Ski Tuning for Racers Subscribe Pub

Some thoughts on tuning your skis as a beginning racer. If you are a high level racer, you don't need to read further - your tuning guy knows more about tuning skis than I. For a lot more info, see Ski Tuning Guides.

As a parent and coach, I read a lot about ski tuning and have developed a routine. There's a lot of material out there, some of it conflicting, so I figured I write down my routine, as it may help you in creating your own routine. Ski tuning for junior racers is about settling into a routine that you can do fast, late at night, which incorporates the most important elements of ski tuning while minimizing errors.

If you got new skis, see Ski Tuning - new skis. If you don't know what angles to use, see Ski Tuning - edge bevels. For more info on equipment and more, see the age-specific guides: U10 | U12 and U14 | U16 and U18.

Every night after training

Bring the skis inside from the car or they will rust. Wipe the skis of water, then rub on some wax and rub it in with a felt pad, mostly around the boot area, where it wears off. It takes 10 minutes at the most, for 4 pairs - I know. Let the base get polished by the morning training runs...

If it was icy and you expect more tomorrow, polish/maintain the edges, using the 200 and 400 diamond stones. If the ski base looks dry, hot wax it, to keep it consistent and protect it from abrasive snow.

Normal maintenance routine

Every week of training (2 days of training) or before race day, it's inspection and repair time.

  • clean the base with alcohol and a brass brush. I do not use wax cleaner, I just wipe with alcohol and dry cloth immediately - especially in the spring. Might do a hot scrape as well, if the alcohol pulls some dirt.
  • inspect the bases and repair any serious gouges, with melted PTEX, then metal scraper, then sanding or special tool - read Base repair
  • run your finger along the edges and look for dings or dull spots. If the edges are still ok, leave them alone.
  • repair dings with the rough diamond stone 100 - you can generally do this free hand, no guide needed at this point - the idea is to remove hardened steel

Sharpen for carving

Now, polish/maintain the edges. I usually test the edges to see if they need some attention - soft snow and light skiers doesn't really wear them off. My idea of that is to scrape my fingernail and see how sharp the edge still is - does it shave some off or not?

If it doesn't, then use the diamond stones - just a 400 (and maybe a 200), since it's for training. If they feel dull, start with a smooth file, 1-2 passes and don't forget to deburr the base edge - run a diamond stone lightly along the base edge. Also, get a gummi stone and rub it tip to tail, lightly.

Now clean the base - if you think it's dirty or you have used a file on the side edge, hot-scrape it. Otherwise, just the soft steel brush a little and then the brass brush (keep a separate set of brushes for cleaning and another one for wax).

Waxing for gliding

Now hot wax the skis. Let them cool for 20-30 minutes and scrape then brush lightly. I use a rotating horse hair brush and do two passes, no buffing. Here's a simple guide and there's no real need to complicate it beyond this, for training:

For training, I use an all temperature wax and one for cold, for under -15C.

For a race, this process is altered a bit - see more about Tuning skis for a race.

Further reading

Here are some good articles:

Read on for even more Ski Tuning Ideas.

The next time you are brushing your skis out after scraping & waxing, take a close look at the “dust” that your brushes bring up. “The dust should be pure white, not grey” according to Ales. White dust indicates a clean base, and grey is a contaminated (dirty) base. 

Or, see the Swix Alpine SKi Preparation - Racing, under Download/tech manuals (their website links are too bad to paste here). Also, the base prep and waxing guide, same place.

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By: Razie | 2012-10-05 .. 2018-03-18 | Tags: post , tuning , racing , handbook , improve-skiing

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