May 24, 2018

Just in time for summer camps…New Ski Prep & Tune.

Last winter alpine ski manufacturers spent much time and money developing the latest race ski designs based on information from the World Cup, all the way down to local ski clubs accessible to the factory. Every age group and discipline gets this attention to detail. It is in their DNA. These skis leave the factory and are distributed across the globe. There is an almost limitless variety of local snow conditions to be encountered as well as local athletic requirements. Simply put, factory tuned skis cannot and will not perform optimally in all these local snow conditions.

A well-tuned ski should be stable, predictable and fast. It will reward the coached and trained movement patterns of the athlete. An expertly prepped ski allows the maintenance of the tune to be consistent and repeatable throughout the life of the ski.  It is essential to performance and to maximize the investment in training and racing to have race skis prepared in consultation with an experienced ski technician and the athlete’s coach. A World Cup quality prep is not a secret but a skill born of experience and the precise tools and equipment on hand for the job.

The new ski prep process includes the following:

  • A grind that has been tested and proven to work in the conditions encountered in the region, taking into account natural or man made snow or a combination as well as temperature and humidity should be applied. This is a huge influencer in the speed of the ski.
  • A shaped and rounded top edge is both easier to handle and less prone to nicks and chips as well as resistant to snow build up and is faster.
  • A smoothed sidewall and some shaping above the edge on the skive allows easy consistent access to the whole edge for files and stones. Again more predictable skiing and faster.
  • Base bevel is critical in determining the skis aggressiveness or speed of edge engagement. This is of utmost importance at every age and ability level.
  • Side edge angle determines sharpness and grip based on local snow conditions. Too sharp is often be worse than not sharp enough, and can result in a run that is NOT fast.
  • Wax is the last step in the prep process and take into account much the same criteria as the grind. The wax is the renewable that is the minor correction for snow conditions within the grind parameters.

All of the above actions are infinitely negotiable with a good ski technician but a basic set up for local conditions is the best starting point. Bindings need to be mounted after this process in the best position for the athlete and any fore/aft balance shimming can be done at this time.

In the next installment we will discuss SKI BOOTS and the importance of correct sizing for ski racing, the proper angles and adjustments, what they do and how they interact with the ski tune, as well as the importance of foot beds, stock or custom and their influence on comfort, warmth and speed.

SKI TIPS are brought to you by Sporting Life, Alberta Alpine’s Official Retailer, with two locations in Calgary; Market Mall & Southcentre.


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