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Ski Care 101

WHY DO YOUR SKIS NEED TUNING?
A TUNED PAIR OF SKIS WILL SKI BETTER, EASIER AND WITH MORE CONTROL! Or simply put, you’ll ski better, easier and with more control in a tuned pair of skis! A tuned pair of skis will feel like a new pair of skis and better. Good sharp edges are essential for control and waxed bottoms will glide better for speed AND for ease of turning!

HOW TO TELL IF YOUR SKIS NEED TUNING!
There are ways to tell when your skis need a tune. First, flip the skis over and look at the bases. Do they have gouges? Does the base of the ski have a shine or do they look dried out? Look especially on your inside edge towards the middle of the ski. This means the wax is gone and your bases are more prone to damage and wear faster.

Now check the edges. Are your edges burred? Slowly and lightly slide your finger down the edges of your skis. Are your edges smooth or rough? Chances are they are burred and dull. You can also hold a true bar over the bottom of your skis to see if they have become concave. If you see light under the bar in the middle of the ski, this could mean you are skiing on your edges instead of the full bottom of the ski making it difficult to ski on.

HOW OFTEN DO YOUR SKIS NEED TO BE TUNED?
Advanced to expert skiers usually tune their skis after 5-7 times of skiing. They want the edges to be sharp for control and the bottoms to be waxed for speed and ease of turning.

Intermediate to advanced skiers should tune their skis after 8-12 days of skiing. They want control too but are not as demanding as advanced skiers. They will benefit from smooth bottoms that turn easier.

Beginner skiers should tune their skis about every 15 days of skiing. (Though they should be waxing more often.) They’re looking for ease of turning more than anything else.

Of course slope conditions play a BIG part in this. Fresh fluffy snow will not wear down your edges or bases as fast. So a ski tune could last longer. But when you’re skiing on hard pack, old snow and ice, your edges dull quicker and the wax will scrape faster from the bottoms of your skis. This means you’ll have to have them tuned more often.

WHEN SHOULD YOU TUNE YOUR SKIS?
Did you know that the end of ski season is the best time to have your skis tuned? Here’s why. Your skis have just been through a season of skiing. The edges are probably burred, the bottoms have some gouges and the bases have lost the wax. This isn’t the best way to store your skis.

A ski tune can be best taken advantage of in the spring for very good reasons. The best reason is after your skis are tuned, a coating of wax is applied to the base of your skis. During the summer, this wax will protect your edges from rust but the excess wax will be absorbed into your bases over the summer giving them a more durable and longer lasting base.

Most ski shops won’t tell you to tune your skis in the spring. First, they are winding down from the busy ski season and starting to get ready for their summer business. The back room might even be closed for the season. But think of this, they also want your skis to wear out faster!

Why? So you can buy new ones. Either way, if you can’t tune your skis at the end of ski season, at least get them tuned.

HOW ABOUT TUNING YOUR SKIS YOURSELF?
Why not? Just about anyone can do it. For the price of one tune, you could purchase a basic tuning kit. About the only thing you can’t do is stone ground the bases. A ski shop with a stone grinder must do that. This is usually done once every 20-30 days of skiing. Your skis should have a minor tune up every 5-15 times you ski. But that depends on the type of skier you are and the conditions you ski on.

For more information, or to shop for ski equipment, visit www.sno-ski.com

November 12, 2002
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