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”.

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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.

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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”.

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9 responses to “Waxing Your Skis/Snowboard (Or Not)”

  1. Mark Bergman says:

    Have you testd the wax free product you mentioned or is this simply a review of options? If so, how many day/weeks so far?

  2. John Thomas says:

    I vote for weekly waxing before you hit the mountain. Waxing is a good time to check for damage, such as, core shots cracked rails.

  3. Brian Izdepski says:

    Unnoticed you didn’t leave your last name, Mark. Are paid to endorse these two waxless

  4. Mark says:

    Once you go with a “waxless” product, can you go back?

  5. Tim says:

    Hi. Sounds like an untested endorsement. How much free product did they send you? You’re switching without even trying the stuff based on time saved. Looks like cut-and paste from the Phantom brochure. Granted, patrollers spend lots of time on the slopes, but it would be interesting to hear opinion from the real ski industry authorities: tech reps, shop rats, W/C race tuners. Or how bout a materials engineer who can test just how far a treatment can really penetrate beyond the open pores of the sintered base material? Does it go all the way through the entire base?, When we belt and stone grind the ski are we grinding away the magic juice?

  6. David says:

    So how good is Phantom permanent wax?

  7. Mike Jorgenson says:

    The claims of permanent wax performance seem quite exageteted to me. I had my Jones Mtn Twin treated with Phantom before heading to Colorado for some holiday boarding. I was excited to try the board after the Phantom process. On our 1st day out there was an inch of fresh snow, and it was about 25 deg F. I got my boot in my front binding and proceeded to skate to the lift line, immediately noting the gritty friction beneath my board. I tried it on two more runs down the mountain before calling it quits and switching to my spare board. My spare board was last waxed 3 years ago (waxed at beginning of season, ridden hard that season, then unused for two years. My spare board had SIGNIFICANTLY less friction and better glide. When I get back to the shop that Phantom treated my board I’m going to ask them why the fresh Phantom treatment performed so much worse than a 3 year old well used wax job.

  8. Amy says:

    What about the DPS system and brand?

  9. Mark Crone says:

    Hi Folks, here’s some answers to your questions. My last name is at the top of the article. I did not receive any free product. When I wrote the article, I was reviewing waxing options. DPS is Phantom. I have now tested Pocket Juice. It lasted about 50 hours (until about a week ago). Pretty good but certainly not permanent.

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