How to Tune Your Ski and Snowboard Equipment
Posted on Thursday, 5th of June 2014
You’ve heard of tuning skis and snowboards and you’re keen to have a go yourself. Have you wondered why people do it and Thredbo sports shops are dedicated to it? Well, for three important reasons:
1. A tune will extends the life of your skis and snowboard;
2. Your equipment will look great and not as scratched up and worn;
3. You’ll have more speed on the slopes and control over cruddy conditions.
How do you know if you need a Thredbo ski tune?
Speak to any seasoned skier and they’ll generally say… you need it. Just like re-heeling shoes, realigning car tyres or grooming a horse, it’s good to take care of things.
If you find your skis crossing at the tips or you can’t seem to get an edge (your ski slips instead of gripping the snow) or everyone else seems to be overtaking you, you feel like you’re ‘not moving’, you could be overdue for a ski or snowboard tune.
Follow these simple steps for tuning whilst on your Thredbo holiday, you can find all the ski tuning equipment you need at Thredbo ski and snowboarding shops.
1. Bring skis or snowboard in out of the cold
This brings the equipment back to room temperature, which is easier to work in with wax and heat.
2. Put ski or snowboard in a vice
If you have access to a tuning room in your Thredbo accommodation this steadies the equipment for upcoming work, or if not put them upside down on two chairs brought together. Use a pocket sized whet stone (buy one in any good hardware or in a ski shop) rub this at 90 degrees to the ski edge running in short forward and backward strokes along the full length on each edge to take off any burs. Be careful not to nick your fingers on the ski edge.
3. Put new wax on
Use a conventional but now defunct old clothes iron. Don’t overheat the iron or the wax will smoke. Take a stick of “universal” wax (purchased from any Thredbo ski shop) and place it against the bottom of the equipment and run a thin bead of wax from tail to tip. Iron the wax in but keep the iron moving constantly to avoid overheating the ski base. Cover the whole base with wax.
4. Take excess wax off
Once the wax has cooled, take a plastic scraper (purchased from any Thredbo ski shop) and carefully scrape the wax from tip to tail three or four times. Enough to get the excess off. Then gently brush the wax, tip to tail with a new green plastic kitchen scourer (the green scourer you use to clean dishes).
A more expert touch?
Tuning your equipment is a skill, some enjoy it, like surfers may enjoy waxing a board, or a mountain bike rider tuning their gears. If you’re not confident to do it yourself or are time poor it’s best to leave it to the pros who do this on a daily basis.
A ’Stone Grinder Finish’ done by an expert is the easiest way to get quick results. These services are usually provided by high tech Thredbo sports shops and are advertised under the name ‘Micro Finish’ or ‘Crystal Glide Finish’.
Modern professional tuning machinery can produce a flat smooth base with a base edge bevel and a texture to suit the current snow conditions. Once your gear is in this state it is easy to maintain the tune with a bona fide hot wax program and a pocket stone.
There is an excellent shop here in Thredbo called Thredbo Ski Repair (ph. 02 6457 6351) at the base of the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift or Thredbo Sports at Friday Flats. Additionally, if you want any advice on the condition of your skis drop into the office at the Lantern Thredbo Apartments and get Ian or Jill to have a look at them.
The same principles apply to rental skis (and not just ones you own). Thredbo Sports have a complete workshop and can do a tune if they need it, Thredbo Ski and Outdoor (ph. 02 6457 6007) in the Village Square next to the Real Estate office or drop in to Larry Adler’s in Nuggets Crossing in Jindabyne.
It can be touch and go with ski boots, whether you get a great pair that last you a couple of decades and are comfortable, or whether you purchase new ones and they pinch and freeze your feet. The trick is:
– get them properly fitted by a professional, not a friend;
– go for quality every time. This is not the time to scrimp and save, buy well;
– wear thin socks. There are great woollen socks available at Thredbo ski shops, the ‘thick sock’ phenomenon has gone the way of the dinosaur;
– if you particularly feel the cold purchase boot heaters;
– it is recommended to get orthotics (special boot liner custom made to your foot particularities) made for your ski boots if they pronate or have any feet issues;
– if you are carrying extra weight, comfortable ski boots may especially be a challenge. Take your time in the ski boot shop getting that correct fit and be prepared to do a couple of the steps (orthotics, good quality boots) outlined above.
Comfortable ski boots are key to a good ski day. They can mean the difference between staying out all day and being warm, dry and comfortable or coming in after just one run.
Most modern ski boots have buckles that are ‘Micro Adjustable’ so that you can make fine adjustments to the tension of the closed buckles. The difference between one latch and the next can be too loose or too tight.
By playing with the micro adjusts between latches you can find the perfect mix of support and comfort. Always do ski boot buckles up at the end of a ski day to retain great boot shape and store them in boot rooms for warmth. Pull out boot liners if your boots are extra damp.
For snowboard boots with complex lacing systems or ratchet adjustable systems, it is easy to overtighten boots. Make sure you step it up gradually and don’t yank laces too hard at the start.
If you haven’t been on snow for a while, be prepared for that first morning to be a period of tweaking the dials or laces on your boots here and there. You may have skied somewhere significantly colder or warmer on your last trip. Adjust to the conditions. Feel free to ask Ian or Jill at Lantern Thredbo Apartments if unsure, or go and see Thredbo Ski and Outdoor in the Village Square or the Rossignol Pro Shop at the Valley Terminal.
Take the time to tune and care for your ski equipment and you will have the time of your life on snow.
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