Surprisingly, only a small percentage of skiers and snowboarders take the time and energy required to properly wax the base of their equipment. Skis and snowboards simply don't perform as well when they are not maintained.
There are different waxes for the different temperatures. Colder snow with sharper snow crystals need a more robust wax to keep the skis from getting damaged, whereas warmer, wetter snow causes more friction, which can slow you down without the right wax.
For those that are lazy, there are rub on waxes that can easily be applied in a few minutes. But before you get too lazy, you should always remember that the more time you spend putting the wax on, the longer it will last.
Once you have determined the temperature of snow that you are likely to encounter, you will need the following items
Iron for ironing the wax into the ski base
Vise for stabilizing skis while waxing
Scraper for removing extra wax
Brush for removing extra wax
After you have obtained the proper equipment, you're ready to make a foray into the world of waxing. We have mined the internet for two films on this subject. This first video from REI, provides a solid base of information for those who would like to wax. The second video expands on the information in the first video and provides a few extra tips for snowboarders. If you are going to start waxing your skis or snowboard, it is strongly suggested that you watch both videos to build a solid basis of knowledge. It is possible to damage your equipment without a good understanding of what you're getting into...
For more techniques including some waxing techniques for first time waxers, check out this awesome Spadout article on How to Wax Skis .