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You Should Really Learn How to Wax Your Own Skis Already

Waxing isn't rocket science. Pro ski technician Leif Sunde breaks down the basics in this step-by-step video.

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Waxing your own skis isn’t that difficult. All you need is a few basic tools, a well-ventilated space, and you’re on your way. Learn to do it yourself, and you’ll save a bundle of cash over the course of the season—and over the lifetime of your skis.

“Waxing isn’t just about gliding faster than your friends,” explains Leif Sunde, professional ski technician and owner of the Denver Sports Lab in Golden, Colo. “Every time you wax, you increase the density of your ski bases, so that they’re less susceptible to damage and more durable. Waxing regularly helps your skis live longer.”

If you’ve never attempted to tune your own skis, start with waxing. It’s difficult to mess up this simple process, and if you do, the consequences are low. To get started, gather the necessary ski tuning supplies listed below, then watch Sunde’s step-by-step tutorial of how to wax your own skis in the comfort of your own home or garage.

Watch: How to Wax Skis

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Ski Waxing Tools

"Ski wax options range from rub-on to melt-on in universal- and temperature-specific varieties."
Ski wax options range from rub-on to melt-on in universal- and temperature-specific varieties. Photo: Keri Bascetta
  • Waxing Iron: Waxing irons vary in temperature control systems (analog vs. digital) and thickenss of the iron plate. Thicker plates provide more consistent temperature regulation.
  • Ski Vise: Vises are essential for firmly securing skis bases up for waxing and sideways for edge maintenance. Most ski vises can be easily secured to a workbench or tabletop. Pro tip: Invest in metal vises over plastic, since metal is more durable and won’t give way as easily when pressuring the ski as you’re working on it.
  • Ski Brake Retainers: Wrap these industrial-strength rubber bands around the bindings to retain the ski’s brakes and allow a waxing iron and edge file to pass over the ski unobstructed.
Ski Brake Retainer Rubber Bands
Use these industrial strength rubber bands to hold back ski brakes while working on your bases and edges. Photo: Courtesy of Swix
  • Base conditioner: Before waxing, use a base conditioner to remove grime from your skis’ bases to ensure a layer of wax doesn’t trap contaminates in the base. A base conditioner will also help bases to better absorb wax.
  • Wax: There are lots of different wax options varying from temperature-specific to universal glide options. Recreational skiers get away with using a universal hydrocarbon wax (without additives) designed for all-temperature use. But if you’re looking for optimized glide performance, go with a temperature-specific wax that correlates to the snow temperature you’ll be skiing.
  • Wax Scraper: If you plan to ski the day after you wax, use a plastic scraper to scrape off excess wax so that you don’t spend the first few runs the next day removing excess wax and getting skis to glide well. If you’re waxing before storing skis for a longer period, you should leave all the wax on your bases to help keep them hydrated while they sit in storage until next use.
  • Base Brush: After waxing, use a base brush to remove smaller wax particulates that remain on the bases after scraping. You’ll find a variety of base brushes on the ski shop shelf, but we recommend a brush that contains a mix of nylon and steel brush hairs.
Swix Base Brush
We prefer base brushes that contain a combination of horsehair or nylon brushes and steel or bronze. Photo: Courtesy of Swix

More Ski Tuning How-To Content

Which ski wax is right for you? Find your perfect wax. 
Sharpening Skills: How to Sharpen Edges
How to Tell a Good Ski Tune from a Mediocre One