Winter is fast approaching and if you’re a snowboard enthusiast, then it’s time to start preparing for the season. One of the essential things to consider is waxing your snowboard before hitting the slopes.
Waxing allows for smoother and faster rides by reducing friction between the surface of the snowboard and the snow. It also protects the base from damage caused by rocks and other debris on the mountain.
If you are new to snowboarding or have never waxed your board before, don’t worry! In this article, we’ve compiled tips and tricks from professional snowboarders on how to hot wax your snowboard for optimal performance on the mountains.
“Hot waxing is not rocket science, but there are a few important steps to follow to ensure you get the most out of your ride.” – Pro Snowboarder
Whether you are looking for ideas to make the process easier, save money, or just want a better understanding of the benefits of hot waxing, we’ve got you covered. By following these expert suggestions, you’ll be able to achieve an exceptional glide every time you hit the slopes.
So, grab your snowboard wax, iron, scraper, and let’s dive into the world of hot waxing!
Gather Your Supplies
Get the Necessary Tools
Before hot waxing your snowboard, make sure you have the necessary tools, which include:
- A flat surface to work on – a workbench or table works fine.
- A scraper – used to remove old wax and excess product from your board after application.
- A hot waxing iron – this should be specifically designed for snowboards. A standard clothes iron will not work as well.
- Wax – choosing the right type of wax is crucial for good performance on the slopes. Generally, colder waxes are harder than warmer ones. You may need to experiment with different brands and types of wax to find the one that works best for you.
- A plastic scraper – use this to scrape off any residual wax once you’ve applied it.
- A brass brush – this helps clean out the base of your board before waxing and makes absorption easier during the process.
- Cloth or towel – Use these to wipe down your board after scraping off excess wax.
Prepare Your Workspace
The preparation of your workspace plays an essential part in the hot waxing process. With a few precautionary measures, you can ensure that the operation goes smoothly and effectively. Follow these steps:
- Choose a well-ventilated area – Hot wax produces fumes that are harmful to inhale. Opening windows or doors is advised, so pick a spot near them.
- Cover your flooring surface – If any drips occur, they might cause damage to carpets or floors, so lay down some newspapers or an old sheet.
- Secure your board – To help you apply pressure to the iron, it’s crucial to keep your snowboard firmly in place. A bench vise or clamps can keep your board stable during waxing.
The workspace preparation phase may take longer than expected but is essential for a successful experience.
“Be ready before you set out.” – Latin Proverb
Prepare Your Snowboard
Clean Your Snowboard
The first step in hot waxing your snowboard is to clean it properly. This process is essential as it removes any dirt, grime, or old wax that can harm your board’s surface and prevent the new coat from sticking correctly.
To begin with, use a soft-bristled brush to remove all loose dust and debris on your board. Then, take a damp rag and wipe down the entire surface of your snowboard. Be sure to remove all remaining dirt to ensure there are no spots left for wax repelling and hindering movement during ride time.
You can also use a specialized snowboard cleaner if you have more stubborn stains or marks. Apply it to the affected areas and leave it for specified minutes before wiping away with a dry cloth.
Sharpen the Edges
After cleaning your snowboard, the next critical step is to sharpen its edges. A dull edge makes it hard to turn, which interferes with your riding experience, resulting in injuries.
Use an edge tool equipped with a file and diamond stone to sharpen each side of your board. The goal of sanding the edges is to create a burr effect that will help grip the snow and provide stability while surfing.
Maintain equal sharpness on both edges while removing little metal parts at a time till they’re equal around your snowboard; this enhances control when turning and gives you confidence when ripping down sparkling white slopes!
- To maintain good sharpened edges:
- Avoid hitting sharp items like rocks
- Wash off salty residue after snowy days
- Don’t over-sharpen your edges
Apply Hot Wax to the Snowboard
After cleaning and sharpening, it is time to apply hot wax. When performing this process, ensure that you have a good iron temperature regulator or thermostat-controlled iron to avoid overheating.
To get started hot waxing your board:
- Select the appropriate wax based on snow condition (warm/soft-cold/firm)
- Melt the wax with an iron till it drips onto the base of your snowboard
- Distribute the dripping wax evenly by spreading it out using your iron until all parts are covered uniformly
- Spend extra time rubbing in wax around the edges and nose/tip of your board as these areas vigorously contact the snow while surfing
- Allow at least 30 minutes for the wax to cool down completely then use a scraper to remove excess wax carefully. It’s better to scrape over than under rather than trying to redo the entire process again! Your board is now ready for shredding icy terrains!
