If you’ve ever seen the somewhat historic and surely cult-followed film “The Karate Kid” then you no doubt remember Daniel and his karate master, Mr. Miyagi. The one thing in this film that made Daniel become the karate kid was the wax on, wax off method taught by Mr. Miyagi. With this skill, Daniel could potentially block any kick or punch thrown at him. Waxing on and waxing off your skis will do the same for you. When you correctly put wax on the ski (and take the old wax off), you essentially give yourself an edge to ski better. Even if you’re the master like Mr. Miyagi, or the student like Daniel, properly waxing your skis will allow you to try more while on the slopes. Here’s how to wax on, wax off.
Mr. Miyagi’s Warm Up
If you’re out on the slopes and you know that you’re skis could use some wax, you can’t just come in and start applying. One of the most important and often forgotten steps to waxing your skis is to let the skis become warm, at least to room temperature. If you’ve just came in out of the cold, then wipe off the water, snow and ice; they’ll warm up much more quickly.
Mr. Miyagi’s Wax Off
Now it’s time for the wax off before the wax on. You’ll want to use some sort of base cleaner to remove any old and gross substances stuck to your skis - namely dirt, mud, pebbles and especially old wax.
When you apply the base cleaner, it will shine at first and then air dry. Make sure you cover the entire base of the ski so that it is moist but not dripping. You can use an old cloth, piece of clothing or even a paper towel - the kind in public bathrooms works pretty darn well. Again, let the skis air dry once you apply a nice layer of the base cleaner.
Mr. Miyagi’s Ironing On
If you’re letting your skis warm up and enjoying a cup o’ Joe, be sure to have an iron heating up - the kind easily found in the hotel, apartment or chalet’s closet will work. It’s better if the iron doesn’t have those tiny side holes on the base, however. The precise temperature is what you’ll be looking for. You can put a small piece of wax on the iron to test it. You don’t want the iron to be too hot. Keep turning it down until the wax melts but slightly solidifies. If the iron is too hot, it could damage your skis.
Mr. Miyagi’s Wax On
The moment you’ve been waiting for - wax on time! OK, I do realize it’s not that exciting. Get your skiing wax out of the package, box or wherever else you keep it and apply it up and down the base of the ski. Some people do it in sections but I just do it all at once. Here’s where the iron comes in: Iron the wax down till it forms a smooth, thin layer (thick is not better contrary to intuition; if you must go faster, go down steeper slopes). Then, iron the skis in the same way you’d iron the legs of your pants, following the grains and textures of the material. This will work the wax into places where it is most needed. If you notice any dry spots where the base is showing, you’ll need to add more wax to those areas. The base will absorb it until it needs no more wax. Allow the wax to cool and be sure to do both skis.
Mr. Miyagi’s Final Preparations
Make sure the wax on the skis is sufficiently cooled down enough before doing this next step. Try to test the temperature with a place that doesn’t have lot of oily skin secretions - like your fingers. Now, you’ll need to wax off the excess wax that is on your skis with a snow scraper, an old credit card or something flat, strong and plastic like.
You’ll want to go down the ski one to four times to remove the excess. What you don’t get off, however, will easily be taken off with the friction of the snow. After this, use a polisher (like for waxing your car or a nylon pad) and wipe up and down your skis a couple times. The wax should look even and smooth, polished for the snow. Often, people use a stiff brush and wipe up and down lightly two or three times to remove any other leftover particles. Your skis should be again ready for the slopes. Like Daniel in Karate Kid, you’ll find that waxing on, waxing off your skis will give you the edge to conquer any punches the slopes can throw at you.