What Happens If You Don’t Wax Your Snowboard?

by Matt Powell | Last Updated:   1 year ago
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Everyone probably hears about waxing skateboards and waxing snowboards but just don’t want to go through the trouble of doing it or may be wondering if there is any benefit to waxing at all. Well I want to let you know exactly what happens if you don’t wax your snowboard.

Snowboard wax coats the bottom of the board to provide protection and to repel the water from the snow which allows you to glide better across the snow.

If you don’t wax your snowboard you will not be able to ride as fast and your board will not be protected and at a higher risk for rust and abrasion or damage.

If you have just gotten a new snowboard, there is already a factory wax on there. If you want to learn more about how long the factory wax lasts, then you should pop on over to this article right here on Outdoor Diversions. 

Let’s dive right in and see what happens if you don’t wax your snowboard.

What Happens If You Don’t Wax Your Snowboard?

First I want to discuss what waxing a snowboard does in order to understand what happens to our boards when we don’t wax.

Snowboards most often come from the factory with a thin film of wax on them. Manufacturers do this to keep the boards from drying out and as a protective layer to keep them from being damaged in shipping.

Wax that you apply has a very similar effect by helping to protect from damage such as abrasions and gouges from the many things in the snowboarding environment such as branches under the snow, icy snow conditions, and rails and boxes at the freestyle park section of your local mountain so if you don’t apply wax, you are just asking for a damaged board.

scratches on snowboard 2

It also keeps the board from drying out during storage and helps to prevent what is called base burn. This when the snow is so cold that the wax stops working and the snowboard is no longer melting the snow, but dragging across it causing the board get abrasive damage on the base resembling a burn.

Can You Snowboard Without Wax?

Now that you know what actually happens when wax is not present you might be asking can you snowboard without wax or is it a must have?

Yes you can snowboard without wax but you are at risk of damaging your board from snow conditions, park obstacles, and base burn. It is recommended by top professionals to wax your board at regular intervals to maintain its life.

Waxing a snowboard protects it from the issues listed above but you can most certainly forego waxing your snowboard:

  • if you plan on buying a new snowboard every season
  • if you don’t care about performance
  • if you are not willing to wax the snowboard yourself
  • if you don’t care about the damage that will inevitably happen

You will get a much smoother ride with a nicely waxed board and enjoy the benefits of smoother turning, smoother acceleration coming out of turns, and a faster, more smooth ride down the mountain in general. When my board is waxed, I can definitely tell a big difference from when it needs to be waxed and is suffering performance issues. 

You don’t necessarily NEED to wax your snowboard to go ride and have a good time. 

What Can I Use Instead Of Snowboard Wax?

Often times, good quality snowboard wax isn’t cheap and you want to try some other kind of wax because they are all the same, right? This is absolutely not true. 

Different types of waxes are made for different types of situations and snowboard wax is specially formulated to operate within certain temperature ranges in order to best suit your needs. Wax is meant to repel the melted snow that friction creates and provide glide down the slope.

That being said, there are other non snowboard specific waxes and there is also a special coating for snowboards that says you will never need wax again. Let’s check all those out to see if one is better for you than snowboard wax.

Snowboard repair 2

Paraffin Wax

What Is Paraffin Wax? Paraffin wax (or petroleum wax) is a soft colorless solid that is derived from petroleum, coal oil, or shale oil, and Paraffin wax is a white or colorless soft, solid wax.

You can use paraffin wax  to wax your snowboard because many snowboard waxes have a paraffin base. Paraffin wax, however, is hydrophobic and it will work best only for wet snow. If the snow is colder the paraffin may actually grip rather than slide. 

The best thing you can do for your board is to go ahead and  purchase some snowboard wax. They are blended with paraffin, fluorocarbons, and other compounds to provide the best performance possible for the temperature ranges designated on the wax.

Candle Wax

Considering that paraffin wax is the most common wax used in candles You can use candle wax to wax your snowboard if you plan on riding wet snow. If the snow gets too cold for paraffin wax candles then it may cause your board to grip the snow instead of slide on it.

Bottom line, as I stated above, just go out and get the wax that is designed to provide the best performance and is designed to be used on snowboards and skis. 

Phantom “Permanent Base Glide Treatment”

Phantom designed a board and ski treatment that is more permanent than a traditional wax. In fact, they say it will last the life of the snowboard.

“PHANTOM is a permanent, one-time application, wax less base treatment that forever eliminates the need for waxing skis and snowboards.

PHANTOM’s patent-pending polymer technology offers ultimate convenience combined with great glide performance that never wanes across all snow temperatures, and for the life of a ski or snowboard’s use.”

Phantom only requires one application for the life of a pair of skis or a snowboard and they guarantee that the performance will remain the same regardless of tunes and stone grinds.

Traditional waxes coat the surface of your ski base while the Phantom treatment penetrates the entire thickness of the base material.

They did extensive testing and have proven that Phantom provides consistent glide across a wide range of conditions and temperatures.

Phantom permanently changes the hardness of the base material of the snowboard or ski which gives your board more durability as well.

Can a base still be waxed after Phantom application?

Yes, you can still apply temperature-specific waxes to a Phantom-treated base. When your temperature-specific wax wears off, you are still riding on a Phantom-coated base, which is far superior to the performance of an unwaxed base, our testing has confirmed.

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My Favorite Snowboard Gear

Board – K2 Broadcast

Goggles – Outdoor Master PRO Goggles

Boots – Burton Moto Boa Boots

Bindings – Burton Cartel Bindings

Jacket – Volcom L Gore-tex Snow Jacket

Check Out These Other Great Articles

How Many Days Does It Take To Learn To Snowboard?

How Long Does A Snowboard Last?

Is Snowboarding A Good Workout? Total Health Benefits Of Snowboarding

Is Snowboarding Bad For Your Knees? (Keeping Your Knees Protected)

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