How to Tell When Skis Need to be Waxed: A Complete Guide | (2023)

If you own a pair of skis, you will want to take the best care of them possible. This might involve making sure your ski edges are sharpened, they are stored correctly and also, that they remain waxed.

It is therefore essential to know how often skis may need to be waxed and what the tell-tale signs are that you need to wax your skis.

If you find yourself asking any questions about ski wax, when to apply it and what to look out for, we have put together a complete guide to help you detect to right time to wax your skis!

You can tell if skis need to be waxed if they look discoloured and have a chalky white appearance, or if they have a dry texture and feel sluggish when skiing. Skis should be waxed at the start and end of every ski season, and it can be beneficial to wax them mid-season if you ski very frequently.

How to Tell if Skis Need to be Waxed: The Tell-Tale Signs

So, what exactly are the signs to look out for to know when to wax your skis?

  • Discoloration
  • Dry texture
  • Slow or sluggish feel when skiing

Next, we will go into these signs in more detail so you know exactly what you’re looking for and how they come about.


(Video) How to Wax Your Skis - Everything You Need to Know || REI

Discoloration on the base of skis is common when the layer on wax on then has diminished or has been removed. This is one of the clearest signs that your skis are in need of re-waxing.

This often can give a chalky white appearance on the base of skis. This chalky white appearance is most noticeable on black skis. For brightly coloured skis, this may simply appear as if the colour has been dulled and not as vibrant as it was when it was newly waxed.

Dry Texture:

Some skis may feel different to touch when they are newly waxed compared to when they are in need of re-waxing. This could feel slightly rough or dry compared to newly waxed skis.

When your skis are newly waxed, it is a good idea to take note of the colour and texture of the base of the skis so it is easily noticeable when either of these features change, signifying that they need to be waxed.

Slow/Sluggish Feel When Skiing:

Wax helps to increase how quickly your skis are able to travel across the snow. Therefore, when skis need to be re-waxed, they may feel slower than usual when skiing or even a little sluggish.

(Video) How to Wax Skis: A Step-by-Step Guide

This may be quite difficult to notice so it is most easily detected alongside other features such as discoloration.

Why Do Skis Need to be Waxed?

Waxing skis protects the bases from drying out which can lead to delamination and damage to your skis. Waxing also lets you ski faster.

Keeping skis waxed not only keeps them in the best condition and helps to prevent certain kinds of damage. The first advantage to waxed skis is that it will prevent the bases from drying out and becoming damaged.

This layer of wax shields the base material from this and prevents delaminating, which can cause extensive damage to your skis.

Waxed skis also give better performance and are able to glide faster over the snow. This is often more important to advanced skiers, but a tell-tale sign that skis need to be waxed is a sluggish and slower feeling in your skis when on the slopes.

How to Tell When Skis Need to be Waxed: A Complete Guide | (1)

How Often Should Skis Be Waxed?

Skis should ideally be waxed at the start and end of every ski season. Waxing mid-season may also be required a few times per month, especially if skiing every day. Skis should be waxed when the pervious layer of wax has been partially worn away.

(Video) How to Wax Skis

For all skis regardless of how often you ski during the season, skis will need to be waxed at least at some points. But in general, how often your skis will need wax will depend on how often you ski and for how long.

For example, all skis need to ideally be waxed at the start and end of the ski season.

Other than these standard times when waxing should ideally take place, how often you are advised to wax mid-season can range from a few times a month to even more regularly if skiing every day. This is because the more you ski, the quicker the existing wax will diminish on the base of your skis and need to be replaced.

The easiest way to determine how often your individual skis should be waxed mid-season is to know what to look out for.

If you know the tell-tale signs that your skis need to be waxed, you will get to know just how frequently you should be expecting to do so depending on how often you ski, your skiing style and your specific pair of skis.

What Time of the Season Should You Wax Your Skis?

Waxing skis at the end of the ski season is extremely important. This helps to protect them from drying out while being stored out of season. Waxing skis at the start and during the season is also important to get the best performance out of them possible and protecting them from damage.

Many people think that it is only important to wax skis at the very start of the season when you are about to start skiing. However, lots of people forget the importance of also waxing skis at the end of the season. This will help to maintain the good condition of your skis when they are being stored out of season.

(Video) How to Wax Skis | Ski Waxing the Easy Way

When waxing at the end of the season, it is also advised not to remove the excess wax by scraping it off until the start of the following season.

Many skiers wax their skis at the beginning and during the ski season to ensure they are getting the best performance from their skis possible. However, how often this is required is dependent on the type of skis and how often you are skiing.

Do New Skis Need to be Waxed?

