bare essentials:
Firstly like all good preparation, there’s a quick clean to be done. We recommend using a proprietary wax cleaner. Such as Datawax Base Cleaner & Wax Remover (available via the internet for less than £7). As this will make sure that no dirt and grime is absorbed into the P-tex ski base. Do not use household cleaners, they contain chemicals which could ultimately damage the P-Tex base of the ski.
Now it’s time to get the skis set up and ready for work. A specific ski vice is best, but in terms of bare essentials. You can find a good flat surface which can support both ends of the ski. And above all keep the ski level and stable. Improvising, we have found that two old flat top chairs can work. Or even two blocks of wood large enough to stop the bindings touching the floor. Then take a thick rubber band or string to hold the brake back out of the way.
The Wax Choice
A huge variety of wax manufacturers exist today. However we actively use and recommend either DataWax or HolmenKol as they provide consistent quality results. In most recreational cases we recommend a Universal All Weather wax. For example DataWax’s Universal HP. And those of you looking to optimise performance in different snow temperatures. It’s well worth choosing a wax specific to the temperature and snow condition. And like the Universal all weather wax, the DataWax HP range provides three different temperature specific waxes.
Applying the wax
A purpose made ski-specific iron is ideal, but an old household iron will work (as long as the iron’s base is flat and smooth). As long as the wax is kept from getting too hot, as this can burn and ruin. If you do use a regular iron, test it before using it on your skis. All ski waxes have an iron temperature guideline, check this before use. Start with a low – to mid-temperature setting and stop immediately if your wax begins smoking. Remember that once used for ski waxing it not going to be good for normal ironing! So don’t use one that you plan to use for anything else. And make sure its empty of water (ie not able to produce steam). As we said though, a purpose made ski-specific iron is ideal.
Melt the wax on the iron so that it drips onto the ski base. It’s best to start at the tip and move down the ski. Then gently run the iron over the ski so that the wax spreads evenly over the entire base. You’ve used too little wax if the iron doesn’t glide smoothly over the ski. Warning, don’t let the iron sit in one spot or it’ll burn! Keep it moving, you dont need to over do it, just smooth the wax out evenly from tip to tail.
Finishing Your Skis
Ideally let your skis sit at room temperature for at least an hour (ideally overnight). And then with a smooth plexiglass scraper, scrape evenly down the length of the ski. Work from tip to tail using the edges as a level guide. This process removes the excess wax from the surface of the ski, we’re interested in the wax thats absorbed into the base. We have found plexiglas scrapers readily available via the internet for under £4.
The final stage is the finishing (polishing) best done with a clean Nylon brush. We found plenty available via the internet for under £10. Some household alternatives that will work, are Nylon Nail Brushes. It’s a simple process of brushing the skis in one movement from tip to tail. Wipe with a clean dry cloth. Job Done and time to enjoy!
End of Season Waxing Skis
The end of season is an important time to get that final wax coat on for protection during the summer months. The process is exactly the same in terms of preparation and application. Except that you dont need to scrape. Leave a good coat of wax on the ski during storage, this will protect the base form oxidising. Remember to scrape the wax off when its time to ski again.
We have found the tools and products needed for less than £45. Which we expect to give in excess of 20 sets of ski waxes. That’s only £2.25 per set of ski wax. Or You can spend around £20 – £30 more to include a set of ski vices and ski specific wax iron.