How to Wax & Sharpen Skis

How to Wax & Sharpen Skis
Whether you enjoy alpine, telemark or cross country skiing, your skis will run better and smoother if you keep them maintained. The key to properly maintaining your skis is to keep them tuned with sharp edges and bases that are waxed and free of dings and gouges. Learning to wax and sharpen the edges of your skis is easier you think. All it requires is a few simple tools and about 30 minutes of your time.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Repairing the Ski Bases and Edges

Things You’ll Need:
  • Pair of chairs or a ski workbench Large rubber band Steel file Steel flat-edge tool P-tex candles Rubbing alcohol Plastic pot scrubber Ski wax appropriate for the conditions Wax paper
  • Pair of chairs or a ski workbench
  • Large rubber band
  • Steel file
  • Steel flat-edge tool
  • P-tex candles
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Plastic pot scrubber
  • Ski wax appropriate for the conditions
  • Wax paper
Step 1
Lay both skis down across two chairs spaced approximately 3 feet apart with the bases facing up. If you have a ski workbench, secure the skis in the jaws with the bases up.
Step 2
Retract the ski brakes by securing them with large rubber bands.
Step 3
Clean the bases using rubbing alcohol or any other non-oil cleaner. Be sure to clean the bases from tip to tail, on both skis.
Step 4
Light the end of a P-tex candle with a match or cigarette lighter. Drip ample amounts of P-tex into all gouges and scratches in the base. If the gouges are deep, allow the P-tex to dry for at least 15 minutes between applications.
Step 5
Run a steel scraper down the length of the ski from tip to tail. Press firmly enough to remove all extra P-tex but not so hard that you scrape base material from the ski. The ski bases should be relatively smooth and free of all dings and marks.
Step 6
Drag a steel file down the length of the ski from tip to tail, using moderate to firm pressure. The object is to remove extra ski base or edge material so that the running surface of the skis is flat and free of high spots and ridges. The base should be uniform.
Step 7
Secure the file in a file guide that is set to 1 degree of bevel, the angle at which the file sharpens the edges. Run the file in the file guide from tip to tail on both sides on the running surface of the skis. Move the file and file guide onto the sides of the edges and run them from tip to tail. The result should be sharpened edges with a one degree bevel on each plane.

Waxing the Skis

Step 1
Choose an appropriate wax (see Resources section below). Waxes are graded according to temperature and snow quality. Most waxes are color-coded to make it easy to understand which wax works for which temperature and snow type.
Step 2
Plug in an old clothes iron and set it to the lowest heat setting. Press the corner of a bar of wax against the warm base of the iron, dripping wax onto the base of the ski. As you drip wax from iron, slowly move your way from the tip to the tail of the ski.
Step 3
Lay the warm surface of the iron onto the running surface of the ski and slowly distribute the wax using a backward and forward motion. Try to distribute wax over the entire surface of the base. Add more wax if necessary. Allow the wax to dry for at least 20 minutes.
Step 4
Drag a flat, steel scraper across the ski base to remove extra wax from the base. Apply firm pressure, taking care to remove only the extra wax. There should still be a thin layer of wax on the ski base.
Step 5
Buff the surface of the base using a plastic pot scrubber. Work from tip to tail using broad backward and forward strokes. The bases should be smooth and uniform when finished. Release the ski brakes by removing the rubber bands. Place a small piece of wax paper between the skis prior to storing or transporting.

Tips & Warnings

 
Secure your skis in a ski workbench for best results. Choose the right type of wax for the conditions. Work slowly to ensure that the running bases are free of dings and gouges.
 
Secure your skis in a ski workbench for best results.
 
Choose the right type of wax for the conditions.
 
Work slowly to ensure that the running bases are free of dings and gouges.
 
Do not attempt to use the iron on clothes after using it for waxing.

Article Written By Allen Smith

Allen Smith is an award-winning freelance writer living in Vail, Colo. He writes about health, fitness and outdoor sports. Smith has a master's degree in exercise physiology and an exercise specialist certification with the American College of Sports Medicine at San Diego State University.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from Trails.com to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.