Alpine Ski Tuning Information

Alpine Ski Tuning Information
Tuning your skis will keep them at optimum performance levels. How often you tune your skis will depend on how frequently you ski and how hard you are on your gear. Generally, if you ski over a rock or a tree, you'll need to tune your skis. If you are a recreational skier, tuning your skis at least once a year is a good reference point. Many shops offer tuning services at $50 and up, but it is not too hard to do it yourself.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Work bench with vice grips
  • Whetstone
  • Base bevel guide
  • Edge bevel guide
  • Spring clamp
  • Diamond stone
  • Ptex candle
  • Metal scraper
  • Plastic scraper
  • Wax
  • Waxing iron
Step 1
Mount the skis bottom side up inside the vice grips on your work bench. While it is possible to tune skis without a vice grip, holding the ski rigid inside the grips makes it much easier. Run your fingers along the edges of your skis, looking for rough spots or burrs. Take the whetstone and use the spring clamp to clip it to the edge bevel guide. Wet the whetstone with water and then place the whetstone flat against the ski edge, with the edge bevel guide touching the ski base. Run the whetstone along the burrs on the edges until they are removed.
Step 2
Remove burrs along the bottom of the ski edge by placing the diamond stone flat against the ski base with part of the stone touching the edge and running the stone along the edges, just like you did with the whetstone. Use the base bevel guide if you are worried about keeping the diamond stone at the proper level.

Once all burrs have been removed, use the diamond stone on the side edges with the edge bevel guide to sharpen your edges.
Step 3
Fill in gouges in the ski base with the ptex candle. Locate gouges in the base and light the ptex candle, then hold it over the gouge and let the ptex drip into the area. Allow the ptex to cool, then take the metal scraper and, holding it at a 45-degree angle, scrape off the excess ptex until it only remains in the repaired area. You may need to use sandpaper to sand the area around the gouge before using the ptex candle if the gouge has left pieces curled up on the base.
Step 4
Preheat the waxing iron to the appropriate temperature. Hold the wax against the waxing iron and let a little bit of it drip along the base of the ski. Use the iron to iron the wax in from front to back. Let the wax cool, then use the plastic scraper to remove excess wax, scraping from front to back at a 45-degree angle.

Tips & Warnings

There are a wide variety of waxes on the market. For alpine skis, you need a glide wax, not a grip wax. More advanced skiers, especially racers, will want a fluorocarbon wax, which is available in both temperature-specific waxes and universal waxes.

Article Written By Candace Horgan

Candace Horgan has worked as a freelance journalist for more than 12 years. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Denver Post" and "Mix." Horgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and history.

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