Just getting the family organized and getting out the door on time can throw your snow day sideways long before you arrive at the hill. So having equipment that isn’t up for task is just going to compromise your day further. The following series of columns are going to give the recreational rider the tools to do interim ski and snowboard tunes between visiting a professional tuning shop.
Since we are a month or more away from making our first turns, now is the time to get the skis and boards out of garage and take them into the light. What you will probably find if you didn’t summer prep them, are oxidized, rusty, burred edges; and bases that are dry and pitted, plus dusty top-sheets and sidewalls.
Before you can assess your gear for tuning, clean your skis with a micro-cloth and some citrus cleaner. Use an organic cleanser as the chemicals in many commercial cleaners are harsh and could deteriorate the top-sheet and base.
Your Goal This Winter
For a better day on the hill, keep your bases clean, flat and waxed and have edges that are either beveled or square, but sharp.
The Basic Inspection
With your skis or board flat, asses if the edges ride above the base (convex – base high) or do the edges extend below the base (concave – base low). To better determine this, run a true bar, a new metal scraper or any straight edge down the base at a 90 degree angle. Get an eye to base level when you do this and see if light comes through on the sides of the base. If there is light in these areas your base is convex. If you see light in the centre of the base, then your bases are concave.
A convex base will make it difficult for your gear to be set on edge and grip the snow, your boards will tend to wander.
A concave base it feels like you are on “rails”. The edges dig into the snow and the equipment refuses to respond to a rider’s inputs.
If either situation occurs determine if you have the skills and tools to level the base yourself. Most folks will pass on this job and allow a professional shop to bring the gear back to a near factory finish. This process if done properly requires a stone grinder and will cost $50-$60 depending on the work that needs completing.
Once completed – your work in maintaining a level base is an easy task.
If you are committed to keeping your gear tuned this ski season, find a ventilated warm spot in your home to set-up a tuning bench. I use a collapsible 1” thick work table (3’ x 4’) that I can move around if my space gets taken over. Most ski and board vices are set-up to clamp to 1” to 4” thick table top. Tuning vices provide a high measure of precision to your tuning work. These are not cheap, but they should last a lifetime.
For years I have stored all my wax and tuning accessories in a sticker clad metal tool box. This simple item has bounced around with me for decades. Be sure that when you are looking for a ski tuning box that it is deep enough to hold your iron, vices and other gear.
The tuning basics include: metal and plastic scrapers, base cleaner, base brushes, single-cut files, tuning stone, wax iron, and assorted waxes. You can add so much more to the mix as your skills improve. A professional shop will steer you in the right direction.
SKI SMART – SKI OFTEN
PRE-SEASON EQUIPMENT ASSESSMENT
Saturday, 12 November 2011 15:17