Waxing new skis is good practice to keep them in the best condition possible. New skis are generally pre-treated with a thin layer of wax. However, it may have been a while since skis were waxed in the factory, so waxing new skis is advised, particularly for more advanced skiers.

Most new skis now come pre-waxed, although this can vary between brands and shops. Despite this, skis tend to dry out quickly and it is possible that the time between skis being waxed in the factory and you using them may be long enough to cause your ski bases to dry out substantially.

If you are new to skiing or a beginner skier, this layer of wax that the skis come pre-treated with will likely be enough to get the performance from your skis that you need. Beginner skiers will usually be skiing slower than advanced skiers, so don’t need skis to move quicker over the snow.

However, if you want to take the best care of your skis regardless of your ability, waxing brand new skis is the best idea to make sure they are protected from drying out and you get the best performance out of them possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are there different types of wax?

(Video) How To Wax Skis | The Ski Workshop

Different types of wax are specifically geared towards certain conditions, snow temperatures and levels of performance. For example, older and warmer snow requires a different type of wax to colder and newer snow.

Many waxes have temperature ranges that they work best in. However, all-round waxes are also available. For the best performance, waxes specific to your ability and conditions provide optimal gliding.


How to Tell When Skis Need to be Waxed: A Complete Guide |? ›

You can tell if skis need to be waxed if they look discoloured and have a chalky white appearance, or if they have a dry texture and feel sluggish when skiing. Skis should be waxed at the start and end of every ski season, and it can be beneficial to wax them mid-season if you ski very frequently.

How do I know if my skis need to be waxed? ›

It's time to wax your skis when …
  1. temperatures and snow conditions change, for instance from wet snow to powder.
  2. there is fresh snowfall.
  3. the base starts to feel rough and look greyish.
  4. you're about to store them away for summer to prevent rusting.
  5. you have skied over rocks and stones, for instance during freeriding.
Apr 30, 2021

How many times should I wax my skis? ›

It's important to wax your skis after completing base repair and edge work, as well as throughout the ski season to ensure your skis glide smoothly. Waxing every three or four outings is a good practice.

Can you put too much wax on skis? ›

There is no such thing as waxing your skis too much, or too often. However, all the wax in the world won't make much difference if your bases are gouged and your edges are dull. To get the best performance out of your ski, drop them off at a ski shop in Westport for professional tuning and waxing.

How do you know when to wax cross country skis? ›

If you ever see the bases of your skis looking slightly white the base has oxidised, and no amount of waxing can return it. To prevent that, make sure you wax your skis at least every 4-5 times you ski.

How do I know if my skis are dull? ›

Check for ski sharpness by dragging a fingernail across your edges. If the ski edge scrapes away some fingernail it's probably sharp enough. If your edge is dull, sharpen following the side edge tuning procedure below. Finish your daily tune with hot waxing and head for the slopes.

How many runs does ski wax last? ›

Using a wax iron to properly wax your skis may last you up to 10 days, which for many people covers a significant amount of skiing. If you're going multiple weeks in between ski sessions, your skis may dry out and thus require another layer before you head out again.

How do you clean skis before waxing? ›

Clean your ski base by scraping with a acrylic wax scraper to remove old wax and dirt from the surface. (Use base cleaners sparingly as they tend to dry out and deteriorate the base material.) Use a brass or bronze base brush aggressively from tip to tail to further clean the base and remove oxidized base material.

How do you service skis at home? ›

How to service skis
  1. Put the skis in a vice. A 'workmate' type bench is OK if you don't have a proper ski vice. ...
  2. Clean and dry bases. ...
  3. Fill small gouges using a Ptex candle. ...
  4. Scrape flat. ...
  5. Deburr edges. ...
  6. Sharpen edges. ...
  7. Detune tip and tail. ...
  8. Apply wax.
Jun 1, 2022

Can you wax skis with a hair dryer? ›

1. If you have waxable classic skis thoroughly scrape off all of the old surface kick wax - you can use a hair dryer to warm up the bases first to make it easier.

How do you clean up after waxing skis? ›

Wax on, Wax off
  1. Clean the Base. First things first, clean the base. ...
  2. Heat Waxing Iron. Next, heat your waxing iron. ...
  3. Rub on the Hot Wax. Melt the end of the wax and rub it on the board. ...
  4. Let the Wax Cool and Scrape off the Excess. ...
  5. Use a Brush to Finish. ...
  6. Scrape off the Rust. ...
  7. Wash with Warm Water. ...
  8. Dry off Thoroughly.
Sep 30, 2021

Can you put skins on waxed skis? ›

I have waxed X-country skis and I do the bases my self with hot wax. I've used skins a few times and no more. I've not had any problems with skins coming off. Obviously this is providing they are clean and sticky in the first place.

