Snowboarding is not much fun when your board isn’t gliding smoothly! If this is happening to you then you’re probably wondering… why is my snowboard sticking to the snow?
Your snowboard sticks to the snow due to the quality of the snow, which depends on weather conditions. Snow becomes stickier in warmer weather and lighter in cold temperatures. Snowboards also stick to the snow when they are damaged or unwaxed.
No-one likes a sticky bottom! Let’s take a look at how to make your snowboard base glide smoothly.
The Reason Why The Snow Is Sticking to Your Snowboard.
As I mentioned, this depends on the type of snow you get. Snow sticks to your snowboard more when you are riding on wet and slushy snow. The reason behind this is the moisture, which makes the snow heavy and sticky.
This makes your snowboard drag! Even turning will become difficult, increasing your chances of falling.
I’ll explain this further…
How Does Snow Become Sticky?
We love our snow to be powder-like, dry, and light. But there’s a reason why you cannot build a snowman with fresh pow. The snow does not stick!
So how does it become sticky?
Snow becomes sticky when it is wet. Temperatures above freezing melt the snow, increasing its moisture content. Therefore, the snow becomes wet and heavy. The stickiness of the snow makes it challenging to remove from surfaces (like the base of a snowboard).
Snowboarders thus prefer colder temperatures with light and dry snow. That’s why Japanese ski resorts are so famous for their snow conditions!
Does Wet Snow Affect Snowboarding?
The simple answer is yes, it does!
Wet snow affects snowboarding by sticking to the base of your snowboard and slowing you down. Your speed decreases when the moisture causes wet friction, which reduces surface smoothness and increases resistance.
Lack of speed is not the only downside of wet snow. It also damages the snowboard. Wet snow goes through a melting and freezing cycle. At some point during the cycle, it becomes granular. The granular texture of the snow can strip off the wax on your snowboard, making it rough.
Moreover, when you scrape the wet snow off, it removes more wax!
Can You Prevent Wet Snow From Sticking to Your Snowboard?
Wet snow is a bummer for snowboarders, but it does not mean you cannot snowboard. With a little effort, you can enjoy it!
Waxing your snowboard prevents wet snow from sticking to the base. The wax fills the pores on the surface of the board, reducing friction. However, you must use the right wax and technique to get good results.
Waxing is not a complicated process, but if you do it wrong, it can damage your snowboard. Therefore, learning the correct technique before you embark on your snowboarding adventure during warmer seasons is a must.
What Kind of Wax Is Best for Wet Snow?
There are different waxes for different temperatures:
- Wax for cold temperatures.
- Wax for warmer conditions.
- Wax for all seasons.
The best wax for wet snow is snowboard wax made for warm temperatures. This forms a waterproof layer on the base of your snowboard. It fills the pores of the snowboard and prevents moisture from sticking to its surface.
Remember, the wax will only work if you use it properly. Otherwise, it will do more damage than good!
How To Wax Your Snowboard.
I will explain the process in simple words. Waxing your snowboard to handle sticky snow requires proper techniques and waxing tools. You also need an open space with electricity.
However, before you begin, place your snowboard on a sturdy flat surface with the base up.
The entire waxing process will not take more than 30 to 35 minutes.
Here are the waxing tools you need:
- Waxing iron – you can use a regular one too, but it will become useless after waxing your snowboard. So, it is better to get a proper waxing iron.
- A scrubbing pad – you can get any scrubbing pad.
- A sharp scraper – you need it to scrape off dirt and wet snow.
- Gummy stone – this is used for sharpening the edges of the snowboard.
- Horsehair or nylon brush – you can get the affordable one.
- Cloth and rubbing alcohol – you will need them for cleaning before waxing.
If you don’t already have the tools, you’re better off just getting a complete kit. The Outdoor Master tuning kits are the best value.
Now comes the waxing of the snowboard. The waxing process has three main steps – cleaning, waxing, and scrapping. Here is how you do it:
- Place your board on a hard, flat surface with the base up. You will need rubbing alcohol, a scrubbing pad, and a cloth for cleaning the snowboard.
- Apply the rubbing alcohol onto the cloth and cover the board’s base.
- Use the scrubbing pad to get rid of dirt and wet snow. Let the board dry before you move on.
- Plug your waxing iron in and make sure it is not too hot. You want to melt the wax, not burn it. When the iron is warm enough, rub the wax against it, so it melts.
- When you see the wax melting, place your iron just a few inches above the base and let the wax drip on the board. Move to cover the edges first. For adequate coverage, move the iron along the length of the board.
- After doing the edges, cover the center of the board with wax using a crisscross movement.
- Once you cover the entire surface of the board, put the wax away.
- Take the warm iron and start ironing along the length of the board – from one end to the other.
- Move the iron slowly and continue until the wax melts into the pores of the board.
- Wait for the wax and the base to cool down before the next step.
- You need to scrape the excess wax off so the base is nice and smooth.
- Take the scraper and place it at a 45-degree angle on the board. Your thumbs should be on the top side and your fingers on the underside of the scraper.
- Now start scraping along the length of the board until all the excess wax comes off. The aim is to fill the pores with wax, not cover the board’s surface. Use the scraper on the edges too.
- Take the horsehair or nylon brush to polish the base from top to bottom.
Your base is now ready for use on wet snow!
Waxing Does Not Mean Total Protection.
It’s important to note that waxing your snowboard does not result in total protection. While the waterproof layer of wax will not let moisture stick, you do not get absolute protection. After a few rides, the wax will come off, and snow will start to stick, calling for another round of waxing.
How Frequently Should You Wax?
How frequently you wax your snowboard will depend on several factors including weather conditions, the construction of your board, and how much you use your snowboard.
I covered this in depth in this article.
Tips To Slide Better on Wet Snow:
These tips will help you slide better on wet snow:
- Snow goes through a freezing and melting cycle, so you need to know at which point the moisture content will be minimum. Picking the right time of the day can help you slide better. This is usually early morning.
- The snowboard’s size, weight, and shape can also reduce friction. Make sure you have the right snowboard for you.
- Carry a waxing kit with you. It means extra work, but you can prolong the trip.
- Keep the edges of your snowboard sharp and clean.
- Work on your turning so you can use your body strength and position to fight friction as much as possible.
- Do not focus on speed; enjoy the ride instead.
Other Reasons Your Snowboard Might Be Sticking.
If the snow isn’t wet or you’ve already waxed your board up perfectly, make sure to check your base and edges carefully. If there are large gouges in the P-Tex, this can cause a little drag. Get them repaired!
Warmer conditions may not be the best time for competitive snowboarding. The higher temperatures melt the snow, which sticks to your snowboard. Waxing is a solution, though not permanent.
However, if your goal is to have fun and enjoy spring snow, wet snow shouldn’t stop you. However, you must pack your waxing kit and keep your snowboard in good condition!
Hope that helped.