As skiers and snowboarders who regularly ride in resorts and in the backcountry, we aren’t looking to win races––but we are looking to have fun and squeeze every bit of performance out of our gear. We are simply looking for predictable glide across a variety of snow conditions and terrain.
Not sure when to wax your skis? The quick answer is if you are wondering, it’s probably time. There are basically 3 types of skiers and boarders when it comes to wax – those who don’t; those who wax all the time; and those who have permanent “wax”.
Waxing (and tuning) your skis is about taking care of your equipment and skiing/boarding better and faster. If you’re new to waxing and tuning, go to a ski shop and get a professional tune up. You’ll get to know how your skis or board feels when it is in top-shape. After that, you’ll have an idea when it is time to back for some TLC. While you can sharpen your skis on your own, let’s focus here on wax.
First, if you just bought a brand-new pair of skis or a new snowboard, get them waxed before you hit the slopes. Factory wax is at the bear minimum and will wear quickly causing damage to the base of your skis or board.
If you don’t wax your skis or board at all, I’m not sure what to say other than stay tuned for “permanent wax”.
If you wax your own skis all the time, there’s really no such thing as waxing your skis too much. It really comes down to personal preference, budget and time. At the very least, waxing your skis every three to four days on the hill is a good rule of thumb. As a ski patroller, I’m very sensitive to snow and the conditions. I have a wax kit that contains 3 different waxes- one bar of -5C/23F and above (moist); One bar of -5C/23F to -9C/16F (universal); and one -9C/16F and below (cold). The temperature dictates which wax I apply to my skis (and sometimes it changes during the day).
Now here’s the best news as far as waxing goes. “Permanent” or “waxless” base treatment is here. There are currently 2 “waxless” products in the marketplace.
PHANTOM is a permanent, one-time application, waxless base treatment that forever eliminates the need for waxing skis and snowboards. Phantom is a liquid compound that permeates your ski or board base. This patent-pending, chemical formula has been lab-tested, and tested better than traditional ski wax across all temperatures and conditions. When applied, the treatment is activated and bonded by UV light. Phantom is safe for the environment and to those applying it.
PHANTOM is measurably faster than all-temperature wax in warm snow temperatures and provides similar levels of glide in colder snow temperature ranges. After gaining a bit of speed, PHANTOM delivers significant acceleration and achieves strong top-end glide for the life of your skis or snowboard. It also makes ski bases harder and reduces scratching.
The newest and alternate “waxless” treatment is “Looknowax”. Looknowax features “Juice Infinity” — an eco-friendly alternative to traditional ski wax that performs very well. Juice Infinity is directly absorbed by base material and does not shed like regular wax. It has been engineered to be applied to any new or used ski or snowboard at any point in its life cycle. Juice Infinity will last for weeks on your skis and much longer than wax.
The company does have a permanent “no wax” called “Juice Permanent” however it is only available when applied via a ski shop.
There’s a fork in the road here – Be a traditionalist and keep on waxing. Or get out and enjoy that wax-free feeling! I’m about to go “wax free”. Less prep time means more time on the slopes, and almost no time at all caring for skis and boards. If you don’t wax your skis as often as you should (or not at all), it’s time to get current and go “wax free”.