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 Basic Tuning

Why Tune?

1. Enjoyment - The most important reason for using wax on your skis or board is that waxing will increase your enjoyment of your time on the slopes! You pay a lot for your sport so it is sensible to ensure you enjoy it as much as possible! A waxed board or pair of skis turns more easily, gives a smoother ride, and is easier and is less tiring to control. This means that you will have a better time in the mountains, you will be less tired and safer.

2. Speed - The second reason for using wax is to make your skis or board go faster – particularly important if you are racing (even against your friends) or training.

3. Protection - Finally wax helps keep your equipment in top condition –new gear is expensive, so take care of it!


Step 1 - Check the Bases

Are there gouges or scratches?  If the gouges are next to the metal edge or very large then it may be worth taking your skis to a reputable dealer to have them patched - otherwise you can do it yourself.

Take a repair candle and light one end. It is better to use a lighter or a small blow torch than a match as there is less carbon in the flame. Let it drip onto your metal scraper until the flame is blue (no carbon). Be careful not to let it drip onto your skin as it is VERY hot! Then move the burning candle over the gouge and let it drip until the hole has filled and a little bit more. Let it cool for at least 30 minutes. Use your metal scraper to scrape off the excess. You may need to repeat the process. Finally slightly roughen your repair with a brass brush or a course structure pad- this will help the repair absorb wax later.

Step 2 - Sharpen Your Edges

Remember each edge has two faces the one level with the base (base edge) and the one perpendicular to the base (side edge).

You have just created you flat ski so the base edge will also be flat (00). Many people like to put a small base bevel on the base edge of 0.50 to 10. This makes the skis less catchy and allows a smoother initiation of the turn. This is an easy process using a base bevel tool and needs only to be done once.

On the other hand the side edge requires regular care. Most people have their side edge set at either 90 degrees  or 88 degrees . (Racers will often have an even sharper angle but this can make it difficult to “get off the edge”).  90 degrees is fine for softer conditions but 88 degrees will give you better grip -particularly on hard pistes and ice! The only disadvantage of 88 degrees is that the edge becomes blunt faster.

There are many different edging tools available (you cannot do this freehand!) from the very easy to use DataWax “Get a Grip” to more expensive variable angle tools. Choose one and use it regularly.

To use an edging tool place it on the edge of the ski  with the face on the ski base. Press firmly on the base and draw the toll along the length of the ski. Make sure the ski is held solidly in a vice and keep the base facing away from you. This allows you to press firmly on the base. Don’t press too hard on the edge -you don’t want to remove too much edge!

Once your edge is sharp a diamond stone is often all that you need to keep them sharp.

Step 3 - Apply Your Wax

Waxing is critical to the performance of your skis. Waxing helps your skis slide more smoothly and turn more easily. More fun, more enjoyment and less tiring.

Rub On waxes or liquid waxes in a sachet are great but nothing beats a hot wax! Hot waxing allows the wax to penetrate the base, keeps the in best condition and also lasts longer.

There are many waxes to choose from but a universal wax saves making too many choices.

To hot wax - touch your chosen wax to the iron and drip it down the length of the ski. Then iron the wax until smooth. It is very important to keep the iron moving.

Make your last pass of the iron is from tip to tail. Leave the wax to cool for at least 40 minutes and then scrape off the excess (it is the wax IN the base not ON the base, that has most benefit). For a perfect finish brush the scraped wax with a nylon or horsehair brush or use a soft structure pad.

That is it!  Quick, easy, and very satisfying.   Best of all your skiing will improve as if by magic!