Manufacturer’s build top quality & performance into their equipment for you to enjoy. Maintaining your equipment properly will assure your continued pleasure with your equipment.


Maintaining your skis or snowboards is simple. Proper tuning ensures easy turning and control for the beginner to intermediate and more control and performance for the expert. Your tuning efforts will assure you of all the performance and enjoyment your equipment has to offer.


It’s one of the easiest things you can do to keep your equipment performing like new. Before you start, you’ll need some basic tuning equipment.

Basic tuning equipment should contain:

A ski/snowboard Mill bastard 8″ or 10″ file (Do not use a file from a hardware store. Your edges are made of much harder steel than these files.)

  • File cleaner
  • Steel scraper
  • Plastic scraper (heavy duty)
  • Base repair candle, black or white to match bases
  • Base wax
  • Base cleaner
  • A deburring stone or pad

If you get more involved, invest in a vice, brake bands, true bar, beveler, hot wax iron and temperature wax. Once you have your basic tuning equipment, here are some steps on how to go about it.


Find a well ventilated area to work on your equipment such as a garage or basement workbench. It’s best to wax on a bench over a concrete floor as you’ll probably get some wax drippings which are next to impossible to get out of a carpet.

Make sure your equipment is at room temperature and clean before work begins. Remove old wax and dirt from the bottoms with a good base cleaner. DO NOT use gasoline or household cleaners as they can damage your bases. If you are doing filing, make sure your equipment is secure with a vice.


Remove any loose material by scraping it away with a metal scraper. Clean the gouges then fill by dripping a polyethylene base repair stick in the gouges. Start by lighting the base repair stick with a match or lighter. Once lit, keep the flame low by holding the base repair stick close to the metal scraper. Make sure to rotate the repair stick while it’s lit on the metal scraper until the flame is blue and carbon (black soot) free. Then drip the base repair stick into the damaged area. It’s best to fill a little at a time and in layers until the gouge is full. Allow the repair to cool completely and then level excess with the metal scraper. Large damaged areas are best left to a shop that have the proper tools and experience.


Damage caused by rock impact can be removed from the edge by using a file or deburring stone. Use the file and stone alternately until the edge is smooth before you move to normal filing procedures. If the edge has pulled away, it’s best have a specialty ski shop do the repair.


To enhance control and performance of your equipment, use the file to make the bases flat and the edges sharp. Place the file between both hands and pull the file in one direction only with overlapping strokes. Keep the file flat by placing your thumbs on the file where the file touches the edges. Always try to file from tip to tail. If you can not, your last strokes with the file should be from tip to tail. Keep the file clean with the brush to maximize cutting and prevent the filings from being forced into the base. More advanced tuners will bevel their edges at this point to increase control and performance. This is done by using bevel sleeves or bevel tool. NOTE! The file cuts in one direction only. Drawing it backwards quickly dulls the file. To cut, move the file away from the tang (pointed end). When tuning your equipment, work in an area such as the garage or basement where excess wax and metal shavings can be cleaned easily off the floor. Also, tuning vices are recommended to secure your equipment while you work on them.


There is no substitute for a good hot wax. This allows you to turn easier, glide faster and adds to base durability. Rub on waxes or liquid waxes last for a few runs to a day but don’t offer the protection a hot wax can offer. You require very few tools and for the cost, it’s the best thing you can do for your skis or snowboard.

Before starting,

Make sure your skis or snowboard are up to room temperature. It’s best to wax on a bench over a concrete floor as you’ll probably get some wax drippings which are next to impossible to get out of a carpet. Then secure your gear in a vice. Next, clean your base with a base cleaner or wax remover. DO NOT use gasoline as this can damage your base. Select a proper wax according to the temperature or use a good universal wax.
Using the proper base cleaner to clean your bases is important to a good long lasting finish.
Using anything else can leave a residue which would get waxed into your bases damaging them. The Swix base cleaner will quickly remove wax residue and slope grime from ski and board bases without damaging the bases. The Swix base cleaner is a natural cleaner possessing exceptional strength and versatility. It features a blend of undiluted solvents; each 100% active and 100% biodegradable. The base cleaner is safe for the user and safe for the high end equipment we use.

