Top End Tuning Series #2: Man Made Snow Maintenance

18 Dec 2014 12:44 PM | John Ellis (Administrator)

Remember- this is for the obsessive tuners looking for TOP performance.

In the Northwest, we are used to soft, abundant snow most of the time, with occasional periods of Ice. The wear produced by Man Made Snow is quite different, and must be compensated for in order to keep the skis in top shape. Man Made snow is ABRASIVE/aggressive, and ski flatness and bevels can change within 1 or 2 days of hard skiing.

Typically in NW snow, Bases are flattened at the beginning of the season, then (assuming no rock damage) they can be left alone for 10-15 days. Man Made Snow is so abrasive that base flatness must be checked (and maybe re-flattened) every couple of days.  Base and Side Bevels that normally last 10-15 ski days can need resetting very couple of days too.

So the bad part of this is that routine maintenance is much more involved now.  The good part of this situation is that your skis will ski very consistently day to day- assuming you’re doing all that the skis really require, not just the stuff you are used to doing.

Here is the order for Daily Maintenance in Low Snow/Man Made conditions:

  1. Deburr base and side edges with diamond or ceramic stones.
  2. Check flatness with a true-bar, light, and any auxiliary tools that are your standard process.
  3. Flatten bases using Base File, Planer, Ray’s Way Flattener, etc.
  4. Step 2 or 3 can sometime be skipped. If you flatten every day, you may not need to actually check flatness. If you check every day, you may not need to actually flatten. Snow is different every day at every area, so avoid assumptions.
  5. If you removed base material in step 4, edge bevels must be reset on both base and side- especially the base edge. So- remark the edges with a felt pen every 6 inches or so, then (using the appropriate file-guide and FINE or VERY FINE file) reset the base bevel.
  6. Side file (using the appropriate guide and FINE file) the ski. But only 1-3 overlapping passes. DO NOT OVER-FILE!
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 using med-fine diamond stones on the side and fine stones on the base until the edges are consistently very sharp. 

    Optional (step 7.5). Repeat steps 5 and 6 with Ceramic and/or Arkansas stones and finally gummi stones unless the edge is both incredibly sharp and perfectly smooth.

  8. Rub med-hard (red) wax ONTO the edges and polish the wax INTO the edges. This final step will delay rust formation, make the edge slightly safer to touch, and (possibly) save .01-.02 seconds a run on a race ski.
  9. Scrape the bases lightly with a plexi scraper to remove surface dirt, exposed base-hairs, etc.
  10. Polish the base to further remove hairs and clean

    Optional (step 10.5) Repeat steps 9 and 10 until your polishing cloth shows no further hair removal is possible. This is required for Championship Level tech skis and all speed skis used in a race

  11. Wax Wash (Warm Scrape) using soft wax
  12. Scrape, brush, and polish

    Optional (step 12.5) repeat 11 and 12 until scrapings are perfectly clean. If setting up for a cold weather wax, use progressively colder waxes as you warm scrape and repeat.
  13. Apply wax of the day, either by iron or by Ray’s Way Waxer. If high fluro, I believe Ray’s Way is the ONLY way to wax.
  14. If ironing, wait until cool (10-15 minutes for hard waxes, 2+ hours for soft waxes) then scrape and brush.
  15. (Alternate to 14) If using a Ray’s Way, you are ready to ski… or if adding overlay, scrape and brush.
  16. For most top-end races, junior level and above, you will probably be adding overlay if the conditions and discipline justify the expense. For training- no overlay!!

Pictures and possibly Sprongo video to be added soon.

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