How to Wax Downhill Skis

How to Wax Downhill Skis
Waxing downhill skis is a regular part of maintenance necessary toward keeping the skis smooth and fast. Without regular waxing, skis will become dry and slow on the slopes. Wax your skis before every ski trip and you'll enjoy the quickest, smoothest performance every time you get out there.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Rags
  • Alcohol
  • Ski wax iron
  • Rubber bands
  • Ski vise
  • Wax
  • Plastic scraper
  • Nylon brush
Step 1
Bring your skis inside and wipe them dry with a rag or paper towel. Give them 30 minutes or an hour to warm up. You'll want them at room temperature before waxing.
Step 2
Clean the base of each ski using a rag dampened in alcohol. Wipe the base clean from tip to tail and let the ski dry for 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 3
Plug in your wax iron and heat it up. The temperature should be around 240 degrees Fahrenheit, or warm enough to melt the wax without causing it to burn and smoke. Check your wax for the appropriate temperature. If you're using a clothes iron in place of a ski wax iron, start at a low temperature and increase it slowly until your wax melts.
Step 4
While the iron is heating, move the ski brake arms so that they're parallel with the ski. Secure the arms into place with a rubber band. This will get them out of the way to provide access to the full length of the base.
Step 5
Secure your first ski into the vise with the base facing up.
Step 6
Hold the iron so that it's pointing down toward the base. Hold it about 2 or 3 inches over the base of the ski, and slowly press the wax to the hot surface of the waxing iron.
Step 7
As the wax melts, move the iron around so that you drip wax up and down the base of the ski.
Step 8
Once you've covered the base of the ski evenly with wax, place the flat side of the iron on the ski base. Steadily iron the ski base from tip to tail, spreading the wax evenly as you go. Repeat until you have a thin, even layer of wax on the ski. Don't let the iron stand in one spot; keep moving it.
Step 9
Remove the ski from the vise. Let it cool for 20 to 30 minutes. While you wait, repeat steps 4 through 8 on the second ski.
Step 10
Place your first ski back into the vise. Grab your scraper and move to the tip of the ski. Hold the scraper at a 45-degree angle and scrape off the wax that remains on the base. You scrape this wax off because it is extra; the wax you need for the base has been absorbed. Scrape the ski in long strokes until the visible wax is off. Also make sure to remove any wax from the metal edges.
Step 11
Brush the base several times from tip to tail with the nylon brush. Remove the ski from the vise and the rubber band from the ski brake arms.
Step 12
Repeat steps 10 and 11 for your second ski.

Tips & Warnings

Use an all-temperature wax or a wax designed for the snow temperatures where you plan to ski.
Make sure your waxing area is well ventilated.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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