Written by Jas Bruce – BASI trainer, Eurotest opener, Interski demo team member and New Generation Val D’sere RM.
I always get told that ski tuning is too difficult and it takes too long. Prepping your skis should not take a long time… if your skis are kept in good condition you should be able to tune your skis in 10-15minutes (initial ski tuning for brand new skis should take more time). What takes the time is when you leave your skis for a considerable length of time not giving them any attention and then try to service them…
- Bench and vices
- 2 rubber bands (for holding brakes down)
- file guide and clamp
- base bevel tool
- 8″ hard-chromed file
- diamond file
- sidewall remover
- gummy stone
- 2 brushes: brass brush & nylon horsehair brush
- ski waxing iron
- sandpaper (320 or 400 grit wet/dry type aluminium oxide sandpaper)
- glove (a thin gardening type glove to protect your hand)
There is no need to base bevel your skis too often. If you are tuning regularly perhaps once a month is a good idea.
When placing a ski into the vices, always have the base facing away from you and the bindings towards you.
With the file clamped to the file guide, pull the file towards you. Long and smooth strokes… try to take even number of strokes along the whole edge. No need to “hack” or press too hard.
If you are struggling to remove any edge then you may have to remove more sidewall or remove the thin aluminium strip which runs in-between the sidewall and the side edge. You need a specific sidewall remover tool for this.
After edging with a file, smooth off with a diamond file (in the same file guide). This should be used with water for lubrication and to wash away the ground material.
If your edges are kept in good condition, sometimes all you have to do is use a diamond file to smooth the edges off… you do not have to use a file every time you service your skis (as long as you are doing skis regularly).
Use a gummy stone to dull the tip and the tail (as much as you want… personal preference).
When brushing, waxing and scraping… always work TIP to TAIL.
Use a brass brush to remove dirt before waxing.
You can rub wax onto the ski before dripping the wax on to protect the base a little if your iron is too hot. It also helps to spread wax out and you can rub one wax on and drip a different type/temperature of wax (a way of mixing).
Don’t worry about little scratches and dents… this is very common. Unless the dent or hole is next to the edge or down to the core of the ski (“core shot”) then there is no need to fill it in with ptex.
Use plenty of wax (although not too much… not having wax pouring over your edges). Use the iron to drip the wax on in a zig zag pattern before melting the wax into the base.
Keep the iron moving smoothly from tip to tail so the wax is evenly spread. Allow the skis to become warm – you should feel the heat through the top sheet of the ski.
The longer you leave the wax on your skis the better. Ideally store in a warm room temperature and allow the wax to cool and sink into the base.
When scraping, tilt the scrapper away from you and use your thumb to press and push the scrapper down the ski to remove the wax. Keep scraping until you can pull no more wax out.
It is very hard to scrape with a blunt scrapper. Use sandpaper to sharpen the scraper by moving back and forth (lining the side up with a file).
Finish the service by brushing with a nylon horsehair brush. Tip to tail – you can never brush too much.