How to Wax Your Skis

A World Cup waxmaster helps you keep your boards clean and mean.
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A World Cup waxmaster helps you keep your boards clean and mean.
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Snow may appear soft and pristine, but you wouldn’t know it by studying the bottoms of your skis after a day on the slopes. Take a good look: Jagged snow crystals have made thousands of tiny scratches—each one filled to the rim with grit. And grit slows you down.

Like most World Cup technicians, Graham Lonetto is troubled by the phrase “slows you down.” That’s why he’s perfected the art of waxing. After running the race room at Rossignol USA and tending to the equipment of U.S. Ski Team racers, Lonetto has set up a high-end tuning shop in Stowe, Vt. You can mail him your skis for one of his trademark treatments, but bearing in mind that Lonetto recommends a wax after every three days on the slopes (or every day, if you’re a racer), the shipping costs might add up. Here, he shares his expert waxing techniques, which will get you from summit to base faster than ever. Well-waxed skis not only last longer, they behave better on snow. And besides: Faster skiing means more runs per lift ticket.

SUPPLIES (pictured above)

>Ski vise (A)

>Waxing iron (B)

>Ski wax* (C)

>Nylon ski brush (D)

>Plastic kitchen scrubber (E)

>Ski-specific plastic scraper (F)

>Velcro ski straps (G)

>Hand towel

Click to continue for step-by-step directions on ski waxing.

*

Racers get picky about wax, choosing specific formulas according to snow and air temperatures. For recreational skiers, Lonetto suggests a hydrocarbon wax. “A harder hydrocarbon wax will give you more durability.” He uses Holmenkol Beta, Toko Red or Swix CH7, all available at good ski shops.