The base cleaner comes in a 5 fluid ounce aerosol can and easy to use by just spraying on and wiping off.

Don’t use a rag or paper towels to clean your bases. When using a rag or paper towels, they leave a residue or lint. This residue and lint can then be waxed into your bases effecting your hard work and bases.
Swix’s Fiberlene towels are lint free to eliminate fibers from sticking on your bases when removing base cleaner and old wax. You should use Swix’s aerosol base cleaner along with the Fiberlene towels as they are designed to work together.

    1. Select the iron temperature (usually between 115 – 120 degrees) that enables the wax to drip off the iron but does not cause the wax to smoke. If the wax is smoking, turn down the temp! Hold the wax against the bottom of the iron and drip the wax onto your base. Use less wax at first as you’ll have less to scrape off later. You can always add more wax until you get the feel of it.
      Melting ski wax
      Melting ski wax

      After you drip the wax from the iron, it should form little spots on your base.

      Melted wax on skisMelted Wax on Skis


    1. After you drip the wax on your bases, start melting the wax drips with the iron and smooth the wax into the bases. (You do not have to wait for the wax to cool.) Make sure you keep the iron constantly moving. Moving the iron too fast will not allow the wax to melt. Take care that no area gets too warm as you can damage your base.
      Ironing on ski waxWhen done correctly, the melted wax will look like a thick layer of clear water on your base. Make sure the entire base is covered.


    1. After a complete cooling, (about 20 minutes) use a plastic scraper to remove the excess wax from the base. Keep your scraper at a slight angle. Also, don’t forget to scrape the excess wax from the sides.
      TIP! Keep your scraper sharp! A sharp scraper will remove excess wax much easier.

Removing excess ski wax


  1. Many skis and snowboards are tuned with a stone grinder and have a structured base. (These are the fine lines in your bases.) This structure allows the base to glide over the snow easier.Buffing ski waxWhen you wax your bases, these lines are still filled in by the wax after you scrape. By using a buff pad or brush, it will remove the excess wax the scraper failed to get and will give you the final finish.

How often should you wax? If the slopes conditions are old, coarse and icy, every 3 days MAX! If slope conditions are soft and fresh, you can probably go 5 days before applying a wax. You really can’t wax your equipment too much, so its best to do it more than less.
Recap! Hot waxing adds needed material to your bases that are lost from friction, environment, exposure and use. A hot wax allows your skis or snowboard to glide easier allowing you to turn easier. A hot wax will protect your bases from damage.

For Snowboards nose guards work great to protect your board!
We installed noseguards on the tips and tails of a board. Then the board was tossed out of a car going down the road at 60 miles an hour. The board had scratches but the tips and tails were fine. When you look at skis, almost all have some type of tip and tail guards. But for some reason, board manufactures haven’t gone this route. Possibly because of cost but whatever the reason, boards are unprotected in the tips and tails. Whenever we rest and stand our boards on the ground, it usually gets nicked. Especially if we put it on concrete or asphalt. But you can protect your board with a kit which includes two guards. One for the tip and one for the tail. The noseguards are black in color and install easily. Everything you need is included.


After your done skiing or snowboarding for the day and before you store your gear, you should wait until your equipment warms for about ten minutes then wipe dry with a cloth to remove dirt, salt and moisture. This will help keep rust from forming on your edges. You should inspect your equipment carefully and look for any damage that might have occurred during use. Sometimes a few quick strokes of the stone or file is all that is required to restore the tune. Store your equipment in a cool, dry place, away from heat sources and concrete. Keep your bottoms separated when storing your skis with a strap or other means. The care that you give will increase both your enjoyment and life of your equipment.


To protect your equipment while traveling, we recommend the use of a padded bag to protect your investment in both equipment and labor. Proper protection will prevent road grime and baggage handlers damage. Always keep your bottoms separated while traveling with a strap or other means.


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