Do New Skis Need To Be Waxed?

by Frank V. Persall

It’s a question everyone asks, each time they get their fancy, factory-fresh skis straight out of the plastic;

“Do new skis need to be waxed?...Like, they’re already waxed by the factory, right... ? Is this really worth my time!?”

Well, the truth is, the answer can depend on the ski, and on your own situation. A proper waxing will always improve your ski’s performance, and you literally cannot overdo it. That being said, the factories do usually wax them before shipping them. So, is it really worth your time, effort, and money?

Your days of wondering are over! Today, we’re sharing everything you need to know; so, read on for a juicy low-down on all things related to new skis, wax, and what you need for your skis to provide the perfect experience on the slopes.

How To Wax New Skis
How To Wax New Skis

Let’s get into it!

Should You Always Wax New Skis?

That’s the million-dollar question. What’s the answer?

The answer is that, yes, you really should.

Here’s the thing; companies do wax the skis in the factory… But, not all waxes are created equal.

Factory waxes:

  • Are done for the purpose of preserving shelf life; not for providing optimal waterproof ski performance
  • Are done on a mass scale, with no TLC or attention to detail, resulting in a poor quality job
  • Use the cheapest wax available, to save money, and simply get the job done in a cost-effective way

Typically, the wax job from the factory is just to keep it looking fresh. This makes it good for- maybe- one day of skiing. Depending on the company, this wax job is sometimes not too bad- ON3P skis are known to be quite good for fresh, out-of-the-store skiing.

However, even with a relatively good factory wax, you’ll want to get your own DIY wax done after, at most, one or two days of skiing. The factory wax just isn’t built to last, and it won’t give you that seamless, frictionless flow that you know and love.

How Do You Know If Your Skis Need Wax?

Taking a careful look will tell you what you need to know about this. The most prominent sign will be the coloration.

If you start seeing discoloration, it’s high time for a wax. If you’re seeing chalky, white spots, you’re well overdue for one.

It’s a pretty straightforward process- as the wax fades, the waterproofing fades, and thus, the water will start to damage your ski. At first, this will just fade the color, and it will start at the edges- and that’s the warning sign you should keep your eyes peeled for. As they get drier and drier, that whiteness will creep in from the edges towards the middle.

An experienced skier can actually get a good feel for it in a very simple way- they can gently run a fingernail across the base. Does that fingernail slide as though it’s on a slick, waxy surface? Or, does it feel like there’s lots of friction, and that it’s rougher than it should be?

This technique might take a bit of nuance, but it can help a lot. Give it a try next time you wax, and see how it feels before and after!

How Often Do Skis Need To Be Waxed?

There are two types of wax most people will do: rub on, and iron on.

The rule of thumb is simple rub on wax will be good for 6 to 8 hours of actual use, and an iron on wax will be good for 6 to 8 days.

There are other moving parts, here; in extra cold or dry conditions, they’ll dry out faster, and need extra attention. Long trips from the base of the mountain to the top can dry them out quite a bit, and get them thirsty for a fresh hot coat of wax.

When in doubt, remember; it’s pretty much impossible to wax your skis too much. If you do it right, there’s no damage at all, and it only makes for a better skiing experience the more you do it.

Professional racers sometimes wax them 5 times before every single ski trip! That’s a bit extreme for an average skier, but it does go to show it’s not something you can overdo. It comes down to how much time and money you want to spend, getting the best ski experience possible.

What Happens If I Don't Wax My Skis?

When you don't wax your skis, they dry out, obviously. That means that a few things will happen, depending how long it takes for them to get waxed:

First, that discoloration will start to creep in. You’ll start to notice more friction, and less smooth gliding.

As that white discoloration spreads, it will also deepen, and there might start to be some chalky splotches across the skis. This shows that the water is badly damaging them. By this point, you’ll definitely notice that your skis are not running as smooth as they should be. Turning will be awkward, you’ll have less control, and the slide quality will be dramatically worse.

If they still don’t get a wax, the damage will continue, and the whole base will end up chalky and white. At this point, they’ll be unusable. They’re very dangerous in this condition if you don’t want a trip on a blood wagon, you need to get this to a workshop for a proper grinding.

Ski wax can be as cheap as $20 on Amazon Here. That’s far, far less expensive than a grinding operation, or buying new skis altogether! Spend a few bucks, get some wax, and use it every now and again. It’s an investment that pays for itself, and gives you a happier, easier, safer time skiing!

Closing Thoughts

A factory wax just won’t cut it. Even when they’re virgin skis, they won’t run as smoothly as they would with your own DIY waxing.

Remember; waxing your skis isn’t just about protecting them it’s about protecting yourself. It’s an investment, to protect your equipment, and keep yourself safe and in-control on the slopes.

It’s impossible to overdo it! So, get some wax, use it as liberally as you want, and enjoy skiing to the fullest!

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About Frank V. Persall

Frank is originally from the UK, but he has a passion for skiing that knows no bounds. He has made it his life's mission to visit the best ski resorts across the USA and the World. Frank loves spending time with his wife and three children on ski slopes, as they all share his love for the activity.

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