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How To Prep Your Skis and Snowboards for First Day On Snow

Pre-season is here: that means there’s a chill in the air and a dusting of snow (or more) on the mountains, and you’re probably counting down the days ‘til FDOH (first day on hill). There are many things that get us stoked to shred, like rewatching all our favorite ski and snowboard movies, getting our gear together (or buying new stuff), and tuning our skis and snowboards. Here’s a handy how-to guide that can live permanently in your bookmarked tabs, you’re welcome.

 

What You’ll Need:
  • Wax – all temp wax is always the best go-to
  • Wax iron (an old clothing iron you no longer use for clothes will work if you don’t have access to a wax iron)
  • Plastic scraper (or something similar laying around)
  • Structuring brush (or an unused household sponge with a brillo pad on one side)
  • Optional: edge file for addressing any rust or edge burrs, de-tuning, or sharpening
Step 1: Prep Your Gear

If you’re waxing a snowboard, start with loosening or removing your bindings. Now, clean your base(s) of any dirt, grime, or debris from last season by doing a hot scrape. To do this, drip wax and spread it around with the iron like normal, but instead of letting the wax cool, scrape it immediately. This is also the best time to address your edges. Some folks prefer to let a shop work with them—and that’s fine. But if you’re someone who feels good about de-tuning, sharpening, or filing down edge burrs on your own, do this prior to getting into the waxing part.

Step 2: Wax On

Now repeat part of step one by dripping a generous amount of wax all over the base of the snowboard, paying particular attention to your edges which tend to dry out the quickest. Then use the iron to spread the wax around. Make sure to always keep the iron moving and never let it stay sitting in one place for more than a few seconds.

Step 3: Smoke Break

Jk… or not… we don’t judge, it’s been a rough few years. Let your wax cool for about 30 minutes, or until the base is no longer warm to the touch. You can use this time to move on to other skis or boards, but if you only have one board or pair of skis you’re working with, take 30 to eat a snack, smoke a bowl, or crack a cold one.

Step 4: Wax Off

Once your base cools, now it’s time to scrape the wax off. Depending on where you’re doing the scraping, keep in mind it’ll make a bit of a mess. Best to lay a tarp, blanket, or newspapers on the ground to help make clean-up easier. For a smooth base, scrape in long, powerful strokes from nose to tail. Make sure there is no excess wax clumps lingering, and that your metal edge is also free of wax.

Step 5: Buff It Out

Use a structuring brush to buff the remaining wax into a smooth, shiny finish. In similar long, powerful strokes, move the brush from nose to tail. Most kits include two brushes: a firmer nylon bristle brush and a softer, horsehair brush. Start first with the nylon brush, then finish with the horsehair brush. If you don’t have brushes, the brillo side of a household sponge can work well enough.

Now get out and shred the gnar!

CHAR HARRIS. See also: Gnarlotte. A 30-something certified badass (Level 3 AASI Teach Instructor) based out of Portland, Oregon. Also the human behind our social media (yes, a real person with feelings), and our day-to-day design extraordinaire (like this fun graphic you're reading).

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