When you purchase a new pair of skis or a snowboard, it will come with what is called “factory wax” already applied. What that means is that your skis or board will generally have a basic, all temperature wax on it similar to what you would get out of a rub on wax or a spray. So does this mean you are ready to hit the slopes then? Technically yes, but there are a few things to consider if you want to get the most out of your new purchase.
The first thing to do is simply look at the base. The skis may be new to you, but they could have been sitting in your favorite shop for a while and have become dry. You can tell if a ski or snowboard is dry by looking for the base to have a cloudy white tint to it in places. After using your product you’ll notice this along the edges, but if a ski or board has been sitting around for a while, even if unused, it may have become dry elsewhere. Often manufacturers put sales stickers on the bases of their product. This too may have an effect on the quality of the initial wax. Some new products come in a wrap or a plastic sleeve. This may have prolonged the effects of the wax as well. Regardless, simply look at the base of the board, and you should be able to recognize whether your skis or boards are in desperate need of an initial wax.
Another thing to consider is the longevity of a factory wax. If has maintained its qualities by the time of purchase, it’s still really only good for a few times out. How long and hard you ride will also factor in to this. Are you going away for a 2 day weekend trip, or a week long family vacation? If it’s the latter then you’re better off insuring your gear will be good and ready to go by getting it waxed and tuned. What about the temperature? While a factory wax is usually good in “all temperatures” that also means it isn’t designed to be great in any specific temperature. It might be worth giving her a nice hot waxing specific to the temperatures you plan to encounter.
Overall, taking a new board or skis out without waxing it isn’t going to ruin your equipment, or your time, but it’s good to know what to expect. Your gear will perform better longer if you treat it well, and occasional waxing maintains the life of your base. If you’re so excited to get it out there on your new ski or board that you don’t bother to wax it, well we don’t blame you. All that we ask is that you look at your base from time to time and look for the signs that it’s dry. Besides…you don’t want your friends beating you down the hill right?