Published the 05 February 2014Hi there! It's time for a new article about ski equipment, and today we're going to cover everything you need to know about proper ski maintenance.
Having well-maintained skis makes it even easier to make the most of the 3 Vallées ski area and enjoy the best snowsports experience.
Repairing the base
It's never fun to turn your skis over at the bottom of a run and find scratches and/or holes caused by stones sneakily hidden under the snow.
Here's an easy way to repair the base of your skis or snowboard.
First of all, you have to clean the base to clear it of dust and impurities. I recommend a copper, bronze or even steel wire brush to do this.
As in everything you do to the base of your skis, you must always work in the same direction, the direction in which the ski slides, from the tip to the heel.
Once the base is clean, you can move on to the repair stage. For this step, you will need a lighter, a metal scraper, and a ski repair stick.
You can buy black sticks or transparent sticks to make the repairs less visible. I advise you to use the black variety, which is more resistant over time.
Using the lighter, melt one end of the stick until it starts to produce drops, then move the stick over to the area in need of repair letting a few drops fall on the damaged area.
Let it cool down for a few seconds, then scrape away the surplus to end up with a smooth surface in line with the rest of the ski base.
Note: This repair technique only works on small holes or scratches, for major damage, you may need to replace part of the base.
Sharpen the edges
To maintain the edge of your skis, the easiest method involves using a variable edge bevel. This lets you use multiple files (with varying levels of abrasion) and choose the angle to which you sharpen the edges.
So that your ski edges properly grip the snow, you always need to maintain an angle of 90° or less.
As you sharpen the top and bottom edge, you can vary the inclines of each. There are several options for varying the edge angle.
You need to sharpen across the length of the edge for a uniform result because on modern skis, the whole length of the edge is used when making a turn. You can sharpen in either direction and you don't need to push very hard on the file.
Note: On the top edge, the smaller the angle, the faster you will go into the turn but you will need more strength in your legs to maintain the movement.
I also advise you to blunt the first few centimetres at the ski tip to make it easier to go into turns.
Anyone who requires more sharpening precision is advised to use a "bracket /clamp" system instead of a bevel, though these are much harder to use.
Waxing your skis
Waxing your skis is the last but by no means least important stage in ski maintenance. It improves their glide on the snow and protects the base of your skis.
Just as you did for repairs, you need to clean the base of the skis before starting and always work in the direction you slide (tip > heel).
There are several methods of waxing (hot, liquid, powder, crayon) but I recommend using hot wax applied with an iron (you can buy waxing irons but an old clothes iron is perfectly suitable). This type of wax is much more efficient and durable.
You'll see that there are also a number of different waxes for different temperatures (cold snow, spring snow...) and techniques (fun or competition), but you can always opt for a universal wax to keep things simple.
Place your skis on a trestle with the base facing upwards and fix the ski brake arms using large elastic bands so you can work more easily.
Melt the wax into droplets by touching it against the base of the iron.
Slowly spread the wax across the surface of the ski base (from tip to heel) using the iron. Don't leave the iron in the same place for too long, or worse, leave it standing still on your skis as you risk damaging the base of your skis.
Once you've finished, it's important to wait until the wax sinks in to the base and cools down. For the best results, I recommend that you wait an hour before starting to scrape it.
Finally, scrape off the wax then vigorously brush it with a nylon brush for a great finish.
Now your skis are ready to tear down the slopes!
Trick: At the end of the season, wax your skis but don't scrape off the wax so it protects and nourishes them whilst in storage. Remember not to leave wax on the edges to let them "breathe" and avoid becoming rusty.