Are you ready for winter? Have you found your gear/ the kids’ gear and checked it still fits? Are the snow chains ready and waiting in the car, do you know how to fit them? Have you bought your passes, booked the kids into the FUNdamentals programme and planned a few adventures? Are you feeling fit? There are a few things to tick off the list! At Snow Sports NZ we’re lucky to have a team of experts on hand and happy to share a few tips to help you make the most of your winter season.
High up on the Getting Ready for Winter Priority List should be having your skis or snowboard tuned and waxed. There’s nothing worse than pulling your skis out of the cupboard on the first day of the season and finding the edges rusted over. We’ve got a few tips from one of the best in the business – Chris Rodgers was the Wax and Tuning Technician for the Park & Pipe team at the Sochi Olympic Games. Here’s what he has to say:
Q: Why do I need my skis/board tuned at the start of the season?
Most people haven’t touched their gear since last September in spring so you probably need to sharpen up those edges and get a fresh grind for that new winter snow and get some wax into your base.
Q: Can I do it myself? What’s the benefit of taking my gear to a professional ski tuner?
You can definitely look after your gear for the day-to-day stuff ,like de-burring your edges and waxing your base. You definitely want to think about taking your gear to a shop if your base is starting to look scratched up or your edges are feeling dull. The shops generally have specialised machines, which can get your gear looking like new again.
Q: What does a wax and tune actually involve?
It’s quite a process getting your equipment tuned. Most shops will start by filling in all scratches on your base with Ptex. Then they will belt grind your base until it is flat. After that they will they will grind the base over a stone grinder (puts a light pattern on you base to help you glide easier on the snow). Then they will sharpen your edges to a certain degree (depends how sharp you want your edges). Using special ski wax they drip it on your base and melt in it onto your base using a special waxing iron. After the wax has cooled to room temperature they then scrape the excess wax off with a plastic scraper and brush the base clear of any excess wax with a nylon or horse hair brush. The wax sinks into the pores of the ski and bonds to the base. The wax repels the water and helps prevent friction burn when it’s icy.
Q: How does a good wax and tune affect the way I ski or ride?
Having well-tuned equipment makes it easier to ski/snowboard. If your base is in good condition and waxed it will glide consistently over the snow and you won’t have to work so hard on flat parts of the mountain. If your edges are burr free and sharp you will have more control turning and stopping.
Q: How often should I get my gear tuned?
The frequency of getting you gear tuned really depends on how often you ride. You should wax every three-four days to protect your base from snow burn. You can see this when your base turns white up on your edges. I recommend taking it into the shops to tune maybe once every three weeks. For a couple of reasons: As the season progresses the snow temperatures change drastically and the pattern the stone grinder puts on your base may not suit the conditions a month later. It also allows you to keep a consistent clean base and edges. People spend a lot of money on skis and snowboards, always wanting the best model, but if the gear isn’t tuned and running well they may as well buy a second hand rental to save their money.
Any other tips?
Look after your gear! It makes such a big difference in the way it feels on the snow. If you take your gear to a shop, you should ask questions and find out what services they offer. Don’t be intimidated about doing stuff yourself. It’s easy to learn!
And have a great season!