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Intermediate Skiier - How Often Wax and Sharpen?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

So basically, I used to ski a ton in my teens and mid 20's (used to rent) so I bought a nice set of skiis and boots about 6-7 years ago. Upon buying the skis however, I have really only been able to go 1-2 times a year since with none in 2014 after i broke my wrist.

 

That being said, my skis have probably only been used 5-6 times max and have been stored in my garage or inside after each use.

 

I am really getting back into skiing now and getting serious about going many times a season so I need some help with gear.

 

This weekend are are heading up to New York for a day in the snow and I have been wondering about Waxing and Sharpening at this point.

 

Based on my limited number of uses of my skiis do you think it is imperative I get them sharpened prior to this weekend and buy some Wax Paste prior to using them??? Don't really have time to do the hot wax so I could always get some Swix F4 and a Swix 2x2 sharpener ($40 total)

 

Sorry for the potatohead question but its really my first time thinking about maintenance.. 

post #2 of 25
If you dont have time you can just drop by a shop on mountain theyll put on a buff wax for like $5 to $10 which will last you the day (or at least half the day). That makes more sense to me then spending 40 and the time to get the other stuff
post #3 of 25

Might as well get them waxed, it makes a big difference in how well the skis glide on the snow. Most shops will do a proper hot wax for $10 to $15, which will last much longer than a buff wax. Most shops can do it overnight, so it will be quick.

 

If you plan on going up a bunch this season, it's a good idea to get your own side edge guide and diamond stone so that you can do side edge maintenance yourself. A side edge guide, clamp, and diamond stone should be about $45 or so. I don't think it's imperative to sharpen your edges for this trip, but something to look at in the future. I buy my stuff from Racewax.com since they have decent prices and free shipping on orders over $30.

post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the help. I called a place close to the mountain and they sad they wax and it takes about 2 minutes. That sound right for a hot wax?

post #5 of 25

Are you traveling with the skis in the car or on a rack?   It is better if the skis are room temp rather than cold.

post #6 of 25

No, that sounds like a buff wax. A proper hot wax is where an iron is used to melt wax into a ski, then scraped off and brushed. It should take about 45 minutes or so, because they need to let the wax cool.

post #7 of 25

A buff wax isn't the end of the world, it's better than nothing when you're really in a hurry and time is precious and if it only costs $5-$10.

Especially if you aren't a frequent skier, you're not going to be shredding 40 laps and 40k vertical; so it'll be fine for at least half a day if not your whole day or even two.

 

They will also have machine "hot wax" where they have a machine with a roller that's in a pool of melted wax, and they let that cool in for maybe 30seconds while they do the other ski.  

Then depending on the shop or design of the machine they may need to use the buffer to take off any excess.  This is 1step better than the buff wax where nothing is molten, but agree lower in quality to a proper hand hot wax with an iron and the extra heating and cooling time.  

This could also have you in and out in like 5min depending on if you have to wait.

 

Even if you pay for handiron hot wax, most shops aren't going to let your skis cool for 30min before taking off the excess.  So don't take 30mins of cooling time as the crucial factor.  More of the benefit I think is just the extended molten time where both wax and ski are both warm.

 

 

Up to you to decide, quality/longevity vs time vs cost and your schedule.  

 

Personally when I am in a rush, I'd crayon in my own wax and cork it in.  But I already have everything, and my skis are already have a good base saturation of wax, and stopping at a shop would take more time.


Edited by raytseng - 1/21/15 at 10:54am
post #8 of 25

As far as edges--depends how icy things are. As often as daily if things are really firm, never if it's dumping every day. And only do the side edges--leave the base edges alone.

post #9 of 25

Dear Flyers Rule,

If you are really getting back into seriously skiing, my best suggestion to you is to seriously think about taking care of your boards!  Personally, I stone my edges with an Arkansas red stone every day I ski them, base and side.  It takes all the burs off without messing up the bevel.  The stone is cheap and it's quick and easy.  In addition, if the conditions are packed, whether icy or hard, I also hot wax my skis with an iron, allow them to cool, then scrape with a plastic wax scraper.  Then either buff with a cork or structure with a brush.  The reason for the waxing is to keep your syntered base from wearing and making your ski concave,  That's not a happy day on the hill!  Syntered bases are the best, but their performance depends on the pores being filled with wax to retain their integrity and toughness,  It's easy to do, and is a nice time to really appreciate your skis, along with down a few barley pops!  Set up costs include about $5.00 for and old iron at the thrift store, bulk shop wax in the wide temp ranges, really cold, and really warm, a plastic scraper, and a plastic scraper sharpener.  In a pinch, the kitchen sink is a great wax area.  The bindings fit into the sink.  A fat rubber band holds the brakes up, and the counter top is easy to get the excess wax off!  I always scraped in the garage, kind of my man cave!  The cork is pretty cheap at the ski shop, and a stiff nylon bush is cheap at any dollar store.  There you go!!  The $50 tune for the $25 in materials for most of the season!!  When your skis have a mind of their own from being railed, them pay for a stone grind, and bevel, then you can fine stone and wax and finish the job!  This can obviously expand into a vice and tuning bench, but you can honestly start small and be very happy with how well your skis ski!

