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Preparing Your Snowboard for a New Season

By

Preparing Your Snowboard for a New Season
snowboard maintenance
Photo © Matt Gibson

When last season ended, you probably dried off your snowboard to prevent rust and stored it for the winter. It would have been a good idea to tune your snowboard before you put it away, but it's just not as fun when the season is winding down. As another season approaches, you definitely want to tune your board so it feels good as new for your first day back on the mountain.

Chances are, your board got a little dirty sitting in the garage or closet all summer, and it may have even acquired some rust or dings.

With just a few products from your local snowboard shop, as well as some that you already have in the house, you can have your snowboard in perfect condition within a couple of hours.

Start by cleaning up the board, then repair any dings, tune the edges, and wax it up for your first ride. Keeping your board in top shape not only prolongs its life, but it will also help you perform better

What you'll need:

  • Base cleaner
  • P-tex candle
  • Lighter
  • Scraper
  • Steel wool
  • Gummy stone (optional)
  • Sharpie
  • Edge File
  • File guide
  • Diamond stone
  • Iron
  • Snowboard wax
  • Snowboard tool

Clean the Board

The first step of preparing your board for a season of riding is to clean off all of the residue from last season and months of storage. Wipe down the edges, top and base of the board with a dry rag.

Always move from nose to tail and check for any dings or scratches that you'll need to fix later.

Flip the board over so the base is facing up and set it on a workbench or surface you don't mind getting dirty. Spray base cleaner on the board and rub it gently across the surface from nose to tail. Once the base of the board is completely covered in cleaner, let it sit for about 15 minutes, then wipe the cleaner and grime it brought to the surface away.

Fix the Dings

You may have noticed some nicks or scratches on the base of your board when you wiped it clean. Fortunately, P-tex candles were created to fill these holes and repair the base to like-new condition.

You can find a P-tex candle at just about any snowboard shop, and they're always an important item to have on hand throughout the season in case you end up with more dings. Light the end of the candle and let the P-tex drip into the gashes in the board. Fill each scratch until it is level or slightly overflowing and let it dry for a few minutes. Scrape the excess P-tex away once it has dried.

Tune the Edges

Your board's edges are probably dull from last season, and they may have even acquired a little rust from storage. If you see any surface rust or scrapes on the edges, rub them with steel wool or an unused scouring pad from the kitchen until the rust is removed. You can also buy a gummy stone at the board shop to perform this task. Don't be too worried if you can't get every speck of rust, sharpening your edges will help remove what the steel wool couldn't.

You want to tune the edges of your board properly for the type of riding you plan to do. Each board has a base edge and side edge. Beveling the base edge allows you turn easier, while beveling the side edge helps you dig deeper into the snow for more control. Some riders bevel the base and side edges and some bevel only one edge. If you're used to riding in icy conditions, bevel the side edge one or two degrees, and if you're riding in soft snow, bevel the base edge one or two degrees. If you're unsure what to do, check the manufacturers specs on your board and tune it to their recommendation.

You'll use a file and file guide (found at your local snowboard shop) to sharpen your edges. Set the file in the file guide for the angle you want to achieve. Now run a sharpie along the entire base edge of the board. When the sharpie is scraped away, you'll know you've properly sharpened that area. Make a few passes with the file from tip to tail until all of the sharpie is removed and the desired angle is achieved. Follow the same steps for the side edge if you decide to sharpen it as well.

Wipe the edges with a dry rag to remove any dust from the sharpening process and run a diamond stone along the edges you sharpened. Slide the diamond stone from nose to tail to smooth out any scrapes or nicks that may still be present in the edges. Wipe again with a rag, and you're ready to wax.

Wax On, Wax Off

Waxing is one of the final steps when preparing your board for the slopes. The smell of the snowboard wax alone will probably have you drooling over all of the great sessions you're about to have. Set your board back up on the workbench or space you used to clean the base. This can be a very messy process, so you'll need a lot of room.

Buy an iron that you'll use strictly for waxing. If you use your mom's iron, she won't be happy when she realizes she can never use it on clothes again. Let the iron warm up to medium heat and grab the proper wax for the snow conditions you'll be riding.

Hold the wax to the iron and let it drip off the tip of the iron onto the base of the snowboard. Once you've dripped wax across the entire surface, use the iron to smooth the wax until it coats the base of the board. Let it sit for about 20 minutes, so the wax can seep into all of the board's pores.

Check to make sure the wax is dry, then scrape it off in long, smooth motions from tip to tail. Lift the board up and look down the surface to make sure you scraped away every chunk of wax. Take your dry rag and brush away all of the residue on the board's surface. Hopefully the snow has already fallen, because your board is almost ready to ride.

Tighten Your Bindings

It's common for your binding screws to loosen over time. Be sure to tighten the screws in the baseplates with a snowboard tool before you ride. Check the straps and ratchet them down a couple times to ensure they haven't become brittle. It's always better to replace faulty straps before you hit the mountain than to have them break in the middle of a session.

Keep it Up

The beginning of the season isn't the only time you should clean, tune and wax your board. To get the maximum performance out of your snowboard and reach your full riding potential, maintain your board by performing these tasks whenever you find scrapes, dings, soft edges or any other blemishes. Keep your board waxed, not only to help you shred at high speeds, but also to protect the base from damage. You'll be amazed at the mileage you can get out of a stick if you treat it properly.

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