January 18, 2019
Mid-Season Maintenance for Race Skis & Boots
We are now into the new year and almost everyone has had a fair number of training and freeski days on their boots and skis.
We often consider our equipment to be dialled in after the first few days of skiing and a minor ski tune-up. Your equipment can be far from this in reality. Whether skis or boots, your equipment is in a constant state of wear and change.
Let’s talk boots first. I am often seeing by this time of the season loose or missing screws if the boot has them, worn booster or POWER straps again if the boot has them. In addition, wear and tear on the sole is starting to create an untrue surface for bindings to interface with. This will also affect the stance of the athlete. Screws and bolts loosen as the expansion, contraction and compression of the plastics, used in boots, allows for screws to loosen and retightening is necessary as this occurs. LOCTITE products are recommended here, as is tightening when the boot is COLD and contracted. Any missing hardware can be replaced at this time.
Alignment should be rechecked as often as the loose screw situations – the cuff settings will have shifted slightly and need to be re-established prior to the “Big Events” that come later in the year. In addition, a growing athlete’s foot is changing and there may be minor fit issues that need to be addressed before they escalate.
Hopefully, for the more expensive boots, lifters were installed at the same time you purchased the boots and should be replaced before the heel and toe screws show wear. If not, it is recommended doing so before wear becomes unsalvageable. This is a performance and safety concern.
Skis equally have a considerable amount of wear and tear and many things have happened since they were new, and that is not considering actual damage from rocks and such. A ski is changing for the first few days as the various materials and glues go through temperature cycles, and flex cycles. Both of these physically alter the flatness, torsional stability and flex in terms of stiff and soft. The ski is not the same as when it was bought. This is even more relevant if the athlete has multiple pairs for each discipline, they should never have a “trainer” and a “racer” but should try and use #1 and #2.. equally so they are as similar as possible in feel. No sense warming up at the “Big Event” on soft skis and switch to stiffer skis for the race.
A re-grind will correct the flatness issues and often a different pattern is more appropriate as we head into warmer snow conditions. Immaculately maintained edges by either coaches, athletes or parents will change the base bevel ever so slightly each and every time, no matter how fine of stone is used to deburr. Now is the time to chose ideal angles for the athlete’s progression as well. It is well documented that the worlds best may even change these numbers between runs based on changing conditions.
Let’s get everything back to where it needs to be for the big part of the season. SPORTING LIFE has the experience and technology to make you the best you can be.
See you on the hill or in the store…
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