Updated July 2nd, 2023
Getting new skis is one of the happiest days for any skier. There is nothing like picking up a new set of skis and heading to the slopes. Do you need to wax new skis before skiing on them the first time?
Do they come waxed from the factory? Will you hurt them by not waxing them? Are the edges sharpened or do they need a full tune before you ski them the first time?
The quick answer is that you should get your skis waxed before using them. They do come with wax and tune from the factory so you won’t hurt them by skiing on them right away.
Do You Need To Wax New Skis?
All new skis are waxed and tuned at the factory before being shipped. The main purpose of this wax is to protect the ski bases during shipping. This wax is the cheapest wax the ski manufacturer could find and they apply it as quickly and cheaply as possible.
The wax seals the base of the skis and keeps water from getting into the core. Many skis have wood cores and wood doesn’t like water. The wax also provides a slippery surface to glide over the snow. Wax protects your skis and makes them perform better.
Some manufacturers put more care into their factory wax than others. If you read skiing forums or Reddit you will see a thousand answers for which skis come waxed good and which don’t. For every post saying one manufacturer is good, there is another who said the opposite.
The best thing to do is either have your skis waxed at a ski shop or wax your skis yourself (it’s easy). This way you will have fresh wax that is correct for your snow conditions.
You can’t overdo ski waxing. There is no such thing as getting too much wax into your bases.
How do you wax brand new skis?
The easiest way to wax new skis is take them to a ski shop. The next easiest way is to wax them yourself. When you buy new skis they either need bindings mounted or have bindings already. In both cases the skis need to go to the ski shop to have the bindings properly adjusted to your boots by a certified technician.
Since your skis are already at the shop, ask them to throw on some wax. Most skis shops that are at all reputable will ask if you want your new skis waxed when they set up the bindings.
If you want to wax skis yourself, it’s easy. The essentials are an iron (a clothes iron without steam works), a scraper, some rubber bands, and wax. Swix makes really good wax and tools for ski tuning. The below video gives a quick lesson on how to wax skis. They mention using a specific waxing iron. It can be done with a clothes iron. I waxed skis with one for years growing up. As long as the temperature can be adjusted low and there aren’t a ton of steam holes on the iron you are good.
☆ Recommended Gear
- WAXING IRON – 110V/800W iron with adjustable temperature and thick metal sole. The adjustable temperature range is 100℃/ 212℉ to 170℃/338℉.
- CLEANING AND WAXING TOOLS – We have a complete waxing kit, including cleaning tools, which include sandpaper (for polishing the edge), fibertex pad, metal scraper, wax scraper (230mm/9.06inch length), and Nylon/Brass/Horsehair Brushes.
- UNIVERSAL WAX – Includes all temperature wax that is simple and efficient to use.
- SHARPEN EDGES AND BASE REPAIRS – 7cm and 20cm files for edge sharpening and detuning and a Side Edge Sharpener which can be set at 86°, 87°, 88°, or 89°
- STORAGE BAG, APRON, AND ACCESSORIES – Includes a handy storage bag that can store all the tools and an apron. As a bonus, there are 2 ski brake retainer bands and a set of snowboard binding screws.
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Do you need to tune new skis?
Skis are sharpened at the factory as part of the assembly process. The edges will have a basic tune on them. Many advanced skiers and racers prefer some bevel and shape to their edges. They will tune new skis before skiing them. As a beginner to intermediate skier, you won’t notice the difference if your edges have a bevel or not. If you have to ask whether new skis need their edges sharpened than the answer is no.
How to tell if skis need wax?
Skis need to be waxed when the base dries out and has no wax in it anymore. You will see areas of white chalky appearance in the base where it has no wax. These areas form along the edges and spread into the middle. When there is no wax your ski bottoms will feel rough and dry. When they have wax they will feel smooth and slick. You might notice that your skis also start sticking to the snow when they need to be waxed.
There is no overdoing wax on your skis. There is no such thing as waxing them too much. Not enough wax can damage them when water gets into the wood cores. When in doubt, add more wax. You’ll never be wrong.
How often should I wax my skis?
There is a giant range of opinions on this. Some people say you should wax your skis after every 6 to 8 hours of skiing. That is 1 long ski day. Most people do not wax skis that often. Every 5 to 10 ski days during the winter is a good interval.
Many people get a wax and tune at the start of the season and don’t touch their skis for the rest of the winter. If your someone who only skis a few days a winter that can be enough.
Once you get to spring skiing where sap and other junk start floating up in the melting snow you need to wax more often. If you ski somewhere with high junk content in the snow you might need to scrape and wax after every session. If the snow is cleaner with less tree sap then you can do it every few ski days. Look at your skis at the end of the day and see if there is sap or other residue building up on the bottom.
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Co-Founder & Chief Editor
I grew up back east in Pennsylvania and learned to ski on a family trip to Killington, Vermont when I was 6. I immediately fell in love with the mountains and outdoors and have been skiing across the US and Canada ever since. I went to school for Mechanical Engineering, and have a Master’s Degree in Material Science and Reliability.
I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible.