Snowboard Maintenance Tips to Keep You Ripping All Season

Whether you've purchased a new snowboard or you're trying to get the most out of your tried-and-true companion, regular maintenance can significantly extend a board's lifespan. If you treat your gear like the valuable investment it is, it's bound to pay you back twofold. A well maintained snowboard will have you carving sharper turns, making epic stops, and nailing those elusive tailslides. If you're in the market for a new snowboard, check out these offerings from UtahSkis

A Clean Board is a Happy Board

If you're a serious rider planning to get out more than a couple times this season, cleaning your snowboard on a regular basis is the first step to keeping your board in tip top shape. It's ideal to try and clean your board after every 3-4 sessions, so plan to set aside some time on those days after you finish up your last run.

First, find a well-ventilated area with a flat surface where you can lay out and work on your board unencumbered. For supplies, you'll need base cleaner, clean rags, and a little bit of elbow grease. You can pick up base cleaner from most gear shops. Start by wiping away any wet snow from the day's session and then with a dry rag and a bit of elbow grease, wipe down the base in long, straight strokes to remove grime and old wax. Next, apply base cleaner in the same fashion. Let the base cleaner sit on the board for about 15 minutes. After time is up, wipe the base cleaner off with a new, clean rag, and you're ready to wax.

Wax On, Wax Off

Waxing your snowboard every 3-4 sessions is the most important part of board maintenance — and also the step most riders forgo, or perform once a season at most. It's time to buck the trend, because hot waxing your board is akin to oiling a machine. In the short term, waxing makes your board glide better, which means you'll move faster. In the long term, waxing extends the life of your base. Your board's base is constructed from P-Tex, which contain pores that open up when heated. Waxing serves to fill these pores and smooth over blemishes. If your board's base is starting to look a little whiteish in color, that's a telltale sign it's time for a good hot wax.

You can take your board to a hot wax shop or learn to do it yourself. It's a good thing to learn as it'll save you money and you'll be more likely to follow through long-term. Supplies you'll need include an iron, wax, scraper, cloth, and abrasive brush. There are different types of snowboard wax meant for use in varying temperatures, including hot, cold, and universal. If you're unsure which to choose, go with the universal, as it will function well in any temperature.

When you're ready to wax, heat up your iron. Once hot, apply a corner of your wax to the iron until it starts to melt. Once it starts dripping down onto the board, move the iron around the edges. Drip wax across the middle of the board by moving side to side in a zig zag pattern. Next, place the iron on the base and work the wax in a circular motion until the whole base is covered. Finally, switch off your iron and allow the wax to cool for about 10 minutes.

Once your board is cool, take your plastic scraper and holding it at a 45 degree angle, begin scraping off the excess wax. Try to work in one direction — ideally from nose to tail. Remove the wax from your edges with the notch in the corner of the scraper. Once finished, dust off the base with a cloth and grab the abrasive brush. With this brush, apply pressure and starting at one end, rub the base from nose to tail. This step puts tiny grooves into the wax, which helps reduce friction and improve performance.

Repairs and Preventative Care

Dings and scratches are unavoidable when you're playing out in nature. Running over exposed rocks, jagged surfaces, and even terrain park obstacles ding up your board over time. Repairing these injuries sooner rather than later is key to maintaining your snowboard. After each session, dry your board thoroughly to avoid rusting, as leaving excess moisture in crevices can result in breaking down metal surfaces.

For shallow scratches, a good hot wax should be all you need. If it's a deeper scratch, you might want to consider repairing it at a snowboard shop or learning how to do it yourself with a P-Tex candle. Bigger problems arise when you're dealing with a core shot, which is a deep gash that penetrates the laminate layers. Another big issue is delamination, which is when the top of the board comes away from the rail. You should take your board to a professional if you suspect either of these issues, as leaving them unattended could result in ruining your snowboard.

Preventative care goes a long way, so be diligent when caring for your board. Make sure to take your board in or give it a full tune-up yourself at least once a year, which includes sharpening your edges. Maintaining a dry, clean, and waxed board goes a long way in extending its lifespan and ensures you keep shredding the gnar all season long.
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