Take care,

Hawk

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyersrule View Post
 

So basically, I used to ski a ton in my teens and mid 20's (used to rent) so I bought a nice set of skiis and boots about 6-7 years ago. Upon buying the skis however, I have really only been able to go 1-2 times a year since with none in 2014 after i broke my wrist.

 

That being said, my skis have probably only been used 5-6 times max and have been stored in my garage or inside after each use.

 

I am really getting back into skiing now and getting serious about going many times a season so I need some help with gear.

 

This weekend are are heading up to New York for a day in the snow and I have been wondering about Waxing and Sharpening at this point.

 

Based on my limited number of uses of my skiis do you think it is imperative I get them sharpened prior to this weekend and buy some Wax Paste prior to using them??? Don't really have time to do the hot wax so I could always get some Swix F4 and a Swix 2x2 sharpener ($40 total)

 

Sorry for the potatohead question but its really my first time thinking about maintenance.. 


Might be a little late for anything other than a 'quick wax' or rub on wax.  Your plan for Swix F4 and a Swix 2x2 sharpener might be the best thing you can do for now.

 

Lets think a little longer term maintenance...  A good shop tune is probably needed.  Your skis have been neglected and sitting - probably without any preventive care.  The edges will rust/deteriorate just by sitting in the environment.  The base surface and any remaining wax will oxidize. For storage during the off season, skis need to be hot waxed (without scraping).

 

Having sharp edges will give you better directional control.  Since you mentioned NY you will probably find very hard snow conditions in places.  These places always appear when least expected.  You probably don't need to sharpen every day but running an edge file every ski trip will help. 

 

DIY tuning requires a good tool set and proper work area.  Tuning and hot waxing done correctly will make skiing more pleasurable.  Screwing the tune up or setting the house on fire while hot waxing would be a bummer.  Almost all solvents and waxes are flammable and smell bad (just ask your wife/GF/mother).  If you can set up your tuning bench outside do it.

post #11 of 25
If you only go a few times a year having them waxed is convenient, but if you go a lot it starts to cost.
I do all of my own ski work and have a decent set of tools, they add up in cost but if you buy some a little at a time not so bad. If you buy a ski vice make sure it will open wide enough for your skis, and think you may want some fat skis some day.
I used to use an old cloths iron, but I was told that even on a low setting it can hurt the bases. An old iron with steam holes also smokes a lot; I would say if you do want to wax get a real ski wax iron. I use a metal scraper then a plastic scraper, then a brass brush after waxing. I just got some Fiberlene paper to see if it will cut down on the amount of scraping I need to do.
You can also get rub on wax and liquid wax for when you do not have time to do a hot wax. On real wet days I have used Rain on top of my wax, an old racing trick, cost less than the expensive fluoridated waxes.
A diamond stone is a needed item, it is best to get an edge bevel to keep it straight, 3 degrees is the normal and works well for most conditions. A 1 degree base bevel is the standard there.
Always wipe your skis off with a dry towel before putting them away or your edges will turn to rust.
To get rid of rust you can file or use a sanding sponge (dry) then file and diamond stone.
post #12 of 25

Waxing is far from essential and sharpening edges is generally a good idea here in the east.

post #13 of 25
To answer you question you originally asked; it depends.
If you are skiing on soft snow such as powder a waxing may last for a few trips, even more. Edges stay sharp longer, of course the kind of snow you are skiing will affect them as well. If you are skiing on wet snow wax will not last as long, on ice or hard pack it may be gone before the day is over. Just feel you bottoms and feel your edges and you will learn when.
post #14 of 25
East coast = ice and machine snow... Especially Catskills

I personally wax after every day I have time to ride. Of course, I invested in equipment

Before that, I neglected my equipment. Definitely got a turn at the start of the season. At least I had the whereabouts to drop off my equipment due to The ski shop for tune and wax. Then probably once or twice per season due to my misguided notion of maintenance be expensive Thus doing less often.

Then I finally realized I spent a lot of money on boots and my snowboards and considering how much it costs for a shop to do my board, that I finally realized I should cough up the money and buy an iron, table, wax, etc. that I know I will get a return investment.

Actually this week I have a trip up to Killington with family and friends. We are renting a house and I am planning to bring my table and all my equipment along so that I could wax my board as well as some friends' and families' skis (again)


Sent from my iPhone. There may be horrible grammar and misspelling involved
post #15 of 25

I'm not racing and I use the Hertel FC739, works reasonable well in all conditions, last about 2-4 days on east coast conditions.  Bang for the buck, likely the best all around wax.  For more specific conditions there are better solutions.

