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 Waxing your skis or snowboard

Why Wax?

1. Enjoyment - The most important reason for using wax on your skis or board is that waxing will increase your enjoyment of your time on the slopes! You pay a lot for your sport so it is sensible to ensure you enjoy it as much as possible! A waxed board or pair of skis turns more easily, gives a smoother ride, and is easier and is less tiring to control. This means that you will have a better time in the mountains, you will be less tired and safer.

2. Speed - The second reason for using wax is to make your skis or board go faster – particularly important if you are racing (even against your friends) or training.

3. Protection - Finally wax helps keep your equipment in top condition –new gear is expensive, so take care of it!

 

How to Hot Wax - The Basics

How To Hot Wax

Hot Waxing is easy and you need only a few basic supplies.

1. Clean The  Base

Clean your base firstly by wiping it with a cloth or piece of paper towel. Then scrape away any old wax with an acrylic wax scraper.

Spray with DataWax Base Cleaner and wipe again to remove any dirt and grease from the base.

Ideally use a Datawax Brown Structure Pad or a a brass brush aggressively from tip to tail to further clean the base and remove oxidized base material.

Finally wipe again with a paper cloth and you are ready to go!

2. Apply Wax

Hot waxing is best. (Liquid or paste waxes may increase glide for a short time, however they quickly wear off and don't protect your base.) Simply hold the bar of wax against the base of the iron and allow the melted wax to drip onto your ski base. Run a series of drips in a “zigzag” pattern the length of the base. Set the iron temperature so wax flows easily, but doesn't "smoke" the wax. (If the wax is smoking then it is too hot!)

TIP:- it is better to keep the iron slightly cooler and to use slightly more wax. This takes a little more time but takes away any risk of burning the base and also helps the wax penetrate the ski better.

 Iron the wax into the base for 30 - 45 seconds to spread the wax evenly across the base and to allow it to penetrate into the base. This will probably require 2-3 passes along the length of the base. Make sure the wax is as even as possible and make your last pass from tip to tail.

REMEMBER: It is very important to keep the iron moving to prevent damage to the ski.

3. Cool and Scrape

Let wax cool to room temperature for at least 40 minutes- ideally overnight. Scrape off excess wax with an acrylic scraper leaving a very thin layer on the base.

Remember - You want the wax IN the base and not ON the base.

4. Brush and Polish For Maximum Glide

Finally brush surface wax out of base structure/texture with a nylon  or horsehair brush or a green structure pad. This clears channels for moisture which help break snow surface suction and enhances glide. 

How Do I Choose a Wax?

General Skiing or Boarding

The most popular range of waxes is the DataWax HP (High Performance) Range.These waxes contain a low concentration of fluorocarbon which makes the wax smooth fast and easy to apply.Choose one of these waxes. If you are new to waxing or you are not sure of the snow conditions then choose Universal HP.If you are clear about the conditions use Butane HP, Magma HP or Sunfire HP.
 
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Racing and Freestyle

If you are racing and need to squeeze the very best speed form your skis or the most height from your jumps use DataWax Magma Race or if the snow is very cold DataWax Butane Race. These waxes contain a high concentration of fluorocarbon and are VERY fast. 

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Touring and Cross Country

Fluorocarbon at high concentration is known to interfere with the glue on skins so it is best to avoid “fluoro” containing waxes. The DataWax HC (Hydrocarbon range contains no “fluoro” and is therefore perfect for this use. They are still fast waxes so are also an economical for general use.

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Late Season Man made and Indoor Snow

Snow that has been recycled tends to contain particles of dust and other contaminants. These particles create static electricity which makes sliding more difficult. Graphite in wax dissipates the static and makes your skis and board run smoothly and quickly. In these conditions use a DataWax Graphite wax.

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Artificial Slopes

Artificial slopes are very abrasive and heat the base causing it to be sticky. The wax serves two purposes, Firstly to help protect the base from melting and secondly to make the ski or board go faster. In using an artificial slope use a DataWax Polar X or Polar GX wax.

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Temperature Specific Wax Ranges

Temperature Specific Wax Ranges

Once you've got the right range, selecting your wax is mainly affected by snow temperature. Remember that it is the temperature of the snow and not the air temperature. The only way to measure snow temperature accurately is to use a thermometer, however this is rarely practical, especially if you are servicing before your holiday!

Universal wax is designed for all snow conditions and covers the wide range of snow temperatures and types. This makes it ideal for anyone unsure of the conditions they will be skiing or boarding in. DataWax’s Universal is also designed to be extremely long lasting by having additives to ensure it stays in the base for as long as possible. Universal is ideal for all conditions, therefore does not offer the same level of performance as a temperature specific wax.

Using the correctly selected temperature wax will massively increase performance, however a difficult balance exists as the wrong wax can actually increase drag due to the structure of the snow and the wax being incompatible. If you are in doubt, we suggest using Universal or a wax slightly colder than you predict the snow to be.
The colder waxes are harder, therefore will not create drag against the snow surface.

DataWax manufacture three high performance and temperature specific waxes for use on snow in alpine environments.

These performance grade waxes are:

Butane
For -6 to -16°C, manmade and glacier snow

Magma
For -8 to 0 °C, mid season

Sunfire
For -2°C and warmer, wet slushy snow


DataWax waxes contain fluorocarbons, which are very hydrophobic (repel water molecules). Our level of fluorocarbons are designed to increase glide and speed, however are not recommended for high level ski racing. Fluorocarbons are especially effective in wet or slushy conditions by repelling the water from the bases.

