It’s good to take care of your snow gear. That way it will last longer and look better, saving you cash in the bargain. What are the important steps for maintaining skis and snowboards?
- Waxing your base – you should wax your skis or snowboard on occasion. Sure, you don’t have to do it every day or every week like pros – they need full 100% performance. But wax is not only for performance, it also protects the plastic base layer of the board and keeps it from drying out. I wax my board about every 10-15 days of riding, or once per year (if I haven’t ridden the board for that many days).- To wax your board, buy a cheap iron (used if you can find one), some all-temp ski wax, and a plastic ski/snowboard scraper. Set up the board or skis outside on some sawhorses or chairs (covered with newspaper to avoid wax getting on them). Set the iron on low and drip wax on the base. Then put the iron on the base and move it around to melt the wax and push it across the base. Don’t keep the iron in one place for too long! If the base gets too hot, it can be damaged by the heat. Only move the iron slow enough to melt the wax. In case you doubt your skill, have it done by a shop – maybe they’ll let you “watch and learn.” After melting on the wax, let it dry for 15 minutes and then scrape it off with the plastic scraper. The wax that stays in the base is all you need.
- Sharpening your edges – this is something mainly for performance. If the edges get dull or nicked, you have poor grip in hard or icy conditions. It’s a good idea to do it about the same frequency as waxing, every 10-15 days. But if you hit some stones on the trail and get nicks in your edges, you can do it more often. One important note: you don’t have to do a full sharpening with a file every time! This can wear out your edges fast. Use an oxide stone or diamond stone in your edge tool to smooth out small nicks and dings without taking off a lot of metal from the edge.
- Storing your gear – an important, but overlooked step. Don’t just toss your skis or board in the basement after your skiing trip. Use an old rag to wipe off dirt, water, or (if using a roof rack) salt from the road. If your basement is very damp, it’s not a good place to store skis or boards – the edges will rust! But a dry basement is fine as long as there isn’t a lot of water on the edges when you put them in there.
It only takes a couple hours per season to ensure your gear stays in top condition. Then your gear should be in good shape for years to come. Now go out and enjoy the snow! 🙂