How do you kick wax? ›

Applying Kick Wax
  1. Apply a thin layer of kick wax to the binder layer using light pressure. Remove any clumps that may form.
  2. Cork with a synthetic cork, using long strokes with light pressure. ...
  3. Apply and cork 2 or 3 more full length layers. ...
  4. Apply and cork 1 to 3 more layers in the central 60-70% of the wax pocket.

Do people still wax cross-country skis? ›

Yes. You need to regularly apply glide wax to the tips and tails of your waxless cross-country skis. If you don't use glide wax, you run the risk of not getting any glide while skiing. Also, there's a greater tendency for snow to stick to the bottoms of your cross-country skis.

How do I make my skis less slippery? ›

If you're slipping, the wax is too hard. Scrape it off with a plastic scraper and apply a softer wax. If you're gripping too much and snow is building up on the bottom of your ski, scrape off the soft wax and apply a harder wax.

How many times can you edge a ski? ›

In average you can normally sharpen the edges on a pair of skis 5 to 10 times before the steel edges are worn out. After that you need to replace your skis. Most people who have never skied or have always rented the ski gear in the rental centers may be surprised by the fact that their skis must be sharpened regularly.

How do I know if my ski is stiff? ›


Generally speaking, skis that have a stiff flex will feel stable at speed and have good precision on hard snow. Stiff skis grip better on hard snow, too, because they maintain full-edge contact and don't bounce off the snow. However, a ski that is too stiff will buck you around and burn out your quads.

What grit sandpaper for skis? ›

Use 80 grit sandpaper for abrasive snow. Use 120 grit sandpaper for non-abrasive snow. Using a sharp plastic scraper, remove any hairs that might be attached to the base.

How many times can you base grind a ski? ›

Skis can be ground many times if done regularly. On the low end (heavy damage to the base hence much base removal) skis can only be ground 4-6 times but there are cases of skis being able to take up to 40 stone grinds over the life of a ski. Most of the base removed is done to flatten a severely warn base.

How should skis be stored? ›

Store your skis together with your poles in a dry, well-ventilated place that's protected from sun and dust. Placing your skis against the wall of your garage can work well as long as your garage is protected from moisture (including ground moisture ground).

What is a full tune on skis? ›

What is Ski Tuning? Ski tuning is an important step in maintaining your ski equipment so it performs its best for as long as possible. It includes a basic wax and edge sharpen or could include a more rigorous process for alpine ski tuning like a ski base grind or stone grind.

Does rubbing alcohol remove ski wax? ›

Clean the ski or board's base, using a citrus based wax remover/ski base cleaner. You can also use rubbing alcohol or lemon/orange peel. Just remember to also wash down the base afterwards if you use peel.

Should you use base cleaner before waxing? ›

Clean Your Base

Your base has pores just like your skin, and for wax to stick to them you need to clean out the grime.

What to do to skis before season? ›

Here are three DIY ways to get your skis ready to go.
  1. Clean Them. Start by cleaning your skis with a pre-coat of wax. ...
  2. Sharpen the Edges. You want your skis' metal edges to be sharp, smooth, and clean before you hit the slopes. ...
  3. Wax Them. You'll want a floor and a table that you don't mind getting covered in wax.
Nov 19, 2014

How do I prepare my skis for winter? ›

How to prepare your skis for winter
  1. Remove old klister from skis. ...
  2. Cleaning the base of cross-country skis. ...
  3. Refresh the base of the skis. ...
  4. Saturate skis with glide wax.

When should you do ski service? ›

Regular Service

We recommend that you treat your skis to a full service at the beginning of each season. The more you ski, the more maintenance your skis will need, so adjust accordingly.

Can I use a regular iron to wax my skis? ›

Can You Use a Clothes Iron to Wax Skis? Yes, you can use a traditional clothes iron to wax skis, but there are some things to be aware of. First, don't plan on using the iron on your clothes again - you'll almost certainly ruin them with wax.

Can you use a heat gun to wax skis? ›

You should keep moving the heat gun continuously, making sure you have no more than 1-2 inches trail of melted wax. No less either, since it would probably not help penetrate into the ski. Some softer wax will melt faster, for the colder wax, just move the gun a bit slower.

Can I use car wax on my skis? ›

So in a pinch, yes you can use car wax on your skis if you have nothing better and it will work for the best part of a day but ultimately you need to use a proper wax.

What is hot scraping skis? ›

Hot scraping is simply scraping your bases immediately after ironing wax into them. Don't wait for it to cool down. As soon as it transitions from being a hot, glossy looking liquid to a soft, still-warm solid phase with a matte finish, scrape it.

