How To Service Your Own Skis or SnowboardLook after your gear and it will look after you!

Katie Blundell

3 months ago in News

If you have been having lots of fun on your skis or snowboard, chances are it’s probably due a service. Lots of places take the stress out of this and do it for you. However, if you can learn to do it yourself, you will save a tonne of money. It’s not too difficult, can be fun and also makes you feel like a pro athlete. If you have well-serviced equipment, it will give you a smoother, more enjoyable and safer ride on the mountain. It also protects your snowboard and increases its longevity.

When Are You Due A Service?

It’s a good idea just to keep a general eye on your skis and snowboard. I always check mine over at the end of each day to look for any wear and tear. If your base is looking a little white in areas, and your edges are feeling “burred” (run your nail up and down to check), it might be time. Ask yourself some questions: how is your snowboard performing on the snow? Is it running slowly? Are the edges not gripping as well? How is it performing in general? If your equipment has been in storage for a while, it’s a good idea to give it a service before you ride again. Or if you have been hammering it all day every day, it will could be due some love. To give you a gage, when I was doing seasons I used to wax my board maybe once a week and edges maybe once a month.

What You Will Need To Service Your Snowboard

  • Screw driver
  • Base cleaner
  • Cloth
  • Specialist Waxing Iron
  • Wax
  • Edge sharpener
  • Nylon brush/ buffer
  • A scraper

(You can buy kits which include all of this and some instructions too!)

How To Do It

Remove Bindings: It’s advisable to take your bindings off before you service your board. It will be easier to work with a nice flat surface. Also, the screws can create tiny divots in the base that when heated can cause problems.

Sharpen Edges: You need to decide what angle you want your edges and set your edging tool accordingly. For beginners and hard core piste carvers/ riders, 90’ is best. For rail riders and more advanced, 87-89’ is best. The more angle, the more bite and grip. Use your edge tool to drag/stoke/ brush in one direction along the “concave” area of your snowboard, basically along the straight edges of the side of the board. No need for around the nose and tail as they wont be touching the snow anyway. Keep doing this until you are happy with the result. Test the edges by running your finger nail along it and looking for a white mark left behind. Also don’t forget to “de-tune” your razor sharp edges if you are buying a snowboard from new.

Clean The Base: Before you wax your snowboard, it’s a good idea to clean the base. You will still have some of the old wax on there and some dirt from general riding around. The cleaner the base is, the better the wax will take to it. Use a brash brush to remove the main bits, then a cloth and some base cleaner to get the rest. Leave it to dry for at least 20 mins before waxing.

Waxing: Take your block of wax and hold it against the iron so it melts and drips onto the snowboard. Then use the iron to evenly spread it all over the board Everyone has a different “method” of doing this. I used to drip the wax all around the edges first and then down the middle, then use circular motions with my iron to spread it around. As long as you have a thin coating (don’t go crazy as it takes ages to scrape off) all over the base, then its fine! Just remember not to stay still with the iron in one spot for too long as the heat will damage the base. Leave it to cool for at least 30 mins before scraping.

Scraping: This is the most strenuous part! You need to find a good spot to prop your snowboard up or lay it down, whatever you find easiest. Then you need to use your scraper at a 45’ angle with a medium- to firm pressure to scrape off the. This can be weirdly satisfying! You need to do this until all the visible wax has gone and it looks even over the base. Don’t forget to scrape the wax off your edges too as they won’t grip with it on.

Buffing: Polish your base with a scourer/ nylon brush. Use firm strokes from nose to tail. This will create tiny little groves in the wax making it less slippy when you first go out. It also gets off all the excess wax and gives it the finishing touch.

Different Waxes And Different Bases

When you first buy your snowboard, you will have something called a “Factory Wax” on it. This will just be a basic wax given to all snowboards when they are made in the factory. It will only last a couple of days so remember you will need a wax quite early on even if you have bought it from new.
Consider what type of wax you need. There are different waxes for different temperatures/ conditions. If you are mid-season in the interior in Canada, you will need a cold weather wax. If you are spring riding in California, you will need a warm weather wax. You can also buy an “all weather wax”… one wax that does everything. You can also buy more specialist wax, for example; graphite wax in super slushy conditions, soy wax for eco-friendly, and wax with high-fluoro content for going REALLY fast. Also, a handy rub on wax that you can keep in your pocket for touch ups.
There are 2 types of bases on snowboards, this will affect the wax. An extruded base is cheaper and easier to repair, but doesn’t hold wax as well, and is slower. A sintered base is faster, but you will have to wax it more often to maintain its speed. If you don’t like waxing your snowboard, an extruded base will be better as you don’t have to wax it as much.

Repairs, Warranties And Write-Offs

Sometimes, try as you might, you may not be able to salvage your board. If you have any gauges, de-lams, snaps etc its best to take it to a professional. Most of the time they are pretty amazing and can repair things in their magic workshops. But if a snowboard is beyond their help, it might be time to say goodbye. It’s definitely worth checking if you can get a “warranty” though. This is when the fault is not with you (being super gnarly and trashing your snowboard) but a fault with the company on the manufacturing of the snowboard. If this is the case, they will send you a brand new one for freeeeeeeeeeee (fingers crossed). You can normally do this through the shop you have bought your snowboard or direct with the company.

Now you are freshly waxed, edged and serviced you are ready to hit the slopes. Snowboard MOTs are the best.