How to Wax Skis Without an Iron

How to Wax Skis Without an Iron
When you ski over a chunk of basalt or fallen tree, the wax on your skis can mitigate the damage to your skis' bases. It can also make you go fast and turn with ease. There is a thin film of water between ski and snow--if the film is too skinny, the ski drags on the snow, too thick and the suction slows you down. Getting it just right for frictionless glide requires matching your wax to snow temperature and crystal structure. The packaging on your wax can help with its description of conditions. If you carry just one wax, it should be a "universal" product. The wisdom of using an old iron for a "hot wax" is often crowed, but you can get excellent coverage quickly, even on-slope emergency waxing, without an iron. Durability is the only casualty of a "cold" wax.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Soft or liquid waxes

Things You’ll Need:
  • Liquid, solid, paste or spray-on wax Paint brush or other applicator Plastic scraper Horse hair or fine nylon brush Work space with vice Hair dryer, if necessary Hand warmer
  • Liquid, solid, paste or spray-on wax
  • Paint brush or other applicator
  • Plastic scraper
  • Horse hair or fine nylon brush
  • Work space with vice
  • Hair dryer, if necessary
  • Hand warmer
Step 1
Include the paste, spray or other liquid wax in your gear along with a small paint brush (or other applicator), a waxing cork for paste wax and a plastic scraper or wax remover for taking off old wax. A parka pocket or fanny pack will hold these supplies. If you are at home, secure the ski to be waxed in a vice.
Step 2
Strip off as much of the old wax as possible using a plastic scraper (or wax-removing compound, if not on-mountain). Brush the ski surfaces.
Step 3
Cover the tip of the applicator included with the wax (or a paint brush, if at home), and spread a light coat of it evenly on the bottoms of your skis.
Step 4
Allow the wax to dry. (If you are at home, preheating the surface with a hair dryer will improve uniform coverage).
Step 5
Use your waxing cork or burnishing pad to buff the surface to a smooth finish. (Again the hair dryer will help melt the wax into the base).
Step 6
Remove excess wax with a nylon or horse hair brush to further smooth the ski's surface.

Hard waxes

Step 1
Carry paraffin or commercial hard wax, which will be color coded for snow and temperature conditions.
Step 2
Scrape off as much old wax as possible and brush the surface.
Step 3
Using the wax stick like a crayon, cover the entire surface of the ski.
Step 4
Polish the surface vigorously with waxing cork or pad.
Step 5
Brush off excess wax.

Tips & Warnings

 
Plan ahead--check snow and weather forecasts to know which wax to use. Remove all existing wax to provide a smooth base for new wax. Wax at home if possible.
 
Plan ahead--check snow and weather forecasts to know which wax to use.
 
Remove all existing wax to provide a smooth base for new wax.
 
Wax at home if possible.
 
The wrong wax can actually detract from glide. Waxing on the slopes is tedious and cold.
 
The wrong wax can actually detract from glide.
 
Waxing on the slopes is tedious and cold.

Article Written By Barry Truman

Barry Truman has published many outdoor activity articles in the past five years with International Real Travel Adventures, the Everett Herald and Seattle Post Intelligencer newspapers, Backpacking Light Magazine and Trails.com. He has a forestry degree from the University of Washington.

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