“How often do I need to tune my skis or board?”
Here are some tips and suggestions on how and when to tune your gear.
Examine the bases of your skis when you get home. If your black ski bases are looking white in spots they are thirsty for wax. If you notice parts of the ski that still have wax on them, usually circular spots, the bases aren’t flat anymore. If the base of your ski or board feels fuzzy; then it’s time for a stone grind. Lightly run your finger (BE CAREFUL) along the edges and you feel burrs all over the place time to get them sharpened. If you take your finger nail to the edge and try to shave the top of your nail off and nothing happens they’re dull, time for sharpening
Even new skis and snowboards should be tuned after they are unwrapped. Yes, they do come with a factory wax, not a very good wax job. The tips and tails of skis and boards should be detuned; this is to help reduce the chance of you catching an edge. How much to detune is dependent on how soon you want the ski to engage and release in the turn. The factory edge is sharp tip to tail and making adjustments to where it is sharp can make the ski or board feel very different. All good shops offer a new ski or board prep, take advantage and get your gear dialed for the season.
The different types of snow have an effect on your skis and boards. Harder snow, icy conditions will wear down the bases of your skis. This will leave your gear edge high and your skis or board will feel like they want to engage real easily. They want to hook up and take you in a direction that you do not want. They can also not release you from a turn if the ski or board is edge high. At the same time, harder snow is also tough on your edges they’re going to get dull if you’re carving and skidding on that harder snow.
If you hit rocks with the edge of your skis or boards you can damage them to the point that they may need an edge replacement, while this can be done it will never ski the same as when it was new. This may also cause damage to the base, minimal p-tex repair is usually included in a tune but, extensive damage may need a base patch or even a base weld. Let a trained professional do that work, it takes time and you will need to resurface the ski or board when that is done.
Different snow conditions de-tune skis at different rates. If you notice your skis aren’t gripping as well, initiating a turn as easily, sliding on the snow as fast, then you’ve waited too long for a tune. It is time to get them into a shop and have them tuned. Now you can do some work at home such as hand file the base flat, sharpen edges and even wax a ski, but a good shop can do all that even quicker and add a stone grind to that base. Stone grinding adds a pattern to the base of the ski or board. This pattern is used to expel water away from the base of the ski or board. Depending on the pattern and snow conditions this can have a great affect on how fast the ski or board is. Different patterns will change the way the water and snow crystals glide off the bottom. Great shops will know which pattern to run with the given snow conditions.
There is no such thing as waxing your skis too much. There is a condition where there is too much wax on the ski. When you wax a ski or board you need to apply the wax and then remove the excess. You only want a thin coat on the ski or board, thin to win and too much will slow you down. Wax makes your skis hydrophobic, afraid of water basically… The more hydrophobic your skis are the faster they will be, it also makes them a lot easier to turn. If skis lack wax they can have a harder time getting up on edge, mostly in warmer snow conditions (picture two pieces of glass with water in between them, they get suctioned together, wax helps prevent that).
Waxing properly is important. If you’re just getting into waxing your skis or boards, you may have noticed temperature ranges on the wax. Colder waxes have a higher melting temperature and are more resistant to coarser snow. As the temperature drops, the snow gets coarser. If you wax for a cold day and it ends up being warm your skis will feel slow. Or just use a universal ski wax which has a greater temperature range. This will give you the most latitude in temperature, it is not the fastest wax but for ease of use this is what most people should use. If you want to go fast then it is best to use the correct wax for the temperature of the snow. Any good shop can suggest the correct wax for the temperature of the snow.
Note: Sintered Bases can absorb more wax than extruded bases. Extruded bases require less wax maintenance/care to perform well. If you’re looking for a ski that is going to be ‘faster’ you want a Sintered base.
Everyone here waxes their skis before each and every day that we ski and we tune our skis after 3-4 days of skiing. Powder skis are different because the snow is soft and they can go a little longer without tuning (Depends on how many rocks/trees/stumps we hit). Racers will tune for every race, this is because they demanded top-notch performance out of their skis or boards. If you are in that category then it might be time to look at a shop that can perform that service for you and may have a season tune rate.
It is up to you and how you want the ski or board to perform, but to get the maximum performance and fun out of your day on the hill we recommend that you should get your skis waxed every 3-4 days and tuned every 6-8 days on the hill. Remember there is no such thing as too much waxing. When you wax the ski or board this is a great time to examine your gear and check to see if it needs to be tuned. We tend to use an all temperature wax here in the shop unless a specific wax is called for. If you don’t feel confident in your skills come on into the shop and we are here to help.