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DC area skiers - where do you go for tuning?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm preparing for the new season and wondering where folks recommend I have the skis tuned. I'm closest to Ski Chalet in Gaithersburg and have also shopped the Ski Racquet in Olney. Suggestions anyone on the best service?
post #2 of 20
Ski Center in Spring Valley/Foxhall/Dalecarlia section of Wash DC is and always has been the only serious ski shop in the DC area. the others are trying, sometimes almost trying hard, but they're more about selling and making $$.

If you have particular specific tuning needs, speak to Brian Eardley at Ski Center. otherwise, just take your stuff there.

I know they're the best because they haven't changed their approach to service and customer assistance since I worked there for six straight seasons post-high school, 20 years ago, and the same good knowledgeable folks still are there.

avoid Ski Harlot (Chalet) and their cousins. they're all about the Yuppie Buying Experience, and all about the Customer Condescension
post #3 of 20
I agree with Gonzo's advice of avoiding Ski Chalet. Ski Center is a great shop as well. I take my stuff to Pro-Fit in Leesburg, which is top notch as well.
post #4 of 20
Walks, you must not be skiing on Stockli, Atomic, or in Fischer boots. Ski Center is the only place for work on those at all.




Gonzostrike, I bet it WAS you as sold me those orange sorbet exploding TNTs ages ago, you rat!
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex
Walks, you must not be skiing on Stockli, Atomic, or in Fischer boots. Ski Center is the only place for work on those at all.
Actually, I am on Atomics for the first time starting last February (C11 Puls - which I love). What I'm ashamed to admit, however, is all those years I've truly neglected to properly care for my skis save for the occasional tune at a mountain ski shop. Epic has everything to do with knocking the sense back into me in that regard.
post #6 of 20
I'll second everyon's advice. Ski Center is the only place worth going to -- and they are a really decent bunch of guys to boot. Not the cheapest place around but then they have a lot of off-months to carry.
post #7 of 20
Ski Chalet is taking a beating from y'all! I know plenty of people who work there and I mean WORK their asses off. Those you will find in the equipment and shop departments are very knowledgable, professional and willing to help the customer get the right equipment for their needs. Service wise, there are grizzled veterans at most of the shops who will give you exactly what you want. At least in the Arlington store, I haven't seen customers being treated condescendingly or led to buy something beyond their abilities. Having shopped in both stores I have a hard time recalling a major difference in cost of new equipment. It's all expensive. Maybe more yuppies go to Ski Chalet because there are more of them in the area. I just don't get the characterization being drawn here - they are trying to keep their stores up an running just like every other specialty ski shop in an area where competition is fierce.
post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by VASKI244
Ski Chalet is taking a beating from y'all!
Maybe I'm generalizing a bit because I don't know the Arlington store or its employees. But the Chantilly Ski Chalet tuned my skis once and that was once too often. I couldn't in good conscience recommend them for ski maintenance. Sorry.

Great selection of soft goods though.
post #9 of 20
I'll throw in another vote for Ski Center. Brian, Brian, Boyd and the boys are probably the most passionate group south of the Mason/Dixon line. I've known them through the industry for many years.
post #10 of 20
Here's the caveat to all the Ski Center recommendations. Just find out who is going to tune your stuff and basically interview them (assuming you know what a bad tune feels like under your feet). Even Ski Center hires some hacks. I don't know that I would ask for Brian for tuning. He's the Boot fitter.

A few years ago, I moved from Maryland to Sterling, VA. I live about a half mile from Alpine Ski Shop. I have to admit, I like these guys. It's been a family owned ski shop for 30+ years, and all of their employees seem to be top rate.

When I lived in Annapolis, I would take my skis to the local shop (ski Haus), but what I would do, was go there when it was slow and their primary ski tech was there, and had them run a pair of random (read, not mine) skis over the stone grinder, then I would check the bases with the tech. You have to be nice to have them let you do this. If the skis come out the way they were intended, then you are good to go. The only thing I take my skis in for is grinding. I just do the simple stuff myself.

For boot fitting, if Alex Rebeiz is still doing rotation between all the Ski Chalets, I'd highly recommend him. He was a top boot fitter out west, but came back east 2 years ago for family reasons. He's a Level 3 cert instructor on top of having all of the same boot fitting credentials as Brian Eardley (possibly more). Having the L3 cert gives him a big advantage over the Brians at Ski Center for understanding what's going on under your feet.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walks
I'm preparing for the new season and wondering where folks recommend I have the skis tuned. I'm closest to Ski Chalet in Gaithersburg and have also shopped the Ski Racquet in Olney. Suggestions anyone on the best service?
I get fine tunes (pun intended) from John B, the head tech at the Gaithersburg Ski Chalet. If I don't have time to do the work myself, or if there is too much work for me to do, I give it to him and haven't once been disappointed. If I want something odd like 0 & 3 instead of 0.5 & 3, he gives me 0 & 3 (and I periodically double check him with a true bar). If I need a bit of ptexing and don't want a cosmetic grind afterwards, he doesn't grind. Not to anthropomorphize, but IMHO, he handles my skis lovingly - even better than I handle them myself.

