According to REI, ski wax makes your downhill skis or snowboard last longer, go faster and turn more smoothly. Ski wax also helps some styles of cross-country skis grip the snow better.
There are many different types of ski wax. Glide wax is applied to downhill skis, snowboards, skate style cross-country skis and only to the tip and tail of waxless cross-country skis. Grip wax is applied to classic style cross-country skis.
There are several different types of glide wax, from hot waxes, liquid or paste waxes and rub-on wax. Hot wax is considered superior, although more troublesome, to other forms of wax.
Grip wax is applied to the middle section of a classic style cross-country ski in what is called the kick zone. Hard grip waxes are best for cold conditions, and Klister waxes are best for icy conditions or warm, sticky snow.
Wax your skis often for best performance. Consider waxing your skis every five to six outings and more frequently for highest performance.