“Waxing helps protect your board from residual moisture build-up during rides. This prevents rusting and keeps your board running effortlessly.” -Ryan Sheckler
Apply the Wax
Select the Right Wax
The first step to hot waxing your snowboard is making sure you have the right wax for the conditions you’ll be riding in. Different waxes work better in different temperatures, so it’s important to choose a wax that matches the weather or temperature of where you’ll be skiing/snowboarding.
- Cold Temperature Wax: This wax is formulated for use in low-temperature snow conditions (under 20°F/-6°C). Cold temperature wax is typically harder and more durable, as it needs to withstand icy surfaces. It should also provide good glide in cold temperatures.
- All-Temperature Wax: As the name suggests, this type of wax can handle a wide range of temperatures (around 10°F/-12°C to 32°F/0°C). All-temp wax works well as a general-purpose choice if you’re not sure what conditions you’ll encounter.
- Warm Temperature Wax: Use warm temperature wax in slushy or wet snow conditions (above 32 °F/0°C), it’s softer than cold temperature wax, allowing your board to flex and dampen bumps better while providing good speed and glide.
Melt the Wax
Before you start waxing your board, prepare the wax by melting it using a wax iron. Begin by setting the wax iron on low heat; setting it too high will damage the base of your board. Generally, you’ll want to hold the wax against the bottom of the heated iron and slowly drip it over the surface of the board. Hold the iron slightly above the board at the wax line to melt and distribute it evenly.
Apply the Wax to the Snowboard
The next step is to apply the wax to your board. Starting from the nose, use a slow and steady motion to drip wax along the length of the snowboard base. You’ll want to cover the entire base with an even coat of wax. Don’t be anxious about this process as applying too much wax will not damage your board.
Let the Wax Cool
When you are done with coating every part of your snowboard with the wax, let it sit aside for at least 30 minutes to cool; if you’re in a hurry, leave it out outside or the back of a car for about five minutes to speed up the process of cooling.
“The most important aspect of hot waxing is allowing enough time for the wax to properly penetrate the ski’s pores and crevices while repelling moisture,” says Jesse James McTigue, Lead Guide at Heli-Ski US.
Scrape the Wax
To begin hot waxing your snowboard, you’ll need to start by scraping off any old wax and dirt from the base. This is crucial for achieving a smooth finish that will help your board glide over the snow with ease. You can use a scraper made specifically for snowboards or a plastic paint scraper instead.
Gently run the scraper along the base of your board, removing as much wax as possible. Be sure not to press too hard or scrape at an angle, as this could scratch the base and cause damage to your board.
“Scraping off old wax with a specialized tool before applying new wax ensures that all the pores on the board are open and ready to absorb new wax.” -LifeSkiAndStuff.com
Remove Excess Wax
Once you’ve scraped off the old wax, it’s time to remove any excess wax left behind using a textured pad or soft cloth. This step removes any residual dirt or debris and ensures that the base is clean and dry before applying new wax.
Gently rub the pad or cloth back and forth over the base in small sections until all the excess wax has been removed. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can push wax deeper into the base rather than removing it.
“Removing excess wax before heating ensures better penetration and absorption of the remaining wax.” -REI Co-op Journal
Smooth the Base
With the old wax removed and excess wax cleaned up, it’s now time to smooth out the base before applying new wax. A nylon brush can be used to achieve a smooth surface, but make sure it’s intended for snowboards as brushes made for other types of surfaces may be too harsh.
Gently glide the brush along the length of the board in a single direction, starting from the tip and moving towards the tail. This will ensure that the base is smooth and free of any small bumps or imperfections.
“A smoother base means less friction with the snow and better overall performance.” -SKI Magazine
With these three steps complete, your snowboard is now ready for fresh wax to be applied! Remember to choose a temperature-specific wax based on the weather conditions you’ll be riding in, and to follow the instructions carefully when applying the new coat.
Buff Your Snowboard
If you want to be safe and have an enjoyable time while snowboarding, it is essential to maintain your equipment in good condition. One of the most important things you need to do regularly is wax your board, which helps optimize its performance on the snow and prevent damage or wear and tear.
Use a Waxing Brush
To begin with, brush off any dirt or debris that might be present on your snowboard’s surface using a waxing brush. You can find some specialized brushes designed specifically for removing old wax and other heavy particles from your board. A brass brush would initially remove top-layer hairs sticking up on the base. Then finish cleaning with a horsehair brush by creating long, steady strokes from tip to tail of the board. The stiff bristles from the brass brush will agitate dirt and hardened wax so that the softer fibers could take them out from the channels where they tend to clog up quickly, leaving an optimal surface for hot wax absorption. An important point: never use metal brushes on your board as they can scratch or damage the structure of your board.
Polish the Snowboard
The next step is polishing your board. After brushing off all the dirt, use a soft cloth such as a fiber pad or a microfiber towel to rub down and clean the surface of your board. Wipe gently while applying pressure and focus on getting into the grooves where dust tends to accumulate over time when not used frequently. Make sure to apply equal amounts of pressure along with the length of the base. It makes it more durable and smoother to ride!
