snowboard wax

Waxing a Snowboard: A Beginner’s Guide

No more rental shops for you, as you’ve committed yourself to tearing up the slopes by getting your very own boots, bindings and snowboard. Awesome! But before you pick up your lift ticket, there are a few things to keep in mind about keeping your board in shape and ready for snow season, and many more seasons beyond that. You might be surprised how many things can be taken care of yourself without having to leave your board at a repair shop.

Learning how to properly wax your new snowboard is one of the most basic steps in keeping it in prime condition. Regular use of your snowboard will cause damage around the edges and base, although it’s usually nothing more than the odd scratch here and there, or the occasional deeper gouge. Waxing a snowboard will keep the carving strictly to the slopes and hopefully off your snowboard.

While the easiest way to wax your board is a quick trip to your friendly neighborhood board shop, don’t for a minute think that you can’t take on this project yourself. Although waxing generally brings up thoughts of pain and agony, waxing a snowboard on the other hand is actually relatively painless, and some might say kind of fun!

Everyone Deserves a Clean Slate

Anytime you start waxing a snowboard, it’s imperative that the first step you take is cleaning the base. Even if you’ve only taken a ride or two down the mountain with your board so far, that wind driven snow isn’t quite as pure as you think it is. Snow can have everything from sticky tree sap to gasoline from snowmobiles, lots of things that will slowly eat away at your board’s finish. And if they’re not properly removed from your board before waxing, the wax itself won’t stick property and flake off.

Cleaning the base with a natural, non-toxic, citric acid based cleanser such as Chief Firewater will remove all impurities from the riding side of your board. After spraying the entire base of your snowboard with as much cleanser as possible, take a Scotch-Brite pad or other gentle scrubbing product, going over the entire base with it.

Don’t go overboard with your scrubbing, after all you’re not trying to remove the paint, but do give it enough effort to thoroughly get rid of all the impurities and even old wax that’s hanging onto the base. After a good scrubbing, go over the base with a paper towel to both dry the board and remove the extra residue.

snowboard waxing

Heat It Up

Although it’s not a necessary step to waxing a snowboard, pre-heating your board with a blow dryer before applying the new wax will help open your board’s pores, allowing the wax to adhere more strongly. Don’t stay on one area for too long with the blow dryer, but apply the heat evenly over the whole base.

Wax On

Now you’re ready to apply the wax to the board’s surface by pressing the wax to a pre-heated iron. Because the wax tends to stick to the surface of the iron afterwards, this iron will be your new dedicated board waxing iron from here on out (make sure that’s okay beforehand with those using the iron for more boring things, like clothing). See that the wax isn’t smoking while it’s melting, as this would be too hot that it might actually damage your board instead of protecting it.

Get as much of the base as you can with the melted wax. Feel free to put as little or as much wax as you like, but take note: the more you apply while waxing a snowboard, the harder it will be to scrape it all off later on. When you’re happy with the amount of wax you’ve got on there, take the iron and go all over the base of the board, spreading the wax into a consist level.

As you spread the wax across your board, it’s a great time to get a closer look at some of the finer details and characteristics of the base. You may observe little hollows in your board that you might have missed before. These are just part of what makes your board different than anyone else’s, and shouldn’t affect the overall handling. As you continue to wax, your board should start to look brighter as you’re ready to move to the next stage.

Wax Off

Those storing their boards until next season sometimes keep the wax on for protection, but if you’re going boarding soon, you’ve got to get as much of the wax off as you can. When the wax has completely cooled on the base, you can use a metal or Plexiglass scraper to take off excess wax.

A good scraper will have a notched edge to help get the wax off the edges of your board. Some boarders have resorted to using anything from plastic rulers to credit cards, or even their driver’s licenses. If you’ve already ruined an iron for the cause, a less than $10 scraper shouldn’t set you back too much.

Thoroughly scraping the edges of the snowboard will keep excess wax from affecting your turning. Try different angles with the scraper to reach different areas on the edges. Now start by pulling the scraper across the tail, using the meat of your hand to put pressure on the board. Move on to the other end, then using long scrapes, go across the center of the board. When you’ve finished scraping, try going over it again starting with the tail. If you’re noticing your scraper having less resistance, then you’re on the right track.

Buff it Out

After throwing away the wax you’ve scraped off, which you’ll never reuse, you’re pretty much done. However, for that extra pro step, use a new Scotch-Brite pad to lightly go over the base one last time. Go from head to tail with long gentle passes until you feel satisfied with the awesome job you’ve done waxing a snowboard. Now run a hand over your freshly waxed board and get ready to shred.