Waxing your skis or snowboard is a fairly important part of the sport. Is it absolutely necessary? No. In fact, if you really don’t care, you never have to wax your skis. As REI points out, though, keeping your gear freshly waxed can increase your speed on the snow and prevent your ski or snowboard’s bases from drying out and delaminating.
Say, however, you just purchased a brand new pair of skis or a snowboard, got them mounted, and want to get on the slopes ASAP. Skis and snowboards are typically given a layer of factory wax after production anyways, so do you need to put on new wax, or is it safe to just ride on what’s already there? Unfortunately for fans of simplicity, the answer typically depends on who you ask.
According to REI, a brand new skier should leave the factory wax on their gear, keeping their speed down while continuing to protect the bases, but an experienced skier should immediately rewax their skis, ensuring a layer designed specifically for their desired terrain and snow conditions. Both Burton Snowboards and Fischer Sports, on the other hand, say it’s all up to personal preference. If you want to give your gear a more temperature/snow specific wax, go for it, if you don’t care, then don’t worry about it.
There are other opinions out there, though. Racewax.com, for example, states that the skis should be cleaned and the factory wax should be removed and replaced before they’re used on snow, and Level Nine Sports seems to highly recommend it.
To some extent, it seems like companies selling wax and/or tuning services will recommend an immediate wax, while companies just selling skis and/or snowboards will say it doesn’t matter, so maybe there’s a conflict of interest when it comes to these answers. At the end of the day, it’s more than likely up to the user, but it’s important to know that the factory wax (as well as the factory sharpening) could get a bit damaged throughout the shipping/storage/display process before you even purchase them.
Holding off on waxing your brand new skis will not be dangerous, and it probably won’t hurt your performance or your gear all that much. But, if you want a more personalized feel and you want a bit more speed, wax them before you use them! Also, if you’re getting your skis mounted, a waxing might be included anyways (depending on the shop). If it can easily be done before you get on the snow, there isn’t much of a reason to wait.
One final thing for your own future use: according to Folsom Skis, there are five times when you should wax your skis. If the bases look chalky or white, if your skis feel slow, if it feels like snow is sticking to the bases, if you’re traveling to an area with different levels of moisture in the snow, and at the end of the season as storage wax. If you want to learn how to wax your skis on your own, Folsom also has a pretty good tutorial for doing so, which you can find here.
Featured Image Credit: Mountainflow eco-wax via Facebook