It is critical that kids show up with properly tuned skis on training an race days (namely all the time!) You can take skis to a good shop (some on the east side are World Cup and Sturtevant's in Bellevue), but for routine tuning, it is a good idea to learn the basics. Here are the basic ski care you should be following from CMAC's resident tuning guru John Ellis. (For lots of tuning tips all the way through very advanced techniques, check out his Tuning Blog!)
Basic regular tuning
The key is to tune everyday, then most of our skis won't need much work. This is EXACTLY what I do on a daily basis to keep our skis fresh, and I will include pictures of EXACTLY what equipment I use to do it.
One disclaimer: This is a good, quick, easy tune- but after 4-5 days of tunes like this, I normally do a bit more. I will end this article with the "bit more" that I do.
- Deburr/sharpen Side Edge. I set almost ALL of our skis to a 3 degree side bevel for simplicity and consistency. I grab a "Side of Beast Pro" 3 degree guide and the coarsest diamond stone I have (generally a DMT extra-EXTRA coarse 100 grit) and a shot of SVST Secret Sauce. I then work back and forth along 1 side edge until it feels and sounds consistent. If there are a few particularly damaged areas, I spend extra time on them until they are smooth. Then I repeat on each of the other 3 edges on the pair of skis, cleaning and re-lubing the stone between each edge.
- Deburr/smooth Base Edge. I use base bevels from .5 degree all the way up to 1.5 degree, but I always use a fine diamond stone for this work. My preferred setup is a FSK sleeve and Moonstone 600 grit 4 inch stone. DRY/CLEAN ALL EDGES COMPLETELY WITH A PAPER TOWEL before moving to step 3.
- Prep Base: I use a coarse brass brush (not a roto-brush) for this. I make 2-3 tip-to-tail passes on each ski followed by a plastic scraper. That's IT!
- I use a Toko Universal Low Fluro wax for this. I drip plenty of wax (10-15 grams average per race ski, 20-25+ on the fat skis) on to the ski, then make 3 passes with the iron. If there are any dry spots, I add a little more wax. After 1 minute, I begin to SOFTLY scrape the wax with a plastic scraper, starting with the edges. Then I brush softly with the brass brush. 2-3 tip-to-tail brush strokes are enough.
You Are DONE!! With practice, this should take only 10-15 minutes a pair.
Apron, Wax, Iron, 600 stone, 80 stone, SKS base guide, Beast side guide, Scraper Gadget (in a rich cherry finish) and Swix Brass Brush.
A couple notes: the Toko wax I use seems to only be available currently through Tognar.com. It is the hardest, widest temp range wax with decent glide I have (yet) found. It is also one of the cheapest- which is great when you wax all the time.
The "bit more" every 4-5 days:
Swix World Cup (medium) file, sanding sponge, p-tex candle, SVST Secret Sauce
- Edges: After several days of smoothing damage, you may need to restore sharpness. I use a file for this work. Specifically, I use a medium SWIX World Cup file. 2-3 passes per side edge with this file is MORE than enough almost always. Be sure to stone the SIDE and BASE edges first to remove damage, and stone the BASE edge after to remove the working burr.
- Base: It may be time for some p-tex candle repair, and you should also brush the base thoroughly with a coarse Brass Brush to clean out and restore the structure. After that, scrape with a sharp scraper and wax-wash (warm scrape) with the softest wax you have. This will clean out much of the dirt and junk collected in the base.
- Top and sides: I use a sanding sponge to remove cuts and burrs along the top edges and sidewalls. This may NOT make the skis any faster, but it sure is nice to NOT have the skis cut hands and/or clothes!
All this work (the bit more) can be done in about 30 minutes with practice!