Do You Need to Wax a New Snowboard?

Waxing your snowboard is one of the easiest and most important maintenance steps you can do as a snowboard owner. It will protect your board and provide you with consistent performance throughout your sessions. However, should you be inclined to wax your snowboard straight out of its shiny new packaging?

Do New Snowboards Already Come Pre-Waxed?

Do brand new snowboards come waxed from the factory? Yes. Is a factory wax sufficient? The short answer is, it depends. However, you’ll want to continue reading to determine when you’ll need to wax your snowboard for the first time. 

Brand new snowboards come pre-waxed with what’s called a “Factory Wax”. A factory wax is an all temperature wax that’s either sprayed on or rubbed on the base of the snowboard. It’s usually done to protect the board during shipping and to prevent the base from drying out during storage. 

Factory wax is usually a very fast and cheap procedure that lacks the quality you’d get from a proper hot wax. Depending on your riding plans after purchasing a new snowboard, you may want to re-wax it prior to riding it for the first time. 

Is Factory Wax Good Enough, Or Should I Re-Wax?

Figuring out if the factory wax on your new snowboard is good enough can be a little tricky to determine. Normally a factory wax is done quickly and is usually meant to just protect the snowboard while being transported from the factory to the consumer. The quality and condition of the factory wax will be dependent on its storage conditions. 

If the snowboard has been in storage or at a shop for many months, the wax may have dried out or will be removed very fast once the board hits snow. If the snowboard was wrapped in plastic, this protects and prolongs the quality of the factory wax. Humidity and temperature during storage play a huge role in how fast a new snowboard dries out.

Does the base feel rough in areas? Do you see any white sections on the base? How does the base look near the edges? These are all questions you’ll need to ask to answer that question.  

If you are a beginner or are planning to ride it for one or two days before waxing it, the factory wax should suffice. If you’re going away on a week-long trip with lots of riding or you’re a seasoned rider who appreciates good performance, it’s best to go ahead and wax your new board. Factory wax could last the first day or it could be stripped off in the first run if the conditions are icy or the slopes have dry powder or artificial snow. 

No matter what you choose, personally, it’s recommended to hot wax your snowboard prior to its first day on snow. This takes the guessing out when trying to determine the quality of the factory wax. You will know exactly how your board will perform on its maiden voyage down the slopes and should be consistent all day. 

Ways to Tell if You Should Re-Wax a New Snowboard

No matter how much you snowboard, you should always wax your board at the beginning of the season and leave a layer of wax on your board at the end of the season for storage. This is the bare minimum. In general, a good schedule to follow would be to wax your snowboard after every five days of riding. This helps keep your base protected and prevents it from drying out. 

There are a few signs to look out for when determining if your snowboard needs to be waxed. 

Feeling Slow

If you notice your board isn’t gliding like it normally does, if it feels sticky on wetter snow or you’re losing speed on flat sections rapidly, this is the first sign you need to wax your snowboard. 

White Base

If the snowboard base is starting to turn slightly white, especially near the edges, wax your board before riding again. Base burn is caused by snow slowly sanding down the base, which will damage the base and prevent it from holding wax like it used to. As we spend more time on our edges, these areas are much more susceptible to base burn. White areas on the base can also be dry sections which indicate the snowboard needs to be waxed.

Base Type

If your snowboard has a sintered base versus an extruded one, it will require wax more regularly than an extruded base. A sintered base has more pores in it, so it tends to dry out a bit quicker. You will get much better performance from a sintered base, but you will have to maintain it a bit more. To advanced riders, the gained performance from a sintered base is worth the extra maintenance requirements.   

Different Temperature Riding 

Are you a spring snowboarder who enjoys soaking in the sun and cruising down the ski slopes in shorts and a T-shirt? Those warm temperatures are amazing, but the resulting slushy snow can be extremely sticky. If you want to experience maximum glide in these conditions, wax your snowboard with a warm temperature wax that will combat the sticky conditions. 

Very cold conditions will also slow down your snowboard if it is not waxed. When it is extremely cold out, the friction between the dry rigid snow crystals and your snowboard increases and causes you to slow down. You can combat this with a cold temperature wax.


Do you actually need to wax a new snowboard? It’s a tough question to answer which becomes dependent on storage conditions, visual inspection and your riding preferences. Personally, I’d say yes. 

Take the guessing out of the equation. It’s the piece of mind you’ll get from knowing your snowboard will perform optimally during its first day on snow. While you get used to your new snowboard, you’ll want minimal distractions and changes in performance getting in the way of your learning experience. 

Some shops may even throw in a free hot wax when you buy the board, so take advantage of that or even ask the shop if they’d be willing to do this. Alternatively, investing in waxing materials and learning this valuable skill will allow you to always have the opportunity to keep your snowboarding lightning fast.

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