The Snow Stinks, Why Wax My Skis?
By. Thom Phillips
When snow conditions are less than desirable, many skiers are less than interested in spending a lot of time or money on maintaining their ski equipment. In fact, this is the most important time to make sure your skis are in top notch condition. When snow conditions aren’t great to begin with, a poor wax job can really emphasize the crappy conditions.
Man made snow is comprised of harsh and abrasive crystals which typically contain dirt particles. The abrasiveness of the snow can really wreak havoc on the P-tex material ski bases are made of. It is important to keep your skis waxed frequently to keep the abrasive snow particles from damaging your base structure.
This picture shows a ski in the early phases of waxing. You can see a pronounced white-ish chalky look to the black P-tex base material. This is a sure fire indicator that this ski needs waxing. In this photo the wax technician has melted wax on to the base to begin the waxing process.
There are several different kinds of wax available from the different manufacturers suited for all types of temperature and snow conditions. When the snow conditions are crummy, Toko Wax highly recommends their System 3 wax, which is a high-grade hydrocarbon wax for aggressive man made snow. The combo pack with the Red and Yellow bars gives you two different waxes for normal and warmer temperature snow. These waxes are also sold separately in larger quantities if you plan on waxing more than a few times a year. Swix Cera Nova Racing Category 4 includes LF or Low FluoroCarbon Waxes, which are also designed for aggressive man made snow. Swix LF 12 Wax is a combo pack with three different types of waxes designed for most snow temperatures. These waxes are also sold separately in larger quantities if you have several pairs of skis to wax.
For detailed waxing instructions please see our article How to Wax Downhill Skis which contains videos showing you the entire process of waxing skis. After applying the wax, scraping and brushing your bases should be a nice shiny black. If your skis have professionally tuned you may be able to see a pattern in the base, as shown below.