Choosing wax for your snowboard can be a daunting task, when you see all the different waxes on offer.
But let’s break it down a bit and look at a few things to consider when choosing snowboard wax. As fussy as I am about choosing the right snowboard gear, and the right sized snowboard gear, I have to say I’m a little less fussy and particular when it comes to wax (but just a little 😉 ).
And I’m sure there are some out there that are very particular about the wax they use, so I’m happy to hear from anyone who has particular things they require when choosing snowboard wax.
OK firstly, just in case some are wondering if it’s even worth waxing – what are the reasons you want to wax your board?
Firstly, to help to protect your base.
Secondly for a smooth glide on the snow and for speed. Even if you’re not looking to add speed to your ride, having a well waxed base makes for a much more consistent and smoother ride and helps you to glide over flats and keep reasonable speed on heavy, wet snow.
It also stops the board from feeling sticky.
Trust me, you need to be waxing (especially if you have a sintered base board) – check out the post below to see what happens when you don’t wax a board for a long time:
Some Things to Consider When Choosing Wax for Your Snowboard
The following are what I think about when choosing wax:
- Is the “Wax” or the “Wax Job” more important?
- What temperature Wax do I need?
- How Much Speed do you Really Need?
- How does it affect the Environment?
- What’s the Price?
Is the Wax or the Wax Job More Important
I may not be that particular when it comes to choosing the type of wax – but I am particular about the wax job.
I saw someone write a comment on a forum recently, saying “you don’t really need to scrape the excess wax off after waxing. The snow will just take it off for you, especially if it’s man made or icy snow” – ahhhhhh. That made me very uncomfortable! They must have a weird riding experience for the first few hours of snowboarding after a wax.
In my opinion, the wax job makes a bigger difference than the wax (in particular making sure there’s not excess wax on the base!). So long as you follow a few things to choose the right type of wax.
This is the process I use to wax my boards:
What Temperature Wax do I Need?
One of those things that you need to consider when choosing wax for your snowboard, is the temperature that the wax is rated for.
There a few options when it comes to temperature, but loosely it’s usually either:
- Cold Temperature Wax
- Warm Temperature Wax
- All-Temperature Wax
Cold Temperature Wax
Cold temperature waxes are usually rated for a maximum of 28°F (-2°C). But there are various different types, that are rated for various different temperatures.
Warm Temperature Wax
Again, there are various temperature ratings but usually these are for temperatures of 28°F (-2°C) and up.
All-temperature waxes are just as they sound – designed to be good in cold and warm temperatures. Probably not going to be as good as a cold wax in colder temperatures and not as good as warm wax in warmer temperatures.
But will be better than cold wax in warm temperatures and warm wax in cold temperatures. So, if you don’t want to have to think about it, then all-temperature wax is a good way to go.
What Temperature Should You Choose?
I typically see temperatures between 20°F (-7°C) and and 40°F (+4°C), throughout the season (with some hotter and colder days of course, but for the most part), so I just go with an all-temperature.
But if you regularly see really cold temperatures you might want to go for a cold wax. Or you might want to switch between cold and warm, depending on the season.
If you want to choose your wax based on temperature and change it as the temperature changes, I’ve been told it’s best to:
- Go by the overnight low temperature on a cloudy day; and
- Go by the morning low on a sunny day
This is because snow apparently takes longer to heat up during the day than the air does.
How Much Speed do you Really Need?
Some waxes are touted as being a much faster wax than others – and even within brands there are options that are faster than others.
So, one thing to decide is how fast you need to go.
Now if you’re racing or riding the pipe a lot, then how fast the wax is, is probably more of a concern.
But if you’re a regular snowboarder riding the resort, chances are you’re not going to need anything super fast – and a good wax job, with the correct temperature wax, usually adds enough speed, protection and glide for most riders.
If you ride on flats and slight uphill sections a lot, then a faster wax can also be beneficial, but again, a good wax job and the right temperature wax is usually enough.
For most, super fast isn’t necessary.
How does it affect the Environment?
So why not get a super fast wax, even if I don’t need it, you might ask?
Well, for one maybe you don’t want to ride that fast!
But also, faster waxes typically use fluorocarbons. Fluorocarbons, aren’t the best for the environment – and being snowboarders, we have a lot to thank the environment for! And if we want to keep our winters good, then we need to, IMO, think about how we treat the environment. And choosing a wax with low or no fluorocarbons is one way to do that.
Another option is to go for something that’s completely biodegradable – like soy based waxes. I haven’t tried any of these personally, but I have heard they are more difficult to scrape – but don’t quote me on that.
Some waxes have graphite in them, which is supposed to help in slushy conditions. If you’re coming up to spring and want the best glide in slush, then this one thing to consider.
What’s the Price?
If you are budget conscious, then you will be thinking of the price of your wax too. Luckily, if you’re also thinking of the environment, and don’t need a super-speed wax, the purely hydrocarbon waxes are usually cheaper than those with fluorocarbons in them.
So there’s a few things to consider about choosing wax for your snowboard. Like I said, I’m not that particular about this personally, so I usually just go with an all-temperature, hydrocarbon wax.
But if you are someone who is really particular, for whatever reason – maybe you’re a racer, or ride the pipe – or just prefer the feel of certain waxes, I’d love to hear some other opinions. Just leave a comment in the comments section below.