How do you keep ski edges from rusting? ›

To avoid edge rust, don't zip wet skis into a ski bag. Dry skis thoroughly before storing or shipping. To avoid edge rust and binding corrosion, never carry unprotected skis on a car roof-rack where they're exposed to road salt.

Can you vacuum wax? ›

Once the wax has solidified, use a dull object—such as a butter knife—to gently scrape off as much wax as possible, says Miller. You can vacuum up wax residue as you scrape it away from the carpet. Typically, this method of removing max should take most of it off—yes, even if it's colored wax, Miller adds.

Can you ski down with skins on? ›

it's quite possible to ski with skins on and in complete control using gravity alone at gradients of 20-30 degrees.

What happens if you pull wax the wrong way? ›

This can cause skin tearing or lifting for clients. When applying wax, it's imperative to apply in the direction of hair growth and to remove parallel to the skin in the opposite direction of hair growth. If you fail to apply or remove in the correct direction, your client will run the risk of injury.

How long to let wax dry before pulling off? ›

This will happen when the wax cools down too much on your skin. For peel off waxes, such as Waxaway Salon Wax, it's best to wait until the wax it touch dry, this will only take 15-20 seconds. The wax must still be flexible like plasticine when you remove it.

How long to let wax dry before wiping? ›

Wax doesn't take long to dry, and there's no need to leave it on the paint for more than the cure time of 20 to 30 minutes. During this time you can detail the interior of your car, or grab a quick snack. Once you can swipe your finger across the wax and it doesn't streak, you're golden.

What is a zero ski? ›

The Redline Zero is a World Cup quality specialty classic ski for racing in tricky waxing conditions around zero degrees Celsius. The headline feature of this ski is a base material insert placed in the grip zone of the ski made from a blend of rubber and polyethylene.

How do you tell if your skis are waxless? ›

If you have a Waxless ski, then your Grip Wax Pocket will have a textured surface- looking almost like fish scales. Waxless skis do not require Grip Wax, but still would benefit from Glide Wax.

How do I make my skis comfortable faster? ›

10 Pro Tips for Skiing Your Fastest
  1. 1) Honing the tuck. ...
  2. 2) Fixing your visual field at the top of your eyeballs. ...
  3. 3) Concentrating on one body part at a time. ...
  4. 4) Keeping the elbows in. ...
  5. 5) Wearing a race suit that hugs your curves. ...
  6. 6) Relinquishing control to your skis. ...
  7. 7) Talking to yourself. ...
  8. 8) Eating powerfully.
Nov 29, 2018

Why do skis not sink in snow? ›

Skis have a larger surface area to reduce the pressure on the snow. This ensures that the skis do not sink into the snow too far.

How often do you apply Glide wax? ›

I am often asked how often you need to apply glide wax. Well, it depends on several factors but my rough rule of thumb is every 50 – 100 km under normal conditions. This distance, of course, can be much less if the snow is very abrasive or if the temperature changes a lot or if you are preparing for a loppet or race.

How much kick wax to apply? ›

Apply and cork 2 or 3 more full length layers. After each application, look down the length of the ski to make sure that your application is smooth. 4. Apply and cork 1 to 3 more layers in the central 60-70% of the wax pocket.

How long should wax sit before pulling? ›

Make sure to create a lip at the end (using light pressure) to have something to hold on to while removing. Wait for the wax to harden (this usually takes about five minutes). Pull the wax off in the opposite direction of hair growth. Repeat on all desired areas.

What is the best waxing schedule? ›

How Often Should You Wax? You will gain the most benefits out of waxing when you schedule your appointments 2 to 5 weeks apart. For the legs, you will need to wax every 3 to 5 weeks. For the face, bikini line, and underarms, you will need to wax every 2 to 3 weeks.

Do you buff between coats of wax? ›

If you're covering painted furniture, you may not want to apply another coat, which could make the furniture even shinier. If you're covering unfinished furniture, plan on applying a total of 3 layers, but remember to buff the wax between each application.

How do I keep my skis in good condition? ›

Skis should be hot-waxed after every third or fourth day of skiing, and freshened up with a paste wax (Swix F4 is good) daily. If you can't find your regular wax brand, use another brand. It's like engine oil: any wax is better than no wax. Polish your edges regularly, using a fine diamond stone.


1. How to Wax Your Skis
2. Should you Wax a new set of skis? Awesome set of Salomon Max 80 in for a full Wax
(RideRightWaxing & UKOneWheel)
3. Ski Tips with Daron Rahlves: tuning and waxing maintenance part 1
(Ski Racing Media)
4. HOW TO WAX SKIS | Step By Step Tutorial
(Rise & Alpine)
6. Prepping Skis for the Season: Removing ski edge rust + sharpening edges + waxing skis
(Shaggy's Copper Country Skis)


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