(Tips provided by Scott Holmer, a ski tuner for such racers as U.S. Ski Team athlete Kevin Francis and U.S. Snowboard Team rider Adam Smith. He runs The Race Place in Bend, Oregon and owns BEAST, a brand of ski-tuning tools he designed.)
To see pictures of how to wax your skis, click here.
- Iron without holes (Mom's will work OK, but no longer on clothes)
- 4-mm acrylic scraper
- brass or bronze brush
- nylon brush
- fiber pads (like pot scrubbers but beefier, one fine, one coarse)
- rubber bands
- masking tape
- a good all-temperature wax, like Dominator Zoom, Swik, or Toko
- bench vise (you can also use wood blocks instead - cover them with closed-cell foam for padding)
20 to 40 minutes
Your skis will glide smoother and initiate turns easier. Snow can actually burn and dry the base of an unwaxed (unprotected) ski.
Snow temperatures, the type of snow, and how much you ski determine how often you should wax. Most recreational skiers should wax every three to five days.
How to Hot Scrape
After lightly coating the base with hot wax, take your scraper, hold it at a 45-degree angle to the base, and shave off the warm dirty wax.
Brush Tip to Tail
You want to push base material and microfibers down the ski.
Warm Up the Room
Wax bonds best at room temperature, so fire up the space heater if you're working in your cold garage.
A Quick Fix
If you're in the backcountry or want to do a quick touch-up in the parking lot, take the kind of hand wipes you get at a steakhouse and clean the bases. Then rub on a liquid wax and polish the ski with a rag.
(To learn more about waxing, check with your local specialty ski shop; it probably offers clinics. Holmer's instructional video ($20) covers waxing and tuning. His wax packages cost $60, not including the iron [800-814-7223; ski-racing.com].)