So besides using base/edge repair
techniques that I normally do not have to, this season is also giving me the opportunity to experiment more with Edge Bevel- Base and Side edge bevel
. This is very misunderstood area of Ski Tuning, so I will attempt to shed a little light on the subject.
: The bevel angle chosen will determine the "ski feel-" forgiving vs. extremely responsive at the two ends of the spectrum.
This will determine the "power" of the ski- but with more power comes less forgiving- and less durable.
Remember: ALL SKIS MUST BE FLAT BEFORE BEGINNING BEVELING. The bevel guides rest on the base so if the base is not flat, the bevel will not be accurate.
Here are my beveling guidelines:
Youngest skiers (age 1-5 skis <110 CM): 1 degree base bevel, 1 degree side bevel (90 degrees)- and gummy-stone the edges down to remove the “edge.” All burrs should be eliminated. These skiers need a very friendly, forgiving ski. Keep the skis flat, structured and well waxed too so that they will glide and turn as easily as possible.
Young Hot Shot (age 3-6 skis 110-125 CM). Same tuning specs as above, except you can leave the edges a little sharper- only gummy stone them to smooth the burrs. Wax every day, and deburr the edges every day.
Beginning Racers (age 6-8 skis 120-130 CM): If your young racers are beginning to use Race Style skis, you can begin to introduce acute angled edges. Stay with a 1 degree base bevel, but use a 2 degree side bevel. Smooth with a gummy after sharpening, but make sure the edge stays fairly sharp.
Developing Mighty Mites (age 7 -10 skis 125-150): 1 degree base bevel. The older, stronger skiers (of this group) can use a 3 degree side bevel- BUT ONLY IF THE SKIS ARE NEW ENOUGH AND WILL NOT BE HANDED DOWN. A 88 degree edge (90 – 3 + 1) is more fragile and will require more frequent sharpening, so the life of the skis will be reduced although the performance will increase.
Stronger U12 and U14 skiers: Stay with a 1 degree base bevel until the skier REALLY is getting precise- coach guidance is advised. Side bevel at 3 degrees will give all the performance they need. If the skier is not yet carving strongly, the extra bevel may not be needed… but it DOES make carving significantly easier and the carving action more powerful. In other words, if you have a casual racer more into the social aspect than the racing, use a 1 or 2 degree side bevel.
U14 and above discipline specific tuning:
These skis will be quicker edge to edge with LESS BASE BEVEL. The strongest skiers can use a 0.5 degree bevel- but the skis must be EXTREMELY flat, and they become very unforgiving. Most skiers should be on a 0.75 degree base bevel. Side bevel: 3 degrees is plenty for most. Keep the edge VERY Sharp in hard conditions.
Base bevel .075 – 1 degree. Less bevel = less forgiveness. Side bevel: 3 degrees for 98 percent of skiers.
Base bevel 1 degree. A “progressive bevel” can add forgiveness, but it complicate the tuning process considerably.
Same as SG.
Risks of High Bevel Angles ( <87 degrees) Ski life is considerably shortened, particularly in Slalom skis. The ski holds SO much harder that it twists and quickly fatigues. Also the edges are more fragile and require more frequent tuning. It is POSSIBLE to use a 4-5 degree bevel (on hard ice) and the performance of a fresh ski can be just amazing. But loads on the lower body joints are much higher too. Ankles can be injured unless ski boots are extremely precisely fitted. Knees can be injured unless the skiers is very strong and very confident. And if the ski comes off and hits you, those sharp edges can do some damage.
I recommend no more than a 3 degree side bevel until the skier has less than 90 USSA points in slalom and skis on hard snow a lot. You should have a quite a quiver of skis to work with at this point too- because the life of a slalom ski can be reduced to as little as 7-8 days on hard snow under the feet of a strong skier.