 

Tuning, that depends on how ski, whether you are gentle on the edges or not. 1 to 5 days, touch up.

post #16 of 25
For recreational skiing, I'm starting to seriously question the ROI on frequent waxing or waxing at all from the enjoyment perspective unless there is a noticeable difference and it justifies one's time and money.

From the base maintenance and protection perspective, I don't actually know what the right frequency is or whether waxing helps with length and quality of base life at all, to be honest...Of course, there is a lot of he said / she said here on this blog, but I'm yet to see empirical / scientific evidence correlating waxing and its long term effect on the base, not some marketing messages from parties with COI.

With all that said, I ski almost every other weekend when I can, got my own extensive R&M equipment, and have more than a handful of skis in my quiver. I do wax almost every ski day, and I don't like it. smile.gif
post #17 of 25

I get my daily drivers sharpened/waxed about every dozen ski days. I'll also bring em in if they get core-shot or if the edges get really gnarled up.  I used a pair yesterday at Jane that haven't been tuned in three years and it was one of my best days ever.

post #18 of 25
The goal here is to wax and polish the edges every 60k of vertical. Could happen at 40k or 70, depending on timing. Rotate four pair through this, so have to use a spreadsheet to keep track because it's too much for me to remember at my age.
post #19 of 25

Waxing accomplishes 2 things:

 

It improves the gliding capability of the ski, mostly noticeable when skiing the flats.

 

It prevents the base material from drying out. A dry base will have a greyish appearance near the metal edges.

 

I wax every 3 or 4 days using an old travel steam iron that does not smoke and works fine.

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by nochaser View Post

For recreational skiing, I'm starting to seriously question the ROI on frequent waxing or waxing at all from the enjoyment perspective unless there is a noticeable difference and it justifies one's time and money.

From the base maintenance and protection perspective, I don't actually know what the right frequency is or whether waxing helps with length and quality of base life at all, to be honest...Of course, there is a lot of he said / she said here on this blog, but I'm yet to see empirical / scientific evidence correlating waxing and its long term effect on the base, not some marketing messages from parties with COI.

With all that said, I ski almost every other weekend when I can, got my own extensive R&M equipment, and have more than a handful of skis in my quiver. I do wax almost every ski day, and I don't like it. smile.gif


I work my edges with coarse and fine stones, and wax with a liquid wax, after every day I ski.  Hot waxing is way too much work for me.  I ski mostly in the East, and sharp edges are important here.  If I lived in the West, I would stay home any day I thought I would need edges, but I might wax more.

 

BK

post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post


I work my edges with coarse and fine stones, and wax with a liquid wax, after every day I ski.  Hot waxing is way too much work for me.  I ski mostly in the East, and sharp edges are important here.  If I lived in the West, I would stay home any day I thought I would need edges, but I might wax more.

BK
I have no qualms/mistery about edge maintenance. It's quick and easy also...Regarding waxing, I may just get a rotor brush set to save time when I get my own utility room.
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 

 

It prevents the base material from drying out. A dry base will have a greyish appearance near the metal edges.

Which shouldn't be confused with wax oozing out. If you scratch with your fingernail were it's grey, and you make a mark with black underneath, it's just wax coming out.

 

For those of you saying waxing is too much work, you can try the lazy fiberlene paper method. I crayon the wax, melt it, let it cool, warming it up again, then remove some of the excess with fiberlene paper. There's still excess wax, but it's removed in a couple runs. No scraping or brushing with this method. I honestly think waxing is easier than sharpening when done this way.

post #23 of 25

I wax every 2 to 3 days.  Its quick and I enjoy doing it.  I also polish my edges every time I wax using stones.  One thing I haven't quite figured out is filing edges.  I do it once at the beginning of the season, but am not sure if its really necessary.  If the bevel is set properly, what does additional filing accomplish?  Sharpness comes polishing the edges, not filing.

post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by nemesis256 View Post

Which shouldn't be confused with wax oozing out. If you scratch with your fingernail were it's grey, and you make a mark with black underneath, it's just wax coming out.

For those of you saying waxing is too much work, you can try the lazy fiberlene paper method. I crayon the wax, melt it, let it cool, warming it up again, then remove some of the excess with fiberlene paper. There's still excess wax, but it's removed in a couple runs. No scraping or brushing with this method. I honestly think waxing is easier than sharpening when done this way.

I just got a box of Fiberlene, I will be trying it very soon.

I have a tool box full of tools and was looking at a ski tool catalogue, I think I could easily spend another $300 to 400 on more tools.
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeviousBear View Post

I wax every 2 to 3 days.  Its quick and I enjoy doing it.  I also polish my edges every time I wax using stones.  One thing I haven't quite figured out is filing edges.  I do it once at the beginning of the season, but am not sure if its really necessary.  If the bevel is set properly, what does additional filing accomplish?  Sharpness comes polishing the edges, not filing.

Unless they have a burr or are very dull a diamond stone in the tools works just fine, even if they are a bit dull it still works.
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