Originally Posted by SkiNut
I noticed that both Swix and Toko make a specific base prep wax to be used on new skis or freshly ground skis. Neither the Swix or Toko ski manuals make any reference to using a base prep wax when preparing skis.
Should I be applying a base prep wax? If so, do these waxes go on before or after base cleaning?
Right now, I'm looking at doing 3 hot waxing/scrapes followed by 4 more coats of a soft wax (yellow wax) that will be left on the skis for at least 24 hrs before being scraped off. This will be followed by putting on a two coats of a harder wax (usually a red or red/molybdenum blend). In all my plan is to cycle each pair of skis through 8-10 wax applications before skiing on them.
During the season, each pair of skis get a hot wax/scrape followed by a top coat if they were used during the week.
After a stone grind there is oil and other contaminants from the grinding machine left in your newly ground bases. Even if not freshly ground (that includes new skis with their factory grind), skis used throughout the previous season will have picked up dirt, sap, oil from lifts and snowmobiles etc. This is especially true in the Spring. Base prep wax is designed to help float these contaminants to the surface where they can be scraped off while the wax is till warm while leaving a somewhat harder wax residue in the ski bases. Any soft wax like SWIX CH 8 or 10 or their equivalents by other brands will also work okay.
Base Prep and other soft waxes won't help much with P-Tex micro hair removal. To get rid of the microscopic P-tex hairs created by the grinding process, a brass or bronze brush is needed and a lot of brushing. Applying a very hard wax and scraping with a very sharp plastic scraper followed by less brushing will also work. Garden variety supermarket scotch-brite pads can create new P-Tex hairs as well as remove them.
There is nothing wrong with your wax approach if you have the time during the off season to do it all. Racers do more wax and scraping as well as brushing to prep new or freshly ground skis than you are planning.
I use SWIX base prep wax to hot scrape at the end of the season or after a base grind. I recently started to use the plain Parowax paraffin you can buy at the supermarket as off season storage wax instead of SWIX CH 10 (yellow) simply because it is so much cheaper and seems to work as well. If skis have been used a lot the previous season but not in need of a stone grind Dominator Zoom Graphite Renew or Toko Moly or such can be applied to impregnate the base after cleaning with base prep or other soft wax.
How much does it matter? Well, most half decent skiers should be able to detect a difference between well prepped skis and unprepped skis. The wax of the day will also last noticibly longer on well prepped skis in most conditions. How much it all really matters depends on the skier and how much spare time they have. Certainly, maintaining edges and repairing dings are more important jobs. But waxing can be such mindless fun.