No matter how much time you’ve spent on the mountain or what type of board you use, a good wax job is essential.
You don’t have to learn how to wax your own board, but if you’re serious about the sport and want the best possible performance out of your equipment, learning the basics of snowboard maintenance can help you out quite a bit.
In this article, we will teach you how to wax a snowboard so you can add a new coat and get your gear in tip-top shape before every run.
- Why Wax Your Snowboard?
- How to Wax a Snowboard in 9 Steps
- How to Wax a Snowboard without an Iron
- Final Words
Why Wax Your Snowboard?
Wax creates a smooth, slippery layer between the base of your board and the snow.
It may not seem like much, but that layer plays a large part in reducing friction and allowing you to effectively ride.
Sure, in theory, even an unwaxed board is going to slide downhill, but it will drag and snag in a way that’s not ideal.
A properly waxed board is key to having fun and making the most out of your time on the mountain.
How to Wax a Snowboard in 9 Steps
Below is a step-by-step guide on how to wax a snowboard with detailed tips and things you should pay attention while waxing.
1. Gather Your Tools
The first step to waxing your snowboard is making sure you have all of the items you need to get the job done.
If you don’t already have these items, head to your local ski shop or pick up a wax kit online. Here are the basic tools you’ll need:
- Waxing iron
2. Take off Your Bindings
If you leave your bindings on when you wax your board, you’ll risk ruining the screws and screw holes that hold them down.
Some people don’t do this when waxing, but it’s an easy step that I would recommend to everyone.
Simply unscrew the screws that hold your bindings in place and then remove the items.
3. Prep Your Work Area
Next, you want to clean off a flat area where you can lay your board.
This can be a workbench, kitchen counter, or table. Just make sure you clear enough room so that you won’t knock anything important over while you wax.
You should also put down an old tablecloth or sheet to protect surfaces from wax or debris.
4. Clean It Up
Before you apply new wax to your board, you want to clean up the base.
You need to get rid of the old wax that’s on your board so that new stuff will grip and hold in place more effectively. You can do this by applying a base cleaner to the base and then wiping it clean.
Once the base is clean, you can properly begin the waxing process.
5. Preheat the Iron/Pick your wax
Before you can melt the wax and apply it to the base of your board, the iron needs to be hot.
If you let the iron preheat, you will have a uniform temperature. That will then allow you to more easily apply the wax and control it throughout the process.
You also want to decide what type of wax you’re going to use. Depending on the snow conditions, different waxes are better at different temperatures.
Choose a wax that’s best suited to the conditions you are going to ride in or choose a general-purpose wax that will work with most snow types.
6. Melt Away
Now the fun begins.
With your iron preheated and your wax in hand, you can begin to melt the wax all over your board. Hold the iron in one hand and the bar of wax in the other. Carefully touch the wax to the bottom of the iron while holding them both over the base of the board.
Move across the board to get an even amount of wax everywhere as best you can. Some people like to make circles or figure 8’s with their drip patterns. Others will make crisscrosses. It really doesn’t matter.
The goal is to shoot for equal amounts of wax. Also, try to get a good amount near the edges as those areas dry out more than the ones on the inside.
7. Smooth It Out
Once you’ve dripped wax all over your board, set the bar down and start to iron the base. This process is just like how you would use an iron to get wrinkles out of clothing.
Slowly move in a circular pattern to melt the wax even further and get a nice layer spread evenly on every last inch of the board.
Be careful, though. You don’t want to let the iron sit in one spot for too long as that can damage your board.
8. Cool and Scrape
Once you have the wax evenly melted all over the board, you want to let it cool before you proceed any further.
This usually takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes depending on the temperature in the room you work in. You will know it’s cool by touch and feel.
Once the base cools off, the next step is to scrape away any excess wax so you have a nice even layer.
Hold your scraper tool (usually a thin-but-strong piece of plastic or metal) in your strong hand and angle it at about 45 degrees. Now scrape the board in a slow but steady manner across the entire length of the board.
Repeat that process until you’ve scraped the entire base surface. The scraping process will lead to plenty of wax shavings, so clean them up as best you can.
9. Brush Your Board
The final step is to brush the waxed base of your board. This is as simple as it sounds.
Use the brush included in your tuning kit or another fairly stiff brush to rough up the waxy surface. That may seem like you’re ruining your wax job, but the process actually opens up the natural surface of your board a bit to help you naturally move downhill.
How to Wax a Snowboard without an Iron
Waxing a snowboard without an iron is pretty straightforward. There are a few different products out there that you can use to perform a quick wax job on your board and get it gliding smoothly again in a matter of minutes.
It’s easier to wax a board inside on a flat, stable surface, so you’ll want to head inside to the lodge if you’re on the mountain. Better yet, get it waxed up before you head to the hill.
You’ll need a rub-on or spray-on wax product to work without an iron. I prefer rub-on styles because there seems to be less waste.
Rub or spray the wax product all over the base of your board. Try to get an even coating, so there is a similar amount of wax covering the entire surface area.
Once you have a good amount of wax covering the base, rub or wipe the surface to buff things out and get the wax spread out smoothly. If you feel like you don’t have enough wax on, you can repeat the process until you do.
That’s pretty much all there is to it, quick and easy!
Here are a few quick answers to some common questions relating to waxing a snowboard.
What happens if you don’t wax your snowboard?
If you don’t wax your snowboard, it won’t glide as smoothly over the snow. This can slow you down considerably when you are out riding and is definitely noticeable if you are an experienced rider. Wax slowly wears off every time you ride.
Is it easy to wax a snowboard?
Yes, waxing a board is a pretty easy task. To do a proper wax job, you’ll need a few tools like an iron, scraper, and brush. But if you use spray or rub on wax, it’s even easier. It’s also reasonably cheap to have the snowboard shop do it for you.
Can you just rub wax on a snowboard?
There are rub-on wax products that you can use to wax a board. You can’t use iron-on wax to do the job. Make sure that you get the right product, or it won’t work. Rub on wax is easy to use and apply. It just won’t last as long as iron-on wax.
How long does factory wax last on a snowboard?
It depends on how often you ride and the snow conditions you are riding in. In my experience, a factory wax job can last anywhere from 10-50 days of riding. That’s a broad range, and that’s why the conditions play a big part in it.
Can you scrape too much wax off a snowboard?
Yes, you can. A slow and steady approach to scraping is best, so you don’t end up scraping off too much wax. If you apply too much pressure, you will dig into the base and scrape off more than just excess wax. Just go slow, and you’ll be fine.
Now that you know how to wax your board, the next question is how often should you wax it. That comes down to how much and how hard you ride.
If you’re an aggressive rider who wants peak performance, you might consider waxing your board a few times a week. I know a few diehards who will even wax every day.
If you only ride occasionally, you don’t need to wax your board as often. Maybe once a month or at least a couple times a season. It’s hard to make an exact call on this because each board and everyone’s riding style is different.
An easy way to tell if your board needs to be waxed is to simply run your fingers across the base.
If it has enough wax, you should see some of it scrape off under your fingernails. If you don’t scrape any off, it’s time for a new coat.About Lorraine