Ski Vacation Hack: How to tune and wax your own skis

Winter outdoors enthusiasts gearing up for ski and snowboard season know how expensive snow sports can be, and how important it is to take care of skiing equipment. But if you don’t have $40 to $50 to spend on every professional tuning and waxing session, you can easily do it yourself! This is one of our favorite ski vacation hack ideas! For about the same one-time investment, skiers and snowboarders can tune and wax their own gear all season long.

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What You’ll Need

The items below can be picked up individually (some you’ll already have on hand at home) or bought in a ski and snowboard tuning kit.

  • Wax: pick up a stick of all-purpose (all-weather) wax at your local ski shop or outdoor store.
  • Iron: use an old iron at home, or buy a ski-tuning iron.
  • Means of securing skis or board: most tuners use a wooden table and vise, but any workbench will do, and a two-person team can hold skis securely without a vise.
  • Metal scraper: found in ski shops, a metal scraper is for scraping P-Tex only.
  • Plastic scraper: any plastic scraper with an edge will do! Pick one up for just a few dollars at any ski shop.
  • File and file guide: a metal file specifically made for edging skis and boards can be found in ski shops or outdoor stores; pair it with a file guide.
  • Edge tool (alternative or in addition to the file): included in most ski-tuning kits, edge tools make finding the correct file angle easy.
  • Brush and cloth: a soft brush is important for wiping away wax shavings, and a damp cloth will remove dirt and dust from bases.
  • Stone: ski stones are useful for removing rust from edges.
  • P-Tex: a must for filling deep scrapes or gouges in ski and snowboard bases, found at ski shops and in tuning kits.
  • Lighter or matches: for lighting your P-Tex.


Once you have the necessary tools assembled, it’s time to get started! To prepare your skis or board for tuning and waxing, it’s important to prep the bases. Start by securing your ski brakes, so they’re out of the way. Simply pull them back with a large rubber band. Next, wipe down the bases with your damp cloth. You’ll want to remove any dirt, dust, or grime that may remain from last season or from “summering” in your garage. Finally, remove any rust from your edges using your stone. Hold the stone horizontally (like a harmonica) and pass it across the edges at a 90-degree angle, working from tip to tail. Prep both bases before moving on.

Base Repair

Now that your base is prepped, it’s time to fix any major scrapes or gouges. Light the end of your stick of P-Tex with a match or lighter, then touch the lighted end to the scrape, allowing the melted P-Tex to fill it. Be careful not to drip the P-Tex in from a height, as this will burn the base. Once the scrape is filled, remove the P-Tex stick and blow it out gently. Let the base cool for approximately 10 minutes, then scrape away any excess P-Tex with your metal scraper until the base is smooth. You’ll want to hold your scraper horizontally, with your thumbs behind it. Push the scraper along the gouge until the P-Tex is flat and smooth. Alternatively, you can pull the scraper toward you, “cutting” the P-Tex until smooth. Repeat for both ski bases, as needed.

See the rest at our article, or follow the illustration below:


Photo source: Smuggler’s Notch, VT