The best all-purpose snowboard wax

Snowboarders are always getting stuck on the flats and the catwalks. There’s no way around it other than hitching a pole-tow from a skier friend or bringing your own telescoping pole.

But one thing that helps, a lot, is if we have the right wax and don’t scrub speed. I have been waxing my board ever since I started riding. I started out using XXX Adult Snowboard wax, which was this awful glue that probably only sold well to impressionable early-20s males like myself who were trying too hard to look cool. I’ve used rub-on paste waxes, liquid waxes, and fluoro and unfluoridated iron-on waxes. I’ve applied wax using a heat gun based on this cool blog post.

One time, on a dare, I applied KY jelly to the bottom of my board.

After 20+ years of experimentation, I’ve found that black waxes are the ones that work the best across the most conditions.

Black waxes are regular waxes with graphite added. They were originally used for late spring snow, which is covered with pollen. The graphite prevents static cling to the pollen. Because dry powder also behaves like pollen particles, black waxes are excellent on powder days, too. In between the extremes of cold powder days and warm slushy days with pollen, the universal wax base of the black waxes has good glide.

Over the last few years, I’ve been using Swix Moly Fluoro Wax. Although technically a base wax for ski racing, it gives great glide. The toxicity of fluoro waxes bothers me, so I would like to switch to an eco wax if I can. Next season, I’m going to try an eco graphite wax like Purl to see if I can get good enough results.

By the way, the KY jelly was slick for about three minutes. Isn’t that as long as it’s supposed to last?


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