By Todd Carroll
You’ve had a terrific NASTAR season. If you tune your own skis, now’s the time for a performance review of not only your gear but also your tools — what went right? What went wrong? How can you make the best changes for next season? Then, you can follow some simple tips for storing your skis like the pros do.
1. Review your tools
Are they clean, undamaged, and otherwise in good shape? Remember, overused tools reduce the quality of work, so take care of your tools. Spring is a great time to take advantage of retail sales on everything from bevel guides to training wax. This is also a great opportunity to replace brushes that have worn from everyday use all season.
2. Examine your workspace
What does it look like? A long season can lead to big leftover messes, and a reboot of your tuning bench now can work wonders come next season. Clean skis are fast skis, and you simply won’t get clean work out of a dirty workspace.
3. Check your travel setup
Are you in need of a replacement bulb (or three) for your mobile lights? What about that broken thumbscrew that meant you could never really get your bench level? Again, cleaning up your bench and toolboxes leaves you ready to go for whatever your next trip might be.
4. Look at your skis
Do any of them need to be rehabbed? You’ll likely find, at a minimum, that they need some sidewall removed or “back-filed,” but what about a stone-grind? Chemically-treated snow (for spring races), dirt, grease and even snowmaking chemicals all combine to leave your skis potentially ready for a refresh. While good ski shops’ hours may be truncated now, you should be able to find one that can get your skis back into top shape and ready for any future purpose.
5. Look at your skills
Which tuning skills need improvement? Maybe you’re uncomfortable using an aggressive steel brush, or have doubts about whether you’re getting your edges as finely honed as possible. How good a job are you doing with using enough wax and keeping your iron temperature in check? With no pressure on you to get things done for training or racing, you can fine-tune your daily routine and add or subtract steps to maximize your output.
6. Take out your notebook
While you are working on creating the most efficient process possible, keep notes! You can skip a notation of each pass of a file, but having something written down to look back come fall will help bring back the routine as quickly and painlessly as possible.
7. Service and store your skis
Skis you plan to keep can get a breather for a while, but then you can go back to work on them. Speed skis, especially, can get wax cycled through them at least once a week. You probably won’t have a chance to ski on them for a while, but you can always go to town after scraping with stiff fiber or brass brush to “round out” the valleys and a green abrasive pad to “knock down” the peaks of their structure.
Don’t forget to:
• Make sure all of your skis are thoroughly dry, then file and stone them as you would for a training session.
• Brush with a good steel brush and then perform a hot-scrape.
• Brush again, and then put on an extra thick coat of wax; remember to use more wax, a lower iron temp, and higher ironing speed than normal.
With your skis effectively sealed off from the outside world, you can store them in a dry place until they are ready for use, sale or handing down. (And if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can take them out of storage once in a while to keep your skills as sharp as your edges all summer.)
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