Remove Any Remaining Wax
You’ll want to get rid of any leftover residue on the board before you start being able to coat your board properly with fresh new wax. You could use a scraper to remove significant chunks of the old residue, but they tend to be tough on your arms, and you might end up damaging that pretty base graphic or leave superficial scratches on the board surface if used aggressively. Luckily there is an alternative: using citrus cleaner can help dissolve any sticky firmness still present after brushing off now effectively. Just spray some proper solution over the board’s top surface and spread it evenly with a piece of cloth. Once applied, wipe all waste away with another clean dry towel leaving bellow zero pollution behind!
Apply a Top Coat
The final step in this process would be to apply some new hot fresh wax onto the board’s surface. Make sure the snowboard’s base is not too cold before proceeding with this stage or else run the risk of getting inconsistent coverage on your snowboard. Read all packaging instructions carefully to ensure optimum results from your preferred wax brand. Preparing well the area for the curing process requires spreading wax from tip to tail as smoothly and uniformly as possible, avoiding leaving lumpy puddles behind. Using even pressure while moving downwards along the centerline of your bases while focusing mainly beneath each foot creates a consistent layer to protect against wear.
“Waxing isn’t complicated; a little knowledge goes a long way. Consistent waxing will keep you riding better and longer.” – Burton Snowboards
Regularly buffing/maintaining your snowboard helps to improve performance and its longevity throughout heavy use. With just these few steps, safeguard your investment by enabling quality runs every time hitting the slopes!
Store Your Snowboard
Clean the Snowboard
Cleaning your snowboard after every use will help prevent rust and prolong the life of the board. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove any loose snow or dirt from the surface. Then, wipe down the base with a damp cloth and mild detergent. Avoid using harsh chemicals that could damage the board. Let the snowboard dry completely before storing it.
Store in a Cool, Dry Place
It’s important to store your snowboard properly to maintain its shape and performance. Store your snowboard in a cool, dry place where there is no direct sunlight, such as a closet or garage. Make sure the board is stored horizontally, not vertically, to avoid warping. If you need to hang it, use padded straps to support the weight of the board.
Avoid leaving your snowboard near a heat source, such as a radiator or furnace, as this can cause the board to expand and warp. Don’t leave your snowboard outside or in your car for an extended period of time, especially during warm weather conditions. Extreme temperature changes can harm the integrity of the board.
You may also want to consider investing in a snowboard bag for additional protection during storage and transportation. A padded bag can prevent scratches, dings, and other damage that could affect the performance of your board.
By taking proper care of your snowboard, you’ll be able to enjoy its peak performance season after season.
Frequently Asked Questions
What materials do I need to hot wax a snowboard?
For hot waxing your snowboard at home, you will need a waxing iron, a scraper, a base cleaner, and a block of snowboard wax. You can find all of these materials at a snowboard or ski shop or online. It’s important to choose the right wax for your snowboard’s temperature range, so consult with a professional if you’re unsure.
How often should I hot wax my snowboard?
It’s recommended to hot wax your snowboard after every few days of riding or at least once a season. The frequency of waxing also depends on how often you ride, the snow conditions, and the type of wax you’re using. If you notice your snowboard is sticking or not gliding smoothly, it’s time for a fresh coat of wax.
What is the process for hot waxing a snowboard?
The process for hot waxing a snowboard involves cleaning the base with a base cleaner, heating the waxing iron, applying the wax to the base in a zigzag pattern, spreading the wax evenly with the iron, letting the wax cool and harden, and finally scraping off the excess wax with a scraper. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific waxing iron and wax.
How do I know when my snowboard needs to be hot waxed?
If your snowboard is not gliding smoothly or is sticking to the snow, it’s a sign that your board needs to be hot waxed. You may also notice a white, chalky residue on the base of your board, which can be removed with a base cleaner before waxing. If you’re unsure, consult with a professional at a snowboard or ski shop.
Can I hot wax my snowboard at home or should I take it to a professional?
You can hot wax your snowboard at home with the right materials and knowledge of the process. However, if you’re unsure or don’t feel comfortable, it’s always best to take your snowboard to a professional at a snowboard or ski shop. They can ensure that your board is properly waxed and maintained for optimal performance.
What are the benefits of hot waxing my snowboard?
Hot waxing your snowboard helps to protect the base from damage, improve glide and speed, and enhance overall performance. Waxing also helps to remove dirt and grime from the base, which can accumulate over time and affect the performance of your board. By regularly hot waxing your snowboard, you can extend the life of your board and have a more enjoyable riding experience.