I have no idea if he interacts with other people in the same way, but I would bet that if you first establish credibility as a serious, knowledgeable skier with most competent techs and are a long-term customer, you will get similar service.

Tom / PM

PS - Don't even think about the Ski Racket in Olney.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
For boot fitting, if Alex Rebeiz is still doing rotation between all the Ski Chalets, I'd highly recommend him. He was a top boot fitter out west, but came back east 2 years ago for family reasons. He's a Level 3 cert instructor on top of having all of the same boot fitting credentials as Brian Eardley (possibly more). Having the L3 cert gives him a big advantage over the Brians at Ski Center for understanding what's going on under your feet.
John... I certainly can't argue with you about Alex, I don't know him. I know you know your stuff so I'm confident your recommendation is a good one.

I'll defend Brian a little here too....I know him. He's a certified pedorthist and race coach w/ years of experience in both skiing and equipment. Ski Center is the only shop I've found that carries high end woman's models without having to special order.

Sorry, back to tuning.... I've always had great tunes come out of the Ski Center.

BTW.... John ... you going to Pro Jam this year?
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by VASKI244
Those you will find in the equipment and shop departments are very knowledgable, professional and willing to help the customer get the right equipment for their needs.
I've never taken anything in for service but I got the strong impression from the Chalet sales staff that they didn't have a strong clue what they were doing. Not that it is easy to find that in the heart of suburban VA for what these guys can afford to pay.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex
Gonzostrike, I bet it WAS you as sold me those orange sorbet exploding TNTs ages ago, you rat!
heh! I sure hope so!

I worked there from 1979 through 1986.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by VASKI244
Ski Chalet is taking a beating from y'all! I know plenty of people who work there and I mean WORK their asses off. Those you will find in the equipment and shop departments are very knowledgable, professional and willing to help the customer get the right equipment for their needs. Service wise, there are grizzled veterans at most of the shops who will give you exactly what you want. At least in the Arlington store, I haven't seen customers being treated condescendingly or led to buy something beyond their abilities. Having shopped in both stores I have a hard time recalling a major difference in cost of new equipment. It's all expensive. Maybe more yuppies go to Ski Chalet because there are more of them in the area. I just don't get the characterization being drawn here - they are trying to keep their stores up an running just like every other specialty ski shop in an area where competition is fierce.
every shop has its own flavor.

Ski Harlot always has tasted to me like Syrup of Ipecac. more attitude than knowledge, less a "fellow serious skier" and more an "expert who'll set you straight"

maybe it's your Honeypot, but I wouldn't be so quick to publicly pridefully state as much.
:
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
Here's the caveat to all the Ski Center recommendations. Just find out who is going to tune your stuff and basically interview them (assuming you know what a bad tune feels like under your feet). Even Ski Center hires some hacks. I don't know that I would ask for Brian for tuning. He's the Boot fitter.
But if you ask Brian who's the best tuner, he'll tell you. That's what I am talking about. It was Mike Phelan or maybe 1-2 others when I was there. Couldn't say who it is now.
post #17 of 20
maybe it's your Honeypot, but I wouldn't be so quick to publicly pridefully state as much.

Pride in Ski Chalet - yes. Like I said, the men and women who work there seem very credible and interested in getting the customer what they need/want. That's all. I guess anyone can come in with a story about a shop where service wasn't up to par but I won't discredit the entire chain.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by VASKI244
maybe it's your Honeypot, but I wouldn't be so quick to publicly pridefully state as much.

Pride in Ski Chalet - yes. Like I said, the men and women who work there seem very credible and interested in getting the customer what they need/want. That's all. I guess anyone can come in with a story about a shop where service wasn't up to par but I won't discredit the entire chain.
I never ran into anyone at the shops who really knew what they were talking about -- actually I take that back, there was one guy at the Gaithersburg store. But mostly what Gonzo said -- my expereince was a lot more attitude than knowledge. But as always, YMMV.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
It looks like Ski Center is the clear winner. I think because they deal in Atomics I would lean in that direction anyway.

Thanks for everyone's input!
post #20 of 20
Walks-

Kirk is the shop manager and is a friend of mine. Talk to him about your tune. If he is not available, make sure you make it clear exactly what you want.

I would recommend the same for any shop you don't know.

Ski Center is great. Best knowledge and service in the area.
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