EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Tuning, Maintenance and Repairs › Attention Ski Retail Industry... Quit Hiring Idiots who dont know how to tune and mount skis properly
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Attention Ski Retail Industry... Quit Hiring Idiots who dont know how to tune and mount skis properly

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 


I have worked in the Ski Industry since 1997.  I ran the shop at 1 location of a large metro multi location ski retailer in the east in 2000/2001/2002.  I can count on one hand how many pairs of skis that I ROACHED in that time frame and I probably drilled 10,000 holes in those 3 years.

I'm still a Ski Industry Professional, but where I reside and live at now, there is not a good ski shop within 100 miles of my home. It is Sad.

I get taken care of by some one in the industry with a particular brand of ski/boot/binding as I'm established in more than one of our professional organizations, and I'm a senior educator/member in those organizations. (hence I'm getting a PRO-DEAL)

The problem that I run into, is that I can't find a ski shop, with any employee working in the tuning shop, who knows how to do anything right. I had thought that this was a personal curse, until a friend of mine asked me about something on his ski. When I looked, I found that it was not mounted right either, and when we removed the binding to re-mount it. We found extra holes (this ski is brand new, never skied on, and was just mounted)

I'm thoroughly disgusted with this part of our industry. Shops only hire highschool or college IDIOTS who are missing lugnuts or have mismatched or bald tired on thier rusty volkswagons, who smoke way to many buds before work.

Here is how it is done folks.

Examine Ski and Binding and Boot
Determine Proper Jig for Binding
Determine Proper Ski Center for Mounting Reference (There are many different ways to mount any 1 ski)

 

Set up the proper Jig Length with the Boot (Check and Double Check and Triple Check the Boot Length)

 

Check the Jig again for the proper binding holes (since alot of older Jigs with different binding names work with the new stuff and your shop is to damn cheap to buy the new jigs)

 

Cover the unused holes with tape so that you know where to drill. (skip this step all the time... and sooner or later you will ROACH some ones equipment... when you do that GO GET YOUR BOSS AND HAVE HIM TAKE THE COST OF REPLACING THE EQUIPMENT OUT OF YOUR PAYCHECK)

 

Place the Jig onto the Ski PROPERLY... not crooked, not off center, not with dust or P-TEX shavings between it and the ski.

 

Double Check the Boot Size Again to make sure the Jig did not Move... On the Ski, with the boot center over the line on the Jig and the line on the Jig over your reference mark on the Jig. (IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN MOUNTING FOR AT LEAST 2 YEARS AND AT LEAST 500 PRS OF SKIS AND YOU ARE A PUNK DO NOT DO CUSTOM MOUNTING OFF OF A REFERENCE POINT THAT YOU MARKED ON THE SKI)

 

Now Select the proper bit size... 4.1 for Metal Skis, 3.5 for wood skis. Make sure it is the proper depth... 9MM for most adult alpine skis and 7MM for youth skis.

 

Secure your bit in your drill  (IF YOUR SHOP DOES NOT HAVE 18V CORDLESS DEWALT OR OTHER EXPENSIVE $150 PRICE RANGE COORDLESS DRILLS GO SEE YOUR BOSS AND TELL HIM TO QUIT BEING SO DAMN CHEAP)

 

Double Check your drill stop or Jig to make sure you are not going to drill all the way through.

 

Finally Hold the Drill Verticle and Sink Your Hole Into the Ski. (IF YOU CANT