If you’re just getting started with snowboarding, you’re probably wondering how to take care of your gear and keep your board looking good.
Getting your board in shape for the winter season is a major task that is central to your overall experience. It’s what keeps you safe and is the difference between you having your best season ever or being frustrated with your performance.
Taking your board to a local snowboard shop for a waxing session is really easy. Having someone else do it might save you some time and effort, but ultimately, that’s unnecessary when you know how to do it yourself. With a little bit of patience and some knowledge, you can wax your snowboard at home. In fact, you might get the same or better results as your confidence grows.
Even though you might have to go out of your way to get the odd piece of equipment here or there, it’s totally worth it. And in the long run, it might save you some money, too, which can be put to use elsewhere.
So let’s dive into discovering just how to wax your snowboard.
- Why Wax A Snowboard?
- How Often Should You Wax Your Snowboard?
- When to Wax Your Snowboard
- What Snowboard Wax To Use
- How To Wax A Snowboard – 9 Easy Steps
- Now You Know How to Wax Your Snowboard
Why Wax A Snowboard?
Waxing your board helps it last longer over time and should be an essential part of your maintenance routine.
As you use your board more often, the base gets dryer and more rigid. This will affect your overall agility and performance, as well as making your board more prone to breaking. A properly waxed board is also your best way to glide along in the snow faster and easier. This means a better run and better performance all around.
You might be wondering, does a new snowboard need to be waxed? The short answer is yes. Even though new snowboards come out of the factory with a thin layer of wax, the effectiveness of this decreases over time.
Waxing increases the energy and longevity of your board. A properly waxed snowboard makes for faster and smoother rides. So, you’ll definitely need to get your new board waxed after your first or second ride to ensure maximum performance.
How Often Should You Wax Your Snowboard?
The number of times you should wax your snowboard depends on a few things:
- First of all, when waxing a snowboard, you should consider how often your board is in use. This indicates the rate at which you should wax per ride.
- Secondly, you need to consider the type of base your board has. The most common bases in the market today are sintered bases and extruded bases. Sintered bases require more waxing compared to extruded bases. This is because sintered bases are more porous than extruded bases, meaning they absorb more wax.
- Thirdly, you’ll need to know the conditions you normally ride in. If the conditions are hard and icy, you’ll need to wax your board more often to prevent damage. This is because the wax on your board acts as a layer of protection against harsh conditions.
A general rule of thumb is that the harsher the conditions, the more often you should wax your board. However, depending on all the things mentioned above, you might want to consider waxing your board every two to three days of full riding.
When to Wax Your Snowboard
When you buy a new snowboard from the shop or factory, it usually comes waxed and ready to ride. But as you ride throughout the season you might find that your snowboard isn’t as fast as it was.
You might also start to notice some visible changes in your board’s base. For example, the colors of the base might appear less vibrant or your board might look a little dry.
Both of these signs are good indicators that your board might need a waxing session. So, what you’ll need to do is examine your board’s base a little closer to take note of the slight changes in appearance.
What Snowboard Wax To Use
Choosing the right wax is important for a few reasons. The right wax for your board is one that improves gliding and protects your snowboard’s base from oxidation and damage from the elements.
There are four different types of wax depending on your board’s use: warm weather, cold weather, cool weather, and all-season. The main difference between the four types is hardness.
- Cold weather wax is a great option if you’re riding in frigid conditions and want to make good use of the crisp winter morning.
- Cool-weather wax is best for moderate winter conditions.
- Warm weather wax works great for warmer conditions and lush sunny days.
- And finally, all-season wax is ideal if you need one formula that fits a variety of temperatures and conditions throughout the season.
So, the type of snowboard wax you use is determined by the weather conditions and your style of riding. For example, more seasoned riders will opt for temperature-specific waxes to match the weather conditions of the day. This means that depending on the severity of the weather, these riders will choose waxes ranging from cold-weather to warm-weather.
Generally, recreational riders don’t do this as it’s time-consuming and you have to factor in weather conditions and change your wax regularly. For this reason, you’ll probably want to go for a nice all-season wax because it accounts for slight changes in conditions. This type of wax is simple, effective, and works just as well in nearly all types of weather conditions.
How To Wax A Snowboard – 9 Easy Steps
So far, we’ve seen that snowboard waxing is important when it comes to performance and the durability of your board.
Waxing your board at home is a simple task that requires only a handful of materials. It does not have to be a long tiresome process filled with unnecessary steps. Nor does it have to be an expensive shopping trip. You can easily find most of the cleaning tools you need online or at your local snowboard shop.
The items you’ll need for a proper at-home waxing session are:
- Waxing iron
- Buffing Pad
- Base cleaner
- Optional: A vise to hold your board (or anything else stationary that you can set your board on to)
Step 1. Remove or loosen your board’s bindings
Make sure you remove or loosen any bindings on your board before the iron goes anywhere near the base. Removing the binding screws from the board’s base makes sure that they’re not near the surface and able to conduct heat, which can cause permanent damage.
Step 2. Clean the base
If it’s an old board, you’ll need to clean off any dirt and old wax. This makes sure that the new wax you apply is properly absorbed into the base. You can do this using a snowboard base wax cleaner and cloth, or by using the hot scrape method.
A hot scrape involves applying a small coating of hot wax with an iron and then scraping it off while the wax is still warm to remove any dirt from the pores. When you’re done, wipe the base with a cloth to remove any leftover residue.
Step 3. Pick your wax
The wax you choose will depend on the conditions you’ll be riding in. Warm wax and cold wax, for example, are temperature-specific waxes that correspond to the temperature of the snow you’ll be riding on.
A good rule of thumb to remember what wax to use is to consider these hues like water from a faucet. Cold temperatures require blue/green wax, warm temperatures require red/pink wax. And all cool temps need yellow wax.
If you’re in any doubt, or if you’re riding in mixed conditions, your best bet is going for an all-weather wax.
Step 4. Melt the wax
When melting the wax, you can either choose to buy a specific waxing iron or go for a regular clothes iron — just make sure that you don’t use it on your clothes afterward.
Start off by warming the iron up to medium heat, and then hold the wax against the iron until it starts to melt the wax at a slow drip. Move the wax around the borders of the board as it drips down before zigzagging up the middle — you want an even coating of wax across the board. The edges will be the driest, so pay special attention to them.
Step 5. Iron the base
After the wax has melted, you’ll want to place the iron on the base of the board and move it around in a circular motion.
Then, cover the whole surface of the base while making sure to keep the iron moving. This is done to ensure that the base of the board doesn’t get too hot.
Step 6. Let the wax cool
Allow the wax to rest on the board for 20-30 minutes until it has cooled down and set.
Step 7. Start scraping
Once the wax has set, hold your plastic scraper at a 45-degree angle and slowly work from nose to tail. As you do this, scrape off any excess wax. Long, continuous strokes are key for a smooth base.
Step 8. Inspect your edges
Any wax left on your rails will leave your edges useless, so make sure to remove any residual wax with the notch on the end of your scraper.
Step 9. Structure the base
Finally, brush the base from nose to tail firmly with a structuring brush. This removes any excess wax and exposes the base structure, allowing your board to run smoother and faster.
Now You Know How to Wax Your Snowboard
Ultimately, waxing snowboards at home should be an easy task. It’s something you should consider adding to your overall maintenance routine. And even if you don’t do it every time, it’s a good skill to learn for those times when you’re unable to send the board in to the pros.
A properly waxed snowboard is the best way to improve your overall performance and keep you gliding smoothly along the snowy slopes.
Now that you’re prepared, make sure to read our guide on the ultimate snowboarding packing list to help you figure out what you’ll need to bring on your next trip.