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post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
How many days of skiing on piste would require me to have my edges re-done?
post #2 of 9

It's pretty individual, and it can and does change for you over your skiing career. Back in college when I was an instructor tuning a couple times a 100 day season was plenty. With shaped skis I found I preferred to only ski on edges for one full ski day before I went over them and touched them up (side edge mostly, though a little bottom edge too). It is a lot easier and faster to touch up edges that are only slight dull. 

However, the past couple of seasons I am finding that doing this to a set of skis every 4 or 5 ski days is more reasonable for me, and coincides better with the need for re-waxing them. Also, I am currently the most comfortable I have ever been skiing on ALL snow conditions, to the point that I do sincerely enjoy ALL of the different conditions - and that my edge sharpness seems less critical to this enjoyment. Deep down I believe my technique simply evolved in my ability to better utilize the modern skis, and is now just more forgiving of conditions and equipment. I happen to also ski several different sets of skis over the season, and pick particular skis for the conditions I'm expecting - and that probably makes ALL conditions more enjoyable too. The wider soft snow skis are even less critical, as soft fresh snow seems less critical from an edge sharpness perspective. - Chris
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Chris - thanks.  Guess I am overdue.
post #4 of 9
 To me it really depends on WHERE you are skiing.  I mostly ski on soft snow out west, so except for buffing out nicks from off piste hits on stumps I don't get them sharpened more than once a season.  But when I was back east skiing on boiler plate I needed it FAR more often.  I also needed more bevel and the increased bevel meant the edge was weaker.  So, I think you need to tell us where you are mostly skiing and ask someone who skis that region to give their opinion.  Since you live in Florida you could be skiing anywhere, since it's clearly NOT Florida.  
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
sibhusky - not FL for sure and I only get to go once a year for 5 days.  My skis have been to Breck, Vail, Sugarloaf, Big Sky, and Sun Valley for a total of 25 days of skiing - always in good conditions, almost always on piste - but I am working on that.
post #6 of 9
Hi SteveE--

How often should you tune? The answer really is...constantly. That doesn't mean that you should take them to a shop for a full edge grind every day--you definitely should not do that! But it means that you should get them tuned, and then maintain that tune.

A tune begins to deteriorate the moment the final stone leaves the edge. It's like a tune-up in a car, or new shocks or tires, or a haircut. You may not notice the change moment by moment, but you sure can tell the difference when you get that new tune-up. If you want to develop your skill and technique to their best, and if you seek consistency at your highest level, you need to keep your equipment up.

It's not that hard, actually. You'll need a few basic tools (see slidewright.com and be sure to ask for your EpicSki supporter discount), a little practice, and just a few minutes a day. A pocket diamond stone or two (medium and fine grit) and some fast wipe-on or spray-on wax will do wonders to keep your skis working well.

Get your skis tuned by a good shop. Let me repeat that: a good shop. Then use your basic tools regularly to maintain the tune. Have the shop tech or a good instructor show you how to use the stones, if you're not sure. Inspect your skis every morning before you ski. Run your finger gently along the edges and feel for burrs and rough spots (be careful not to cut yourself). Use your stones to smooth these spots out, and then run your stone completely along the base and side edges to touch up the tune and keep them sharp. Wipe on some wax, and you're good to go for the day--shouldn't take more than five minutes. Check your edges periodically throughout the day--especially if you hit a rock or something. A few seconds with the stone are well worth it!

In normal condtions, that's all you'll need to do. Get 'em tuned, maintain the tune, and enjoy the consistency and performance you're capable of--much better than getting 'em tuned and letting them deteriorate until you can't stand it anymore, and then getting them tuned again to a level of performance you're not used to, and can't take advantage of.

The only reason you should need a major re-tune is if you do serious damage to your skis, or perhaps if you encounter vastly different snow conditions. If you're only skiing deep powder, you probably won't hit many obstacles, and you won't need your edges to be very sharp (but you'll still want them smooth and burr-free). If you're skiing rock-hard ice all the time, you'll want to keep them razor-sharp, consistently, and those conditions will dull the edges even if you don't hit obstacles, so you'll want to spend a bit more time each day. With a little practice, you may become intrigued enough to want to invest in more tools--files, bevel gauges, a waxing iron and tuning bench, and such, and develop the skills to use these. You'll find lots of good advice on the Slidewright website I linked to above, and don't hesitate to ask more questions here at EpicSki.

But again, the key to your best performance is consistency. And the key to that is continuous basic maintenance. Don't worry--it's easy!

Best regards,
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Bob - thanks for all the info.  Makes good sense.  I will give it a go.  Are all edges the same?  I have Volkl Supersport 5 star skis. Steve

Edited by SteveE - 8/6/2009 at 10:17 am GMT
post #8 of 9
Are all edges the same? 

Yes, pretty much, at least as far as maintaining them as I've described goes. There aren't very many, if any, skis with "cracked" (segmented) edges anymore--and the basic maintenance wouldn't change anyway. Edges use different types and qualities of steel, and some are harder than others. Some modern "powder" skis are harder to tune because the edges are flush with the sidewalls of the skis, rather than protruding away from the sides like conventional skis. This makes them potentially tougher and less likely to blow out when you hit a rock, but much harder to sharpen (not that you'd really need to sharpen them much for powder skiing)--unless you shave back the sidewalls a bit.

The biggest differences between ski edges are not in the edges themselves, but in how they are tuned. Different side and base bevel angles, recessed edges (rare), and even scalloped edges (rarer still--occasionally used by racers for extreme grip on ice), all involve different tuning technique modifications. But you won't need to bother with these things at first. That "good shop" I recommended before will tune your skis with appropriate bevels, probably asking you a few questions about how and where you ski first. Then your job is simply to maintain them, as I said, keeping them sharp and smooth, without modifying those bevels. With practice, you'll develop a knack for keeping the diamond stone flat against the side and base edges (your tech or instructor will show you how), keeping the bevels as they were originally set.

As you can tell, there's a lot to a good tune--skills, tools, and decisions--and you may well decide you want to learn more, acquire more tools, and do the full tune yourself at some point. You'll find lots of help here at EpicSki and elsewhere (including, of course, lots of opinionated arguments about the best and "right" ways to do it). But at first, I recommend leaving these things to a good professional tuner, and just maintaining that edge yourself. You'll know when you're ready for more!

Best regards,
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Bob - Thanks again.  Steve
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