No matter what level of skier or rider you are, or what type of skis or board you ride, everyone needs wax. From ski racers to noobs lapping the bunny slope, wax is the common thread connecting all manner of winter alpine snow sliders. Unless you are in the racing community, the type of wax that you use is often overlooked — but it shouldn’t be. You can buy a $1,600 snowboard and expect to be the fastest man on the mountain (assuming a certain level of skill and courage) but without the right wax, you might as well be riding an original Snurfer.
Best All-Temp Ski WaxToko All-in-One Hot Wax TOKO Read More
Best Warm Weather Race WaxSwix HF10BW Swix Read More
Best Cold-Weather Race WaxSwix HF4 Read More
Best All-Temp Snowboard WaxDakine Nitrous All Temp Wax - Large Read More
Best Cold-Weather Snowboard WaxOneball X-Wax Cold Read More
Why Do I Need to Wax My Skis/Snowboard?
Similar to your skin, the surface of a snowboard or skis is made up of tons of tiny pores, and just like your skin after a day of shredding, it needs to be rehydrated to perform at its best (and maintain its structure). Waxing your equipment keeps it from drying up; a thirsty board will become less agile and more brittle, which lowers both performance and the overall life of your skis or snowboard.
How Often Should I Wax My Skis or Snowboard?
Generally speaking, it's wise to wax your snowboard every 3-4 days of riding. If you're going on a two-week trip and plan to ride every day, you should factor in three waxings of your board. The same can be said for skis: frequent skiers shouldn't go more than 3-5 days between waxes in order to get the best performance from their equipment.
Our top picks in waxes will help keep your skis and boards operating at peak performance and increase their longevity.
Toko All-in-One Hot Wax
When it comes to ski waxes, most reach for an all-temp wax — and not all are created equal. Toko’s non-flouro all-in-one wax works well in snow conditions from 50 degrees Fahrenheit down to negative 20. As an added bonus, it is also Bluesign approved and biodegradable. While all-temp waxes won’t get you to the bottom fastest, they will keep your base from drying out and make sure that you’re sliding quickly and smoothly in all temperatures.
The biggest name in race wax is Swix and their HF10BW is the best of their warm-weather offerings. While it can be used as a base for powders such as FC10X, when used alone it protects your base on warm, manmade contaminated snow. (Often, manmade snow has oils in it that can clog the pores of your base and slow you down.) Swix’s HF10BW protects against that and also has a high-flouro content and a hard compound to get you sliding smoothly across boxes and rails. It’s good in temperatures ranging from 32 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the temps drop and you are lined up in the gatehouse, you best have your skis waxed with Swix’s HF4. The Norwegian company’s best cold-weather race wax is intended for temperatures ranging from 10 down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. HF4 also features a new nanotechnology developed specifically for snow with dry friction conditions that are frequently experienced in the Rockies and Wasatch mountain ranges.
Dakine Indy Hot Wax
Dakine produces a host of great snowboard tools and waxing accessories, but they also produce great all-temp wax. Their Indy Hot Wax is a favorite of ours for days when the temperature is going to change dramatically, especially during the shoulder seasons on the East Coast. It comes at an affordable price point and is also a great wax to throw on your board before putting it away for the season.
Oneball X-Wax Cold
Waxing for cold temperatures can be a hassle and most people don’t bother going through the necessary process. Oneball makes it easy with their X-Wax Cold. The package comes with two bars, a rub-on graphite and a hot wax. First rub on the smaller graphite bar, then hot wax like usual. According to Oneball Jay’s website, “The X-Wax series is the fastest offering from Oneball. Because second still sucks!"
Holmenkol Natural Ski-Wax Paste
For those who don’t have access to the tools or space needed to hot wax a board, paste waxes are an adequate stand-in. While they don’t last nearly as long as a hot wax, they still provide base protection and speed. German company Holmenkol is lesser known in the US, but is popular in Europe and makes an excellent paste wax.
Swix FX Rub-on Wax
Like paste wax, rub-on wax is a quick and easy alternative to hot waxing. If you are a first-chair, last-call type of person, you will likely need a couple of applications throughout the day. Thankfully though, rub-on wax bars are easy to toss in your pocket as is a polishing cork (recommended) for easy re-upping in-between runs.
Hertel Super HotSauce
The cult favorite that is Hertel Super HotSauce all temperature wax was born in 1973, and since its inception, it's been a staple in skiing and snowboarding. According to the brand, one ounce of its biodegradable wax will last three days on the slopes, giving credence to the adage "a little goes a long way". The secret to Super HotSauce's success is its "micro-encapsulation formula with patented surfactants" which create a create a surface of water, created by the friction between your board and the snow. It works work in all temperatures and weather conditions, and one bar will last you about 40 days of riding.
Beaver Wax All Temp Spray-On Wax
Liquid spray-on waxes are fairly new to the game and offer a welcome alternative to rub-ons and pastes. Beaver Wax's spray-on wax is PFC-free, and can be used on wet or dry surfaces. It's easier (and quicker) to use than solid waxes, but if you'd like to use both, it can be combined with other Beaver Wax products. The two-ounce bottle can easily be carried in a pocket for easy application between runs.