New Skis, Snowboard under the tree? - Here is what you need to know
If you are lucky enough to have received some new skis or a snowboard from Santa this Christmas, then you need to know a few things to ensure they are in tip-top condition for when you hit the mountain.
We don't sell skis or snowboards but we have sold thousands in the past, so here are our useful tips:
MYTH ONE - New skis and snowboards do not need waxing fully
We are often asked this question. In order to find out, when we worked for ski and snowboard retailer Edge & Wax we actually visited the factories making the skis and snowboards, as the brands were telling us they DO wax before shipping. They were not fibbing - but they were not exactly answering in full! Skis and Snowboards from 99% of factories go through a final step before they are shrink wrapped of being put through a wax roller and structuring brush. This rolls hot wax ON (remember that) to the ski or snowboard bases, and then goes through a brush to scrape off excess and add some structure to the surface.
This will last you a few turns. By the end of the first day, that wax will be gone. Why? Because to wax a ski or snowboard properly takes time, to get the wax IN to the base structure not just ON it. Wax is put on with an iron, the (normally) wood core collects heat and draws the wax into the fibres of the base, and then it cools. This takes 15-20 minutes. Then the base is scraped to remove excess wax, and finished by adding structure in the wax with wax brushes so that the stiction between the smooth waxed base and the snow is broken up, to ensure perfect glide. Imagine putting a sheet of glass on the surface of a tub of bath water and then try and lift that sheet of glass - its very hard to do so because of the stiction created. So structuring is very important!
SUMMARY - Get your new skis or snowboard properly waxed with an iron before you first use them - they will glide better and for longer, and prolong the life of your new kit. Even better - learn to do it yourself, we sell starter kits to help you do this, you will save money, prolong the life of your skis or snowboard, and find it rewarding too.
MYTH TWO - Pop your skis or snowboard in the loft to store them safely
Skis and snowboards might spend time on the mountain in extreme conditions, but when they are back home, there are a couple of things you should ALWAYS do as soon as possible
1- Remove them from their bags and ensure they are dry. Wipe them down to remove moisture, and leave them at room temperature to slowly dry. This helps to prevent rust to the edges and drying out of bases. The 100% best way to avoid rusted edges is BEFORE you pack the skis or snowboard away on the mountain, apply some Zardoz Base Boost Teflon directly on the edges. This pure Teflon is completely water repellent, so water cannot stick to your edges and then rust.
2 - Store your skis or snowboard somewhere dry and with ambient heat - DO NOT store them in your loft, or somewhere damp such as a cellar or outdoor shed. Nor in an airing cupboard. Skis and Snowboards predominantly have wood cores. When wood experiences change in heat and humidity it expands and contracts. This is how skis and snowboards delaminate, so it is important to store them somewhere neutral such as in a bedroom cupboard, under the bed, or on display in the living room on a ski storage bracket! This is especially important as most people do not take their skis or board for servicing when they return home - which they should, to save a last minute panic, but mainly in case there is any damage with water (snow) getting to the wood core. Put this into storage in the wrong conditions and it will accelerate delaminating of your gear
SUMMARY - Loft bad, living room good! Store your skis or snowboard at regular room temperature away from damp and heat.
MYTH THREE - The wax on your skis will last for a week no problem
Really sorry but this one is not true either. There is a reason why when we get to hit the mountains we take a smartwaxer iron and some wax with us - Even the best waxed skis or snowboard will gradually lose performance over the course of a week, so we will always top up mid week. Can you use them all week? Sure - but it is not just fatigue that starts to hit you on the mountain towards the end of your holiday, you are skiing or boarding with bases that are no longer gliding as well as they should be, as the wax has broken down, and the bases become dirty too. It is just like having your car serviced properly - you don't realise how bad things have got until you jump in your car after a good service. As performance decreases you need to put more effort in too, increasing fatigue which reduces your fun - and time - on the mountain and increases the risk of picking up an injury too.
Now we don't expect people to be as picky as us, taking kit out with them, finding a kitchen table to borrow once the chalet team has left, and waxing away trying not to drip wax everywhere, but there are a couple of things you can use to help you:
Zardoz Base Boost - Add a layer of glide to your bases
Take a Rub On Wax Kit and Waxing Brush away with you
And if you can make just a little more room in your ski or snowboard bag, we strongly recommend putting an all round nylon waxing brush in there too, to work alongside your rub on wax. Rub this down the skis or snowboard in straight lines from tip to tail after applying rub on wax, and it will add further structure to your bases to break the structure up for better glide, and polish your base to reduce friction. And if you do decide in the future to be like us and take an iron and basic kit with you, a decent waxing brush will be essential.
SUMMARY - You don't need to spend a fortune or get your skis rewaxed at a shop you don't know in order to get a full week of performance from your skis or snowboard.
We hope these handy tips are helpful to anyone who has been lucky enough to receive some shiny new skis or a snowboard this Christmas!
- Scott Hargrave