How to Tune Skis #3: Waxing || REI
Waxing your skis is the best way to protect the bases and keep you gliding fast over snow. In this video, we give you a quick, step-by-step guide to waxing your skis at home. Shop REI’s selection of ski tuning equipment at
How to Tune Skis #2: Base Repair
How to Tune Skis #1: Edge Work
Waxing your skis is the best way to protect them and keep them performing at their peak. You’ll need clean towels, rubbing alcohol, your favorite wax, a plastic scraper, a set of brushes and a waxing iron. It’s best to use a specifically designed waxing iron because the iron you use at home could burn the wax or your base. Place your skis on your ski vise. If you don’t have a vise, you can use a couple stacks of books to balance your ski. Be sure to lock your ski brakes up and out of the way. You may need a rubber band for this. Use rubbing alcohol and a clean towel to prepare the base for wax. If your bases are visibly dirty, brush them off with a wire brush before using the alcohol. Make sure you brush, wax and scrape from tip to tail.
Heat up the iron until it’s just warm enough to melt the wax. Then drip a line of wax down the ski. If the wax begins to smoke, the iron is too hot. Let it cool before starting again. Work the wax into the ski from tip to tail, making sure it reaches the edges. If it doesn’t, add more wax. Keep the iron moving at an even speed. You should see a trail of molten wax about 3 to 5 inches behind the iron. If you move too fast the wax won’t fully penetrate into the base. If you’re too slow you could burn or blister the base material. After three or four passes of the iron the ski’s top sheet should feel warm. Let the whole ski cool completely back to room temperature. This is a great time to wax the other ski.
Once the ski is cooled, use a plastic scraper at a 45 degree angle to scrape off the excess wax. Use long, overlapping strokes with firm, even pressure. You know you’re done scrapping when you’re not getting any more wax shavings. You’ll want to remove wax from the side walls and edges as well. Make sure to use the short ends of the scraper so you don’t dull the scraping ends. Next comes the brushing. The base of the ski has tiny channels called structure which move water out as you ski. Brushing clears the wax from the structure. Make several full length tip to tail passes using your nylon brush. Use good even pressure and keep brushing until you’re no longer seeing wax dust coming off. Finish up with a good polish with your horsehair brush. The more passes you make, the better the result. You can’t brush too much.
To recap, start with clean skis. Spread wax thoroughly over the whole base. Scrape the extra wax off and finish up with your brushes.