 

Temperature Guide

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Waxing FAQs

Do I need a wax bench? 

Whether you are equipping yourself with a home tuning setup or an “on the go” race setup a solid surface will make everything easier and more efficient.  A thick level surface that can easily accept tuning vises will make all the difference. 

We are often asked if saw horses or woodworking benches can serve the same purpose, and the answer is always no (except possibly for children’s skis which are very short).  A stable platform that allows your vises to sit level and be stable during the scraping, brushing, and filing that occurs during regular ski maintenance not only makes the processes easier, but will also keep hands and knuckles scrape and cut free!  Saw horses will shift far too much and have nothing to support the center of the ski.  This allows the ski to flex and wander especially during scraping and brushing. 

There are many table sizes available, and the best choice will depend on what types of equipment you will be tuning and the space you have to do it in.  When tuning longer length skis, especially cross country and giant slalom skis a longer profile table is a must. This gives you more room to space your vises and makes for a more stable ski and easier use.  For snowboards or when space is limited shorter tables are also available.

DataWax stock the Swix T75W waxing bench as we consider this is the best value bench that is stable without being too heavy. (11kg)

 

How to Use Structure Pads

Your DataWax Structure Pad Kit contains two pads:- a rough brown pay and asmoother green pad.To use a structure pad, wrap it around your acrylic scraper and lightly push or pull it along the ski from tip to tail using long smooth strokes.

Brown Pad

Use the brown structure pad to “open the pores” in your ski before you wax, so that the wax can enter the base.  Use 2-3 passes of the ski base pressing moderately firmly. Wipe off any dust and debris and clean the base before waxing.

Green Pad

Use the green structure pad to lightly roughen the wax after you have scraped (this prevents surface tension allowing the ski to glide more easily). Use 1-2 passes over the length of the base in long smooth strokes – only gently pressue is required. Wipe off any excess wax before clamping your skis with DataWax Ski Ties.

 

Using a Plastic Scraper

Before scraping allow the ski wax to cool to room temperature. Half an hour to an hour is probably enough but the longer the better. 

Remember the important wax is already within the base, you are only scraping off the excess.

Hold the scraper firmly in both hands, apply even pressure and push from tip to tail taking the excess wax off. Use long smooth strokes. Keep doing this until you have little or no wax left visible.

Finish by wrapping the green structure pad around the scraper and pushing it along the ski, tip to tail in long smooth strokes to add structure to the fresh wax.

(if the wax is too smooth then surface tension will slow down the ski – hence the slight “structure” from the green pad.)

 

How much wax do I need?

It usually takes about 15 – 20 grams to hot wax one pair of skis or one snowboard, therefore a 110 gram block should last approximately 5-6 services.

 Rub on wax provides many more applications on a per gram basis (approximately double), however it will wear off significantly faster.

 

How long does it take for wax to cool?

 Generally we would recommend that you leave your bases for at least 20 minutes, but the ideal would be 45 minutes for the wax to sink in as much as possible and for it to absorb the wax as much as possible.

 

How often should I wax?

Really it depends what you are doing.  Normal holiday skiing on decent snow - about once every 3 or 4 days,  on a BASI course - every day,  racing - every run.

Certainly as minimum we would recommend that you check your bases and edges after each trip. This also means that you are ready to go for your next trip!


However the more often you wax the better performance you will get, so the more enjoyment you will have from your sport.  If you can wax at least every couple of days during your trip that’s even better!
 
If you are going on holiday and space (or weight) is limited in your luggage then consider packing some Superslip, an Alpine Rub On or some Fast Wipe Sachets!

 

Choosing a Wax for your Holiday

Choosing a Wax for Your Holiday

Making sure that your skis are waxed and edged before you go on holiday will definitely help ensure you have more fun on your trip. Easy turning, good grip and no more pushing across the flats, - what is not to love?

For the very best experience you need to choose the most suitable wax- but what?

Selecting your wax is mainly affected by snow temperature. Remember that it is the temperature of the snow and not the air temperature. The only way to measure snow temperature accurately is to use a thermometer, however this is rarely practical, especially if you are servicing before your holiday!

You should choose a wax from our best selling  DataWax HP range.

DataWax Universal HP wax is designed for all snow conditions and covers the wide range of snow temperatures and types. This makes it ideal for anyone unsure of the conditions they will be skiing or boarding in. DataWax Universal HP is also designed to be extremely long lasting by having additives to ensure it stays in the base for as long as possible. Although Universal is ideal for all conditions, it cannot offer the same level of performance as a temperature specific wax.

Using the correctly selected temperature wax will significantly increase performance. If in doubt use a slightly colder wax than for the snow conditions you expect.


DataWax manufacture three high performance and temperature specific waxes for use on snow in alpine environments.

These performance grade waxes are:

Butane HP
For -6 to -16°C, man-made and glacier snow

Magma HP
For -8 to 0 °C, mid season

Sunfire HP
For -2°C and warmer, wet slushy snow

All DataWax HP waxes contain a low concentration of  fluorocarbons, which are very hydrophobic (repel water molecules). These make the wax easier to apply nad improves the glide and ease of turning