It's time for a new article on ski equipment, with everything you need to know about looking after your piste skis.

And yes, if you want to make the most of the 3 Vallées ski area, it's a good idea to have your skis in good condition, so that you can enjoy the best possible gliding sensations.


How to repair the base of your skis


It's never pleasant to turn your skis over at the bottom of a run and discover scratches and/or holes caused by stones hidden under the snow.
Here's an easy way to repair the base of your skis or snowboard.

  • First of all, you need to clean the sole to remove dust and impurities. To do this, I recommend a copper, bronze or steel wire brush.
Ski maintenance
  • As with all the operations to be carried out on the sole, always proceed in the same direction, that of gliding, from the tip of the ski to the heel.
     
  • Once clean, we can move on to the sole repair phase. For this stage, you'll need to buy repair sticks, take a lighter and a metal scraper.
     
  • The sticks come in black or transparent to make the repair less visible afterwards. Personally, I'd recommend the black, which will last longer.
     
  • Using the lighter, you light one end of the stick on fire until the first drops start to drip, then bring the stick close to the area to be repaired, leaving a few drops to fill the damaged area.
  • Leave to cool for a few seconds, then scrape off the excess with the scraper to obtain a smooth, even surface with the rest of the ski base.


Note: However, this repair technique only applies to small holes or scratches. For major damage, it is often necessary to proceed with a patch (complete replacement of part of the sole).
 


Sharpening your edges


The easiest way to maintain your edges is to use a sharpener. It allows you to use several files (more or less aggressive) and to choose the angle at which the edge is sharpened.

For an edge to grip the snow, you must always maintain an angle of 90° or less.

As both sides of the edge are sharpened, the sole side (we say fall off the edge) and on the edge, you can vary the slope of each side. So many possibilities for varying the angle of the edge!

Sharpening is done along the entire length of the edge to ensure even wear, as on modern skis the entire length of the edge is used for turning. There's no compulsory direction for sharpening, but I recommend pulling towards you rather than pushing, and it's not necessary to press very hard on the file.

Ski maintenance

Note: On the singing side, the shallower the angle, the quicker you enter the turn, but you need more leg strength to keep the ski in the curve. I'd also recommend sharpening the first few centimetres of the tip to make it easier to enter the turn.

For those who want more precision when sharpening, it is preferable to use a 'square/clamp' system instead of a sharpener, but it is much more difficult to use.
 

Ski waxing


The final but extremely important step is to wax your skis. This improves glide over the snow and protects the base. As with any repair, you need to clean the sole well before starting and work in the direction of the glide (Spatula > heel)

There are several methods of waxing (hot, liquid, powder, pencil) but I recommend that you use a hot wax applied with an iron (waxing irons are available, but an old iron works perfectly. Preferably use an iron without holes). This type of wax is much more effective and long-lasting.

You'll find that there are a multitude of waxes to choose from, depending on the weather (cold snow, spring...) and the type of activity (leisure or competition), but you can always opt for a universal wax for simplicity.

  • Place your skis on trestles with the soles facing upwards, and use large elastic bands to release the ski stops so you can work more freely.
Ski maintenance
  • Melt the wax in droplets all along your ski by putting it in contact with the sole of the iron.
     
  • Slowly spread the wax with the iron over the entire surface of the base (from the tip to the tail). Never leave the iron in one place for too long, or worse, completely immobile on your skis, as you risk irreparable damage to the base of your skis.
  • Once you've finished, it's important to wait for the wax to soak into the sole and cool. For this to be effective, I recommend waiting an hour before starting to scrape.
     
  • Finally, scrape off all the wax, then brush vigorously with a nylon brush for a good finish.
Ski maintenance

Your skis are now ready to hit the slopes!

Tip: At the end of the season, wax your skis but do not scrape to protect and nourish the base during storage. However, be careful not to leave any wax on the edges to allow them to "breathe" and prevent rust.

Discover also how to choose your skis depending on your level, the type of riding you do (on or off piste) and your body type.

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