How you store your skis when the season ends makes all the difference in how well they perform next year, and how long they last in general. Putting storage wax on your skis before storing them for the summer is critical, and it’s a simple process that can be done at home in just a few minutes if you have a basic wax station.
What You Need:
- Base conditioning or all-temperature wax
- Waxing iron
- Sturdy rubber bands
- Plastic scraper
- Nylon brush
- Cloth or old rag
Why Do Skis Need Storage Wax?
The goal of storage wax is to limit contact between your skis' bases and oxygen. Polyethylene—what your bases are made of—is susceptible to oxidation over long periods of oxygen exposure. And so while one summer without storage wax isn’t going to ruin your skis, it will start a slow process of base-degradation. If you were to look closely at a pair of improperly stored skis, you would see what look like tiny hairs as the polyethylene starts to breakdown or “peel," and the telltale chalky appearance of dried-out bases. If this process is too far along, your skis will need a fresh base grind before ever fully accepting wax again.
While the skis below are suffering from far more issues than a little oxidation, they are a good, albeit exaggerated, example of the chalky appearance of dried-out bases:
The Steps to Proper Storage Waxing
In the name of preventing any pair of skis from ever looking this neglected, here are our steps to storage waxing skis:
- Decide If You Need a Tune
If your skis are in really rough shape at the end of the season, it’s a good idea to have them tuned before applying storage wax. A fresh stone grind ensures that the bases of your skis will accept, or “soak-in” the wax. Not to mention, it’s nice to be able to scrape-and-go at the start of next season. If your skis are in decent shape, and you want to save the tune until next year’s pre-season conditions improve, then you can get started on storage waxing.
- Dry Your Skis Thoroughly
Use an old rag to thoroughly dry your ski’s bases, edges, and all of the nooks and crannies of the bindings.
- Turn Down Your DIN’s
The toe and heel pieces of your bindings use heavy duty internal springs to ensure proper retention of your ski boot, while still releasing in the event of a fall. These springs are set, or compressed, based on Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) standards. In order to ensure that the springs in your bindings stay true to the numerical indicators on your DIN windows, it is a good idea to back them out to the lowest setting before storage. To do this, find the DIN screws on both toe and heel pieces—usually located on the front of the toe piece, and the rear of the heel piece—and turn them counterclockwise. In some instances, especially with Marker bindings from the Royal line, the toe piece DIN screw will be located on the side.
To make sure you don’t start next season with an unexpected and ill-timed pre-release, cover your DIN indicators with pieces of tape reminding yourself to turn them back up to their original settings.
- Clean your bases
Before you begin the following steps, you’ll want to use heavy-duty rubber bands to get the brakes of your bindings out of the way. Loop the rubber band up and over the heel piece and make sure it’s securely in place.
Next, you’ll want to remove as much old wax as possible by gently scraping your skis using a plastic scraper. This gets rid of any unwanted wax build-up, especially on the tip and tail of your skis, while smoothing down hairs that may have developed on your bases from contact with rough late-season snow. Then, use a nylon brush to pull any leftover wax out of the structure of your skis. Make a few passes tip-to-tail to make sure you get as much of the old wax out as you can.
- Apply Storage Wax
Now that your bases are clean, you’re ready to wax. For this, the options are widespread. In our tune shop, Rennstall, we like to use Dominator Renew Graphite for black bases and Dominator Renew Purple for clear or colored bases. That being said, both Toko Non Fluoro and Swix BP88 base prep waxes are great options as well. In order to prevent base burn during the ironing process, we recommend rubbing a layer of wax onto the base first. Crayon the wax into a smooth haze along the full length of the ski.
Using a clean waxing iron, drip the wax you’ve selected onto the bases. You’ll want to make sure that you double check the recommended iron-temperature for your wax, and set your iron accordingly. Since your bases will absorb quite a bit of the wax over the course of the summer, don’t be afraid to be liberal with the application.
Once you’ve dripped on your wax, you’ll use your iron to make 3-4 slow passes from tip-to-tail, melting the wax as evenly as possible. Keep the iron moving at all times—moving too fast prevents even distribution of the wax and limits absorption, while moving too slowly can burn your bases. A good indicator for the right iron speed is to keep a 3-4 inch trail of wet wax behind your iron.
After ironing, take a step back to let the wax cool and fully solidify, while making sure that you covered the entirety of both bases.
- Store Your Skis
Choosing a good place to store your skis is the last, but most important, part of the process. Overly hot and dry conditions can damage any plastic found on your bindings or topsheet, while conditions that are too cool and damp will rust the metal of your edges and binding-internals. A good rule-of-thumb is to store your skis in a place that you wouldn’t mind spending the whole summer. Basically, basements, attics, and garages are risky. The closet in a temperature-controlled house is ideal.
Not a DIY Storage Waxer?
If you don’t have access to ski wax and an iron, don’t let that keep you from properly prepping your skis for summer storage. Bring them to a reputable tune shop—having your skis storage waxed is a quick and inexpensive process. And remember, if you’re in Park City, UT, bring your skis to Rennstall to make sure that they get the proper treatment.
Nate Tomlinson, Senior Content Writer
*Post was updated on March 10, 2020