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Tuning - Critical to Ski Performance and Demo Evaluation

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

 

Many EPIC ski reviews have had a disclaimer that the demo skis tested had a terrible tune. After this past weekend, I cannot overstate how critical tuning is to the performance and characteristics of a ski. My main “Killington” ski is a Volkl AC50. I have posted on AC50 review threads gushing over the many aspects of the ski which made it my board of choice. As received from the shop, my last tune had either incorrect edge bevel(s) and/or base leveling. I was skiing at Sugarbush this past Sunday after the thaw/rain/freeze (45˚- 9˚) on icy hard pack. The ski was extremely grabby, making smooth turns virtually impossible and amplifying any edge pressure when not perfectly flat. A skidding 90˚ stop may result in an instant stop & unwanted slope impact !!! Prior to this tune I have skied almost 30 days on the 50’s in all conditions with only smiles resulting. If this was the first time I was to demo these skis, AND didn’t consider the tune, I would have never bought or recommended them to others. Soooooooooooooo, long story short, tuning DOES MATTER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Falcon_O aka Charlie

 

PS – skis are back at shop with appropriate barking.

post #2 of 10

Had you tuned the skis at any time during your 30 days of use or is it their 1st tune. Just a thought , maybe you dialed into the ski and really knew how it handled even as performance was degrading ever so slightly each time out. Then when it was tuned it was so much different than what you had become accustomed too, or maybe the shop really messed it up. One other thing on the east coast this year the snow conditions have been pretty good up until this last thaw/freeze , not really needing super sharp edges too much, until last Sat. Hope you got your skis back to where you like them.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have a season tune at a Killington ski shop where I leave the skis on Sunday after skiing then pick them up the following Friday. Usually the shop edge sharpens and waxes and if base repair is necessary it is addressed. They are knowledgeable of proper bevels for a specific ski and are supposed to set their equipment accordingly. Also, if a base grind is required, that is supposed to be done. Thus I have had multiple tunes this season with two ski days between my last "good" tune and one that I believe was done improperly. Next weekend I'll learn if the problem was corrected.
 

Soooooooooooooo, I'll stress again the importance of a good tune when evaluating a ski.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowbowler View Post

 

Had you tuned the skis at any time during your 30 days of use or is it their 1st tune. Just a thought , maybe you dialed into the ski and really knew how it handled even as performance was degrading ever so slightly each time out. Then when it was tuned it was so much different than what you had become accustomed too, or maybe the shop really messed it up. One other thing on the east coast this year the snow conditions have been pretty good up until this last thaw/freeze , not really needing super sharp edges too much, until last Sat. Hope you got your skis back to where you like them.


 

post #4 of 10

You are sooo right about tune. The funny (to me) aspect is that after my demo day this year, first thing I did when I got home was to tune my own skis.

The question here for me is what do you do when you get to a mountain and the tune is wrong? I had a similar experience on a shop tune, and, it makes the next day of skiing s--k.

post #5 of 10


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by falcon_o View Post

 

I have a season tune at a Killington ski shop where I leave the skis on Sunday after skiing then pick them up the following Friday. Usually the shop edge sharpens and waxes and if base repair is necessary it is addressed. They are knowledgeable of proper bevels for a specific ski and are supposed to set their equipment accordingly. Also, if a base grind is required, that is supposed to be done. Thus I have had multiple tunes this season with two ski days between my last "good" tune and one that I believe was done improperly. Next weekend I'll learn if the problem was corrected.
 

Soooooooooooooo, I'll stress again the importance of a good tune when evaluating a ski.

 


 

Well it sounds like you had a dud of a tune, maybe they had a trainee working on them. I have been hand tuning my skis all year and put them in a shop for a base grind, and edge settings, they were a little off and I didn't trust them on the hardpack. back to my hand tuning and they feel great again. Have fun skiing this weekend.
 

post #6 of 10

A couple of years ago I bought a pair of Blizzard Epic 7ti skis and brought them over with me from Britain to Red Mountain, BC, wihtout having skied on them at all. The first day I really didn't like them at all, they just didn't seem to hold an edge or in general behave as I wanted. So that night I left them with the ski service guys there to do a tune. They put 2 degrees on the side, 1 on the base, and the next day was a wholly different experience - I loved the skis, and it was hard to recognise them as the same skis. I must say I found this rather shocking at the time, but I certainly learned from it that tuning makes a BIG difference.

post #7 of 10

There are several points raised within this thread that many (possibly most) skiers are unaware of. The two most important things to understand are................(1) A new ski may be ready to ski but it is not close to being at it's best. (2) All tuning is not the same and a shop or tech that relies soley on machines to do their tuning work MAY turn out a quality reliable tune. (but probably not).

 

(1) Every (and I mean every) time I hand prep a new ski for a customer, I get a reminder of how uneven factory base profiles are. When I get to the side edges, I find the same things only worse. Most factory set ups are adequate but practically any ski on the market can be improved with careful hand finishing.

 

(2) Machine finishes can be close to the same quality of hand work (sometimes very close) but unfortunately, it usually isn't. Machines are very critical of exacting set up and maintainence and skilled operation. With those factors in place, a tune produced on the best equipment can be very good. With any one of those factors in question, the ski is not likely to be at it's best.

 

SJ

post #8 of 10

To suppport SJ's statements...it is important to realize that the extremely expensive machines that both the manufacturers and a lot of tune shops use has some good aspects.  They CAN give a very consistent base structure, they CAN make the bases look good, and the CAN give a good overall tune.  But, what they CAN do is often (usually) impeded by the fact that the manufacturers of the full tune machines preach that all the "tech" needs to do is put the skis in the machines then give them to the customer.  The consistency of the edges is most likely unreliable, the bases tend to be better but all too frequently they are edge high.

 

There is a reason why most people who are fanatics about their tunes prefer hand tuning.  The time and energy required to learn how to do the tune tends to create an atmosphere and attitude that the quality of work is essential.  The robots don't have that.  Tunes matter, they matter a lot.  Get them done by somebody who will put their hands on the ski and personally check their work

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks SJ and Skierhj for returning me to my roots. Once upon a time, all my tunes were by hand for both my and my bride's skis. The season tune was an easy drug to become addicted to as it eliminiated the blue knuckle garage dance I did every week. My hand tunes were saved for new skis. Now, after my "railed" experience supported by your combined wisdom, I will know better to check the shop tunes and modify as nesessary. Fortunately, this is the first bad tune I have had after many years of using the same shop. But, I am rethinking relying solely on this path because it did result in a $!!*^% day on the slopes !!!

 

Falcon_O aka Charlie 

post #10 of 10


Just don't have the shop constantly grind the bases.  I've seen skis ruined in two seasons from excessive base grinding - the metal edges were coming through the ptex.  Some shops do it because people expect to see nice looking bases all the time when they pick the skis up.

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