Ski Tuning 101

There comes a point in a ski’s lifespan when it might seem like it’s time for retirement, and while that time certainly does come, keeping up with smaller fixes and basic maintenance is an important part of improving the longevity and performance of any set of skis. Aaron Den Bleyker, of Double Diamond Ski Shop in Lionshead Village, says that regular upkeep is an imperative part of avoiding bigger equipment problems, and that there’s really no such thing as over tuning.

“A lot of people are worried about tuning their skis too much because they think it removes a ton of material,” he explains, “That’s really not the case–it’s rare you’re going to tune through a pair of skis before you’re looking to retire or replace them.”



Specifically, heading to your local ski technician for a temperature-appropriate wax and edge work is something that can’t be overdone to improve ski performance. Hard-packed snow, in particular, creates rough spots and burrs along ski edges. Similarly, skiers may find that the cold wax they put on the week before isn’t the right match for sticky, groomed snow on a blue bird day.

“You can’t wax your skis too much,” says Troy Goldberg, owner of Troy’s Ski Shop in Vail Village. “Waxing every day is great, waxing once a week is minimal. Getting your edges sharpened is more  round every 5-7 ski days depending on how hard the snow is.”

Early season and late spring, in particular, are the best times to invest in bigger repairs. Ask about   full tune to clean up wear and tear from the beginning of the season—or end of the previous season—as ski shops have machines that are able to buff out bigger snags along ski edges, fill in nicks on the base, and apply a new, seasonal structure, which is similar to tire tread, to the ski’s base, as well.

“If you’ve put a deep base structure into your skis and you have a spring wax, you’re going to head out early season and feel like you have Velcro on your skis,” says Den Bleyker. “We do more of the bigger ski-tune overhauls for people early season, and then when we switch over to spring skiing around March is another good time to come in for a bigger tune up.”

The beginning of the season is another great time to have a local ski technician take a look at the din settings and release of your bindings, and make any adjustments as needed for the upcoming winter.

“Once a year, it’s an excellent idea to get your bindings tested in a full function test,” explains Goldberg, “We set the bindings up for your age, weight, height, skier-type, boot size, and then we release it in all directions with basically a torque wrench and make sure it’s releasing to the set standards.”



The propensity for some to skip a trip to the ski tuner and try their hand at some do-it-yourself maintenance might be enticing, but not knowing the basics—or having the wrong equipment can have just the opposite effect on a pair of skis. Goldberg explains that even basic repairs can turn into major fixes when attempted incorrectly.

“It’s a lot easier to do more harm than good,” he explains. “One thing I like to tell people is sharpen the side edge of the ski as much as you want, but don’t take a file to the base edge your base edge bevel—that can change the angle of your base edge and can lead to quite a bit of your ski needing to be removed.”

A diamond stone, in particular, is a good piece of equipment to keep in an at-home tuning kit, as it’s the professional’s go-to choice for lightly buffing troubled edges. However, if an at-home repair isn’t an option, feel free leaving it to the experts.