Understanding ski wax can seem overwhelming at first when you are new to skiing or to maintaining your own skis. There are several different types of wax along with different times and places to use each type.
Why Wax Skis?
Ski wax will help your ski stick or glide to along the snow, according to the weather condition.
Where Do I Put Wax On My Skis?
The area of the ski directly under your feet and extending about 4-6 inches in front and in back is the kick zone. On waxable skis, this area will need a wax that will help keep snow from sticking to the ski while encouraging a proper push. If you have no-wax skis, there will be a pattern in the bottom that functions in place of the kick wax.
All skis, unless you are using skins, will need glide wax. This goes on the areas on the bottom of the ski that are outside the kick zone.
Professional athletes and other serious skiiers will want to scrape and reapply their ski wax every time they go out. Some skiiers wax their skis only once a season. Many skiiers will reapply wax after every 5-6 times they ski, unless weather conditions have changed significantly. This last option will be adequate for most skiiers. You will notice a difference in your skis performance after you get to understand waxing skis that will let you know how often you should wax your skis for your level and seriousness of skiing.
What Kind of Wax?
There are many different types of wax available. Glide wax will help you go fast, and goes in the glide zone.
Kick wax comes in a variety of colors and formulas. Many years ago, the ski wax company Swix decided to color code their waxes according to the weather and snow conditions that each formula worked best for. Most ski wax companies use the same color guide. Cool colors are for cooler temperatures, and warm colors are for warmer temperatures.
The most common kick waxes are Klister, red, blue and green. In general, Klister wax is used for the warmest temperatures when snow is about to melt. Red wax comes in at slightly cooler temperatures, from about 25 degrees F to 2 degrees F. Blue is best for about 18 degrees F to -22. Green is a very hard wax for any temperature cooler than -22 degrees F.
There are other colors available for temperatures in between those listed above. For example, purple is for temperatures in between red and blue.
Many ski wax companies now have wizards available on their websites to help you find the best ski wax for your weather conditions. Your local outdoor shop should also be able to let you know what the best waxes are for your area. If you happen to be one of the once-a-season waxers, finding out the most used wax in your area is the best way to go.