How Often Should I Wax My Skis? (More Than You Think)

by Alaina Johnson | Posted On: July 1st, 2022
waxing cross country ski

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As an avid skier will tell you, the smoothness with which freshly waxed skis glide across the snow is nearly unbeatable and it’s an integral part of any regular ski maintenance routine.

At a minimum, you should be waxing your skis at least once a season — usually at the end before you store them. If you ski frequently, you should be waxing them around once a week depending on the type of wax you use. Iron on wax will last the longest.

How Long Does Wax Last On Skis?

mountain ski

The answer to how long a layer of wax should last after being applied to your skis will vary depending on the type of wax you use and how often you’re skiing. It’s best to familiarize yourself with the tell-tale signs that your skis need a fresh coat, so you don’t have to wonder when you should either wax them yourself or take them into the shop.

Depending on which type of wax you’re using on your skis, you’ll want to re-wax them after a few uses. A rub-on wax, for example, may only last 2-3 days before an additional layer is recommended for the best performance.

Some liquid waxes may only last for a day and may even need to be reapplied throughout your ski session. If you want to wax your skis more infrequently, an iron-on wax will be the ideal solution.

Using a wax iron to properly wax your skis may last you up to 10 days, which for many people covers a significant amount of skiing. If you’re going multiple weeks in between ski sessions, your skis may dry out and thus require another layer before you head out again.

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If you’re paying for a waxing job at a shop, it’s likely that they’re ironing on the wax as this is really the most suitable way to wax skis and have them last for a decent period of time. Rub-on and liquid varieties of ski wax can be fine in a pinch but you may find it frustrating to have to reapply it so often.

How Do You Know When To Wax Your Skis?

Wider-skis
Photo by Sebastian Werner licensed under CC BY 2.0

There are a few scenarios that should encourage you to wax your skis for them to function up to their highest level. If you’ve gone over any rocky terrain and scraped them up, this would be an ideal time to wax them again to prevent any further damage.

When you notice a discoloration at the base of your skis or even a grayish color, you should get them waxed soon thereafter. This is arguably one of the clearest signs that they’re in desperate need of a fresh layer of wax and ideally, you shouldn’t let them get to this point.

If you’re skiing in a place with a different type of snow, you’ll want to go ahead and wax your skis beforehand. Skiing in powdered snow will require more frequent waxing sessions as well. Whenever you strap on your skis and realize that they feel a bit sluggish, this likely means that they’re overdue for a waxing.

As always, when you’re finished skiing for the season you should throw on a fresh coat of wax to ensure that your skis don’t become damaged over the summer months. This offers them a level of extra protection and can help keep any moisture out, thus preventing rust and a headache for you.

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What Happens If You Don’t Wax Your Skis?

orange jacket ski

If you don’t regularly wax your skis, they may be at risk of drying out and they won’t glide as smoothly over the snow. Overall, your ride won’t be as enjoyable and you may find yourself having to work harder to move around on them.

The friction between your skis and the snow will be increased when there isn’t an optimal layer of wax between the two. Even if you’re a beginner, you’ll surely be able to notice the difference and it may lead to you feeling a loss of control over your skis.

Skis that are left unwaxed are also at risk of rusting, especially around the edges. You wouldn’t want your investment to become rusty and unsightly, would you?

Not only that, but rusty skis are more susceptible to nicks and dings, which can cause a potential accident on the slopes.

Luckily, a basic wax should run you between $10-15 at the local shop. You can even gather the supplies and do it yourself, as many frequent skiers do. While not an expensive price to pay, it will add up over the course of the winter.

Do New Skis Need To Be Waxed?

waxing-ski

Oftentimes, new skis will come waxed and you won’t have to worry about completing this step before you use them for the first time. If you’re unsure whether or not yours came waxed, you can always wax them again for an extra performance boost.

There’s really no such thing as waxing too often and it won’t damage your skis. If you purchase second-hand skis to save some money, you’ll definitely want to wax them before using as it’s hard to say when the previous owner completed this integral maintenance step.

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When you first get your hands on a pair of freshly waxed new skis, you’ll want to take note of the color, texture, and overall appearance of the base. This will enable you to determine when they need to be waxed later on to return to their original shape.

If you have brightly colored skis, it becomes obviously apparent when they’re a bit dull and this can be a useful indicator for when a new layer of wax is needed. Learning how to apply wax yourself is a useful skill to have and can save you a bit of money over the course of a season.

Conclusion

Whether you’re new to the sport of skiing or you’ve been running the slopes for years, you’ll want to glide down the fresh powder on a set of freshly waxed skis. Not only is wax beneficial for the long-term health of your skis but it also makes for a much more enjoyable experience.

Having your skis waxed is a relatively inexpensive maintenance routine for your sometimes pricey equipment investment. Taking care of your skis allows them to take proper care of you while you’re shredding the slopes and keep you gliding down safely and smoothly.

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