I always believed that living in the Midwest would be reason enough not to service my ski equipment and snowboard. In a typical winter, I only use them 5-7 days each, and thought I was avoiding damaging conditions.
After a few runs last season I noticed my skis wouldn’t get up to speed, and when traveling across Snowstar’s mid-January packed ice I couldn’t cut a line no matter how hard I dug my edges in. When my gear was new, the steel edges were razor sharp and cut into almost anything (even unintentionally, like my new ski pants I laid them on in my car).
When I got back to work and asked our ski equipment techs, Doug and Paul, to check out my gear, they confirmed what I suspected—my skis were ready for a tune up. The base of ski equipment is made of a material that is designed to hold wax. When the wax gets worn away that material is no longer fast atop the snow surface. Additionally the metal edges that are designed to carve turns when dug into the surface get worn down over time, even on soft snow. The harder the skiing conditions, the more those sharp edges round and dull.
Here’s a pretty good idea of what a used up base looks like. The wax is worn down, and the ski isn’t going to slide across the top of the snow like it’ supposed to. If your skis look like this, they definitely need a tune up!
The Bushwhacker ski shop is pretty amazing, considering we are in the middle of the corn and sixteen hours from the slopes of Summit County. Doug and Paul have been tuning, mounting, waxing, repairing, and making skis and boards go fast for years. The shop opens mid-November and closes in the Spring. A Basic Tune up (which can be needed in as little as 5-6 days on snow) costs just $35. Your skis or board get freshly sharpened edges, a rockin’ fast layer of wax on the base, and confidence that once you get on snow, your ski equipment will be as good as new.
This is a pretty good example of what our ski shop is capable of. Even if skis look damaged, often times they can still be repaired. You’ll have to bring it in for an inspection so we can know for sure though.
Most modern ski bindings are very well made, but manufacturers recommend getting a torque and safety check every season. Metal bolts can loosen over time, because of the freeze-thaw effect on the material. Snowboard gear should also be visually examined before use, and it doesn’t hurt to make sure those bolts are tight that hold on the bindings. Sometimes gear breaks down without warning, but most accidents happen when the gear is worn or deteriorated.
Like all repairs in life there are a few things you can do at home. In between tune-ups you can use rub on wax to keep the base fast, or buy a cheap iron and teach yourself how to wax like a pro. Small files can be used on nicks and gouges of your edges (learn the technique first). If you happen to damage your ski equipment beyond your know how just bring it in to the Whacker and Doug and Paul will fix you right up.