Taking care of your skis and boards
Story by Scott Peterson
Maintaining your snow sliding tools can add years to their lives and, as we all know, the equipment is expensive. Basic maintenance at home can be rewarding and save you money, but you’ll want to leave the big repairs and edging to the professionals.
Skis and boards have specific edge bevels that should be maintained. Grinding or filing them too often can result in losing too much steel on the edge, causing a base high board that needs to be ground down. More often than not, all you may need is to get the burrs knocked down and the edges polished for a smooth, sharp carve.
Beginning of the season. Avoid the rush and get your equipment checked and tuned up ahead of time. Waiting for opening day usually results in the shop not being able to do it right away. They’re busy adjusting bindings for boots purchased off-season, mounting new bindings and skis, waxing and detuning new boards and performing maintenance that could have been done at the end of the last season. If you have older equipment, use it, as you might not want to ride your new $900 skis when the ski area first opens. Even though the shops like your business, it’s still sad to see a new pair of skis with the edge ripped out on opening day.
Mid season. Depending on how often you ride and if you avoid rocks, a good hot wax should be done every five to ten times you ride. If your boards are running slow or the bases look dry, it’s probably time for a wax. Inspect your boards each day after you ride for dry bases, rough edges and, most importantly, base damage. If water gets to the wood core, it will likely rot and your board will be ruined. If you get it to a ski tech right away it will probably be repairable.
End of the season. Spring snow can be very granular and abrasive. It seems to wear the wax from your bases sooner than usual so you might need to wax more often. On your last day of the season, get your boards tuned and waxed for next year. Whether you wax your own boards or have the shop do it, it’s important to not scrape the wax to protect your base and edges, and turn the din down on your ski binding to save the tensioning spring. Keep your boards in a dry, safe place to avoid the rusty edges that seem to happen in our damp climate. X
Scott Peterson owns Scott’s Ski Service in Glacier and has been working on skis and boards for 25 years.