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How often do you NEED to wax?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Like many things, and all things skiing & snowboarding, there are many 'old wives' tales, misconceptions, misunderstandings, high level of subjectivity relative to waxing and all things tuning. (In the wax department, alpine is tame compared to the nords, BTW.

I wax my skis every time I go out even if I only ski a few runs. This is a widely accepted best practice.
Is IMO, a common misconception. I'm not sure there is a downside to this attitude regarding performance, but I do see it as very much a waste of time, effort and expense for the vast majority of skiers.

Some of the variables as I see them include (and not limited to):

1-personal needs, preference, experience and perceptions
2-quality and hardness of wax
3-form of wax: solid, paste, powder or liquid/sprays
3-snow type (abrasive level)
4-duration on the snow
5-aggresiveness, weight and force

I encourage everyone to take care of their gear and learn how to at least wax, scrape & wax your stuff regularly, but don't over do it. For those who wax no matter what, it might behoove you to try being objective and test how long you can TRULY go without requiring wax. By finding your extremes, you can learn how to optimize your time, energy and resources and achieve the performance level best for you.

Waxing is a highly variable and subjective art, not an absolute science.....and is fun and rewarding.

I also believe that the aforementioned attitude and misconception, is one of many that contributes to people's intimidation & confusion level about gear care and maintenance.

Keep it fun & simple, relax and dial in your glide.
post #2 of 34
Prior to the 06/07 season, I never waxed. This was mainly due to ignorance on my part. Even so, I was able to post a 25 handicap running NASTAR at our local resort. Last year my youngest son decided he wanted to race on the high school team so I started to educate myself in the "black art". I ski at least three and sometimes four times a week. My son practiced or raced four times a week and usually spent the weekend there as well. Our weather is typically high 20's or low 30's most of the seaon. Using Swix LF7, I waxed the boy's skis every Sunday evening and mine every other Sunday with the bases showing no adverse effects. Some critics might say that my son's times would have improved from more frequent waxing or using wax to suit the conditions but he is still at the stage where his technique need more work first.
I feel that for a recreational skier (the majority of us) that having waxed skis is important but it is not crucial to exactly match the wax to the day's conditions. Therefore I stay with a slighty harder wax and it seems to ;ast longer that way. By the way, my NASTAR handicap dropped to 16 last year after I started waxing. Solid Gold!

post #3 of 34
You live in Colorado. Ski on a local water injected hill for a couple runs. Insta-base-burn. Consider that is just about the typical surface for much of the EpicSki community, much of the time.

I will admit I'm a heavy dude, tipping the scales at about 205 this preseason. I'll also point out that when I picked up this habit I was skiing seven days a week all season long without base damage, typically changing my grind once for the spring. And there were a lot of subzero days on extremely abrasive snow in there.
Therefore I stay with a slighty harder wax and it seems to ;ast longer that way.
Swix 7 is a pretty versatile wax, more so than the chart would indicate IMO. In any case, as long as you stay on the colder side of actual conditions you'll probably be fine.

I think Terry's list of variables is about right. The problem is that damage to the base is irreversible without a new grind and new base bevels. Objectively, I could probably go for about one ski day without wax around here. I know that when I do go two days, I start to get unacceptable wear. I don't ski short days very often anymore, and even with relatively dull snow I'm still likely to get a little crescent burn by the end of one day.

One important aspect of choosing a maintenance interval is ensuring that if a maintenance interval is missed, nothing much will change. If you wax your boards every day, the result of missing a day is pretty small. If you never wax your skis, you'll make the base bad enough to ski noticeably bad in a week or less. I know this from times I've gone somewhere and not brought an iron. Somewhere in between every day and every couple of days will probably work for people who are lighter and spend less time on their edges.

People shouldn't be confused or intimidated by ski gear care. They get that way when retailers try to sell them the Brooklyn Bridge. Its very, very simple stuff, and even the best attempts aren't that accurate anyways. You can learn everything you need to know about the subject inside of an hour, and it requires less skill with your hands than ironing a shirt.

And Terry, my name is Garrett, and if you are going to quote me you can use my name. I'm not hiding.
post #4 of 34
I started waxing my skis last year. I ski about 3 days a week, with the rest of the family skiing 2 days a week. Worst case scenario, this meant that 5 pairs of skis would be used in any given week meaning that I would be waxing 5 pairs. Because I like to let the wax sit for a day before scraping, this translated into a a couple of evenings spent waxing skis.

I tried to wax each pair of skis once a week and I always used the same wax (Homokol Beta Red). I did try blending wax (red and blue or red and yellow) but I never really noticed any significant difference in performance.

My only word of caution is that half way through a week long ski trip in March, the family starting commenting that there skis needed to be waxed and that they felt a difference after skiing for 2-3 solid days on the same pair of skis.
post #5 of 34
For my son in racing waxing was one issue. For me, just out on the hill teaching it was another.

Wax for each weekend and I would do a nice scrape and then a reasonable but light buff with a Scotch-Brite pad, not going down to the base.

At lunch, a quick swipe of Swix paste .... and ... yes, I know that it doesn't last long but it made me feel better. Sunday, just a Swix paste application and again at lunch.

Quite frankly, depending on the ski you are on, I'd also recommend a periodic check with a true bar. My Stockli skis seem (over the years), to have a much harder and wear resistant base and never needed attention despite the many on snow hours. Volkl on the other hand seemed to wear quicker under the foot and would become railed. I suspect that a more frequent waxing (daily), would have prevented that.
post #6 of 34
We could always see a huge improvement going on on freshly waxed skis. So we splurged on a waxing setup and all last year we waxed almost every time we went out. If we had a short day, we might go a couple of times on one wax, but you can tell a difference if you go too long without waxing.
post #7 of 34
Ironically, because of my business, I have little time for waxing at peak season. But, although I stretch out the waxings, I keep a very close eye on my base. Saving $2 in wax is not worth base damage.
post #8 of 34
Every day.
post #9 of 34
wax and touch up edges about every 3 days.Use toko shop wax from Nov-March and then for spring i use yellow everyday with top coat of spray and carry a can of spray lube i pick up at hardware store and hit up skiis twice duriing day.
post #10 of 34
I typically wax every 15-20 hours of actual ski time. So for me that means I was about every week or close to that.
post #11 of 34
Wax every other ski day.
post #12 of 34

Once or twice per season.....and I ski

about 60-70 days.:
post #13 of 34
About every third or fourth time out, though a lot of those times are shortish (night skiing after work).
post #14 of 34
I wax when I feel the skis need them, usually after 2 or 3 days of skiing. Race skis, however, get a touch up every time they come out.
post #15 of 34
About every two to three days, translating (on average) into about 60,000 to maybe 85,000 vertical feet per wax job. It depends on the type of snow, etc. I check the bases each day when I leave and decide if they can go in the locker or they have to come home.
post #16 of 34
For my own general use skis (B3s last year), I wax about every other day skiing, but this depends on conditions - more often when the snow isn't as fresh or when on man-made ice. My kids racing skis get waxed almost every time out - they tend to be on man made snow more often. Waxing can be time consuming with 7 pairs of skis for me (two nordic used 3 days per week), one day to day ski (waxed more often than the others), gs and sl skis (waxed every time used), and rock skis (not waxed as often). Then there are the sl and gs races skis for my daughter (waxed daily with use), as well as her Dogens (waxed less often - but she often uses both the gs and sl in one day) and my son's sl race skis (waxed with every use) and his Scratch BC pro (waxed less often) and my wife's gear (2 dh and 1 x country) as well. Sometimes, I have a production wax line. Last year my wife learned to wax, scrape and brush, and my daugher (12 now) and son (10) started to learn.
post #17 of 34


To save my bases on my Nishizawas from the dreaded "manmade snow", I moved to Northern Idaho - there is no man made snow. As a matter of fact I have skied here 5 winters and have yet to see any REAL ice.

I wax after 2 days of skiing, on trip I take Slidewrights easy/quick spray on wax and cork it into the base, good for one day more.
post #18 of 34
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post
I wax when I feel the skis need them, usually after 2 or 3 days of skiing. Race skis, however, get a touch up every time they come out.
Same here.
post #19 of 34

It's pretty simple...

...wax does two things:

- Reduces friction.

- Protects your bases.

They're both important. Before my wife quit skiing, she never wanted me to wax her skis because she didn't want to go fast. I could never get her to understand that skis that glide easier on the snow are easier to turn.

"Protects your bases" is probably more important. We all know about base burn and how to prevent it, so I'm not going to go into that story again. All my skis get hotboxed initially and again as needed. My race skis get waxed for training or racing every time. With the stuff I free ski with, it varies. My powder skis don't lose a lot of wax, typically, skiing in Colorado champagne, so they may only get waxed once a season, if that.

But to an extent, so what? Those are my rules, not yours, and your mileage may vary. That's kind of where this whole thread started, with the concept that personal preference usually dictates how much any individual skier waxes his or her skis.

Let's say you decide you're not waxing enough...one of the things that can help you decide to wax more is to have an really convenient shop setup. Mine's down in my heated basement, with 3rd room speakers and a small TV. When I get home from training, I take whatever skis I used downstairs to warm up. I take a shower, eat, drink, have dinner with my wife. After dinner, it takes me a grand total of maybe 25 minutes to tune and wax up to 3 or 4 pairs of skis. Then I go watch ski racing on TV. Same deal for working on any of my road bikes or stringing my tennis rackets. All the gear is right there...it's something I can do almost as an afterthought.

So if I have any advice for this thread, that's it. Set yourself up with a convenient home tuning and waxing shop, and whatever waxing frequency you decide on, it'll be a Small Matter of Programming...
post #20 of 34
Originally Posted by mkevenson View Post
Wax every other ski day.
or I get this nervous tic..
post #21 of 34
Ditto on the tic. Don't let equipment shortcomings be a factor!
post #22 of 34
I assume these posts a referring to a full 'manual' wax and scrape.
How effective is a quick 'roll wax' at the shop as a less labor-intensive alternative?
post #23 of 34
If you wax every day like I do, it works reasonably well. If not, it is a lousy alternative.

Felt belt type waxers are the worst, buffwheel types are better and can do a reasonably good job if you do it right. Really they are just a good way to put shop dust and dirt into your bases.
post #24 of 34
All mountain plan: Hot wax with Dominator Zoom/Hyperzoom for day 1, then crayon, cork, and brush for days 2 and 3. Repeat.
post #25 of 34
I use to wax everyday or everyother day, until I found Stuntwax, this is some great wax, now I wax about every 7 or 8 days. Stuntwax is made from nautral waxes, and lasts a long time, and runs very smooth, all with out scraping. I think you can only get it from Mountain Pro Reps. I swear by this stuff.
post #26 of 34
I ski on 100% natural snow and wax (with an iron) every 8hrs of ski time. I usually have nothing better to do anyway, and waxing is about the only kind of maintainence I do for my skis besides running a panzar down the side edges every once in awhile.
post #27 of 34
one wax = 1-2 days of skiing. Sometimes, my skis are fast at the end of the day and I don't wax the next. I have been thankful in many situations for not having waxed in new snow conditions.

"My skis were hauling ass today." = no wax tomorrow.

Never more than 3 days w/o wax.
post #28 of 34
only when my harbl starts to itch.

gotta go weigh in on the front or rear entry thread.

btw.......never known a nord who waxed.
post #29 of 34

this is a harbl

this is a harbl...
post #30 of 34
can't get the wax toooooo hot.......don't want to burn the harbl.
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