10 Tips for Spring Backcountry Skiing #5, Ski Wax

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | March 17, 2005      

There is nothing that can improve your backcountry skiing day more than copious and frequent use of ski wax. At home, hot-wax and scrape your skis as frequently as possible if you’re skiing lots of abrasive corn snow. In the field, after your skins are on, wax them by rubbing a block of wax in the direction of the fur nap. Waxed skins glide better and pick up less gunk during icing conditions while backcountry skiing.

While waxing skins, hit any exposed Ptex and give your edges and sidewalls a hit as well to prevent icing if temperatures vary. Rub wax on the top of your skis or board to prevent icing, especially under the binding area. Bonus tip: Alpine wax is expensive, for budget backcountry skiing wax buy paraffin at the hardware store and use a chunk of it for your field wax (it works fine in warmer temperatures). At home, to save money mix paraffin with alpine wax while hot waxing, (only do this for use with warmer snow conditions — it’ll make your skis feel like velcro if you try it for cold powder).

If you ski wet springtime snow fairly frequently, a “structured” ski base may help your skis slide. Nonetheless, we’re not huge fans of base structure and prefer a light (or no) structure that’s filled and polished with wax. In our experience, heavy structures tend to pick up sticky snow when you’re not moving; situations such as standing still during a run to suss out the route or wait for partners.

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