FOR PERFECT TURNS: SKI CARE TIPS FROM STÖCKLI

The right ski care is a key element on the must-do schedule of every skier. If you are waxing your skis and prepping their edges regularly, you will always have good control, the highest safety and of course, last but not least, the speed you need to conquer a mountain.

Find out here how waxing with hot wax is done, and how you can maintain sharp edges. Then discover a few tips and tricks when it comes to ski care, so you’ll be able to dance down the slope with perfect turns for a long time.

I WOULD LIKE TO WAX MY SKIS AT HOME. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO THAT?

The basic requirement for waxing is a dry room that has enough space for you and your skis. Of course, you also need good product, too. Indeed, that’s not as easy as it sounds since there are innumerable different waxing products and types. Novices in particular are faced with the question: “What equipment do I really need?” We will help you get a grasp and find your way through the maze of wax.

In order to have a good basic setup, we recommend the following products: 1. ski vise and table, 2. wax, 3. an iron, 4. wax scraper, 5. steel and bronze brushes

WHAT IRON DO I USE? DOES MY GRANDMA’S IRON WORK?

If the iron is not used anymore for clothes, then it is totally possible to fetch an old iron from the closet or to use your grandma’s. Pay attention, however, that it is not a steam iron and that you can adjust the iron’s heat settings.

Since there are indeed special waxing irons, we recommend you get your hands on one of those. Then you will always have a consistent temperature, the ability to monitor the temperature on the display, and you can adjust the temperature accordingly. This is vital since not every wax requires the same temperature.

WAXING WITH HOT WAX: HOW DOES THAT WORK?

STEP 1: PREPPING YOUR SKIS

Before you start to wax, it is important you have cleaned and dried your skis. Best to dry the base with a microfiber cloth and take care that there is not any more snow clinging to the binding. Then remove old wax from the base with a wax remover and ensure any dirt or debris has been completed wiped off, too. Best is to have whipped your edges into shape with a diamond stone before waxing (read more about this in the answer to the question: TUNING EDGES, HOW DOES THAT WORK?)

ski stopper rubber band

We suggest you mask off the binding area with painter’s tape. Plus, we suggest you lock into place the ski stoppers with stopper rubber bands so they do not get in the way during waxing and you can work cleanly with the iron.

When you have taken care of all of this, secure the ski on a table with a vise. Pay attention that you just lay the ski in it and don’t tension the ski in any way. In this way, you will prevent the ski from losing its camber in the vise.

 

STEP 2: WAXING YOUR SKIS

Set the iron’s temperature and wait until it has reached the correct temperature. The hardness of the wax determines the iron’s temperature. The harder the wax, the hotter the iron’s setting should be. For most wax, the temperature for the iron is on the packaging. The rule of thumb though is between 100° and 130°C. 

ski hot waxing

Then apply the wax to the ski with the iron. Do this by holding the block of wax on the iron and letting the wax drip onto the ski. Take care that the drops of wax are distributed across the middle. Then iron on the wax with a smooth, gliding movement. The warming opens pores, and the wax is drawn into the ski. 

The iron should never be allowed to get too hot and should not remain on one spot too long. That could risk damage to the base.

Tip: Always iron in just one direction – away from the ski tip. Clean the iron after use.

 

SCHRITT 3: LETTING IT REST

Once you have applied the wax, you need to give it enough time to be drawn into the pores. Ideal is to let your skis sit overnight and then remove excess wax the next day. If you don’t have time for that, we recommend you let the skis sit for at least an hour. This should be in a dry room without big temperature fluctuations.

 

SCHRITT 4: SCRAPING AND BRUSHING

remove ski wax

After letting the wax do its job, you can then remove the wax with a wax scraper in the direction of movement (i.e. away from the tip). With this, it is essential that you remove the wax one layer at a time and that you remove any wax remains from the edges. After that, you can begin to brush the wax. In doing this, you remove the all the bits of wax from the ski, and you bring out the structure of the base.

brush ski wax

Tip: There are various brushes that differentiate themselves by their degrees of hardness.  To be sure you are sufficiently equipped, we recommend two brushes: One stiffer and one softer. First, you should remove larger residue with the stiffer brush and then you should work it with the finer brush.

WHEN DO I USE WHICH SKI WAX?

The choice of ski wax is dependent on the temperatures. These are the basic guidelines. Tip: Snow temperature is always colder than air temperature. Thus, always calculate a few degrees lower than the current air temperature. Mixing different waxes is OK, and perhaps even necessary depending on temperatures.

WHY ISN’T AN EXPRESS WAX SUFFICIENT?

In contrast to hot wax that needs time to move into the ski base’s pores, express wax is simply applied to the surface. That is in fact done quickly and easily but has the disadvantage that it does not hold up very long.

A good mix of both wax types is critical here. If you would like to get your ski solidly into shape and give it the right care so you are up among the fast skiers again, then select hot wax. If your ski is basically still in good shape but just needs a little pick-up, then choose the express wax.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I WAX MY SKIS?

Of course, this question depends on how many days over the winter you are out on your skis. It depends, too, where you ski and how hard the slopes are. Artificial snow, hardpack, and salt are more damaging to your base and your edges, which is why in those cases good care is indispensable. The more the ski is waxed, the better condition it will be in. In racing, skis are waxed after every use.

If you begin to notice the base looks a little gray and seems brittle, it is then high time to wax your skis. These signs usually come along with poor gliding characteristics on the snow and slopes. The pleasure in carving slowly wanes and your ski lift pass literally falls into disuse.

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WAX FOR ALPINE AND NORDIC SKIS?

Essentially, you can use the same wax products for your Nordic skis as you do for your Alpine skis. The process is also the same. Because in Nordic skiing however you normally cover more distance and thus have more friction on the base, we recommend you use a colder wax.

WAX OR NOT. HOW OFTEN SHOULD I TAKE IN MY SKIS FOR SERVICE?

Skis are like cars: You yourself can only do so much – it still has to go in for service, too. Logically, consider the following: The more often you ski, the more often service is advised. Service at least once a year is an absolute must for every ski – either at the start of the season or the end. Two or three times each season is however recommended.

TUNING EDGES. HOW DOES THAT WORK?

Tuning edges is an art in itself. We advise that you let the pros take care of this when you take your skis in for service. Because then your edges will not only be well tuned, but also uneven places such as scratches or mars from impacts will be fixed.

Since edges are primarily dulled by hardpack or artificial snow, you can help prevent this starting at home. To this end, we recommend a diamond stone.

ski edges diamond stone

This is how it works: Put your ski in the vise with the base up. Use a diamond stone (200, 400 or 600) to file the edge from the base side with the base bevel angle (0.5° or 0.7°). Moisten the diamond stone lightly with water and file at a 45° angle (base/bevel angle) to the edge. Position the ski (sidewalls and edges up) and secure it in the vise. Free the edge with a sidewall plane. Affix the diamond stone at an angle (88°/87° Grad). Moisten the diamond stone and sharpen the sidewalls. Take care that the edge is always lying smoothly on the ski. After sharpening, clean edges and base with a cloth.

HOW TO I PREPARE MY SKIS FOR THE SUMMER BREAK?

Before you put away your skis for their well-earned break, it’s important that you clean them thoroughly. That means: Remove all dirt and debris and old wax with a wax remover, and be certain that your skis are completely dried with a microfiber cloth. Moisture is poison for edges.

Ski waxing

Once you have taken care of this, you can apply wax to your skis and work it in with an iron.

Tip: Do not store your skis for the summer without wax. A waxed ski offers the following benefits:

  • Protection (For example, from dust)
  • Base won’t dry out
  • Prior to next season, all you have to do is remove the wax and you’re ready to hit the slopes

HOW DO I OVER-SUMMER MY SKIS CORRECTLY?

Along with pre-waxing, take to heart the following tips for summer storage:

  • Store your skis dry, clean and at a consistent temperature (for example, in the basement)
  • Attach the ski straps front and back and make sure edges are directly on top of each other.

AM I READY FOR THE COMING SEASON? CHECKLIST!

  • Are my edges intact?
  • Is my base in good shape?
  • Were my skis serviced?
  • Are my binding settings still correct?
  • Do I have my ski bag for transport?
  • Do I have helmet, ski goggles, ski poles, ski apparel and boots?
  • Do I have enough care products and equipment for my skis?
  • Are my ski boots still in good shape (no pressure points)?