Ski & Snowboard CareIf you want to keep your skis or snowboard performing like they’re designed to, it’s important to tune them regularly. Having sharp edges, a flat base, and a good wax job can make all the difference between an epic and terrible day.
When to Tune Your Equipment
Depending on how often you go to the mountain, you may only need to tune your equipment once a year; if you ride a lot you may need work done weekly. On average you should tune your equipment every 3-5 days of riding.
When your bases appear dry, they will turn white/grey in color and look fuzzy. Waxing on a regular basis not only makes you go faster but also makes turning and handling more predictable and protects your bases from abrasion.
If your equipment base is not flat – meaning, there are high spots or significant gouges in the base – they won’t perform like they’re designed to. Any scratches on the base of your equipment should be tuned to maintain the performance of your equipment on the slopes.
The perfect edge is a sharp, clean and smooth edge. Edges can be damaged and dulled by routine use, rocks, park riding, oxidation and road chemicals. If your edges are visibly damaged or rusted, have burrs from hitting rocks or park features, won’t hold on an edge and/or are dull to the touch they should be sharpened. *Be careful when checking your edges, they may be sharp.
Before a ski/snowboard trip. Conditions are always changing so this is the best way to get the best temp of wax, so you can squeeze in as many runs as possible.
Major damage should be repaired ASAP, this includes a separated top sheet, broken or warped edges or deep gouges in the base. If you ride with damage, the damage can get worse.
Tune at HomeWhether you go to a professional or do it yourself, there is always some tuning you can easily perform at home with the right tools. Tuning at home is a fantastic way to maintain your equipment in the comfort of your home & save money. Starter kits are common and usually come with the basic tools, a great kit to start with is the Oneball Hot Wax Kit.
Tune Kit List
- Not a clothes iron, a dedicated wax iron is a good investment if you plan on waxing your own equipment regularly; they are calibrated in degrees rather than fabric types, and hold a specific wax temperature more accurately.
- Temperature-specific waxes are based on air temperature and are designed to work best within a certain range of air temperatures, providing increased performance. If you must choose between temperature ranges, select the colder range.
- All-temp or universal wax is designed to work well in any temperature or snow conditions. It may be a good choice if the temperature varies a lot where you ride.
Stiff nylon brush & Horsehair or soft nylon brush:
- When brushing, start stiffer and progress to finer, softer brushes as you work. The idea is to leave only the thinnest layer of wax on the surface of the base and allow the structure (the fine texture of grooves and divots) of the base to show through.
- Brush from tip to tail in short to medium strokes, about 6” at a time, and keep at it until the base is uniformly oily and glossy looking.
- Make sure your equipment has cooled completely before scraping wax or base material.
- Plastic scrapers are best for wax removal.
- Metal scrapers are best for P-Tex & base material removal.
- Base cleaner to make a diluted solution to clean bases of skis/snowboards, and to clean your tuning tools.
- Side edge & base edge sharpening tool.
Gum stone (clean up surface rust, or used to detune edges).
- Edges are normally smoothed and de-burred by making several passes over them with a gummy stone. Gummy stones come in varying degrees of hardness and remove small burrs without taking off too much of the sharpened edge.
Files to remove deep rust patches & burrs
- Diamond files are not cheap, and should be used with water for lubrication to ensure their longevity. If your edges are in good shape, a medium diamond file (200 or 400 grit) and file guide will allow you to maintain your equipment over the course of the season with an annual visit to your shop for tune up.
- Steel files for edge maintenance, file tip to tail and be sure to apply light pressure only in the correct direction – files are directional and only cut one way. As with diamond files, it’s best to use a file guide to maintain your preferred edge bevels.
- Apron & gloves will keep you clean & your hands safe.
- If your weight, height, age, boots, or your ski ability changes, go get your ski bindings adjusted before your next trip. All of these factors are used to calculate the safest release settings.
- Calibrate your ski bindings at the start of the season, this is an effective way to make sure there are no broken pieces and bindings are functioning properly to ensure a proper release.
- If your bindings break or you notice a missing piece, have it repaired or replaced by a certified binding technician ASAP.
- When storing your equipment, don't just toss your gear in the garage and deal with the rusty fallout. Instead, take some time to prepare your skis for storage. This will help keep the rust away, prolong the life of your equipment, and improve how your equipment performs.
- Where you store your equipment is one of the most important elements in keeping your equipment in good condition. Store your equipment in a cool, dry environment and out of direct sunlight. Garages, basements and attics tend to be a little risky.
- Always completely dry off your equipment before storing, any moisture can lead to rust.
- If possible, store your equipment off the ground. Moisture will pool, so if you lean your equipment against a wall you may notice rust at the tail of your ski/snowboard.
- Apply storage wax to your equipment in the off-season to protect your equipment from air, moisture and dirt. Storage wax will keep the bases moisturized and edges rust-free.
- Store equipment in ski/snowboard bags to protect your equipment during the off-season. This shelters them from sunlight and dust and protects them from picking up any unwanted nicks. ***Ensure your equipment is completely dry before storing it in any kind of bag, any moisture will cause rust to form.***