This morning around 5:30 AM, my phone rang. I received the automated call from the school system where I work. That can only mean one of two things…either there is a 2 hour delay, or school is cancelled due to inclement weather. Today, school was cancelled due to icy road conditions. A snow day! Every kid loves snow days because it means no school. I find it bitter sweet. On one hand, I’m not getting paid since I’m not working, and I know I will just have to make it up at the end of the year, which cuts into summer time. On the other hand though, it means I don’t have to drive on greasy slippery roads in the middle of winter with everyone else trying to get to work. Plus I have the day off and can get stuff done (or just go snowboarding), so I don’t mind a snow day every now and then.
Typically a snow day means a pretty decent snow storm. Unfortunately, today it was icy and we received only about an inch of snow with some rain and sleet mixed in. If you have read my blog Rainy Winter, you already know that this type of weather has been the norm around here. In any case, it was warm outside, relatively speaking (in the 30s) and I figured the mountain wouldn’t be too busy since the conditions probably weren’t great. As I was getting ready to leave, it was actually drizzling outside. I almost stayed home, but I figured it was worth a shot. I’m glad I went…I had the mountain to myself!
When I got to Crotched Mountain I got all of my snow gear on and headed inside. I knew my board was probably due for a wax and sharpen. I have been riding in a lot of man-made snow (since mother nature has decided to go on a snow strike). Man-made snow leaves the bottom of your board dirty and sticky…nothing like fresh powder! I haven’t had my board waxed in a while and since it was warm today, I figured the conditions would be slower than normal. Time for a quick tune-up.
So how do you know if your board needs to be waxed? A few of the following are signs that you should wax your board and sharpen your edges:
- Examine the base of the board. If it looks “dry” or hazy it’s time to get it waxed.
- There may be areas on the base that look white or have white lines – typically around the edges and the places your snowboard makes the most contact with the snow.
- The colors on the base are not as vibrant as they used to be.
- As you are riding, you notice your board sticking or slowing down through the flat spots on the mountain.
- The edges should be sharpened if they feel dull. Use your fingernail (never your skin). If pieces of your nail come off, then your edges are sharp. Most riders do not need super sharp edges (unless you are planning to race). Just make sure to get them sharpened occasionally to get rid of any nicks and burrs.
- Your board may need the edges sharpened if it does not dig in as much as you’d like while you are carving down the mountain.
Benefits of waxing your board and sharpening your edges:
- Your board will perform so much better with a good waxing.
- You will be able to go through flat spots more easily and go faster overall.
- Beginners will have an easier time connecting turns and learning to carve.
- Keeping your board waxed also protects the base of it.
- Don’t forget about your edges. Keeping them sharpened will allow you to dig in and ride so much better.
Today I got the “quick wax and sharpen” (belt wax) which is great to get you on the mountain fast, but it doesn’t last as long as a hot iron wax. If you want a nice thorough wax that will last longer, it will be more expensive, you may have to leave your board, or wait longer before you can get out and ride. You can also tune your board at home (I will go into this in more detail in a future blog). A good wax and sharpen on a regular basis not only protects your board, but will also help you ride better and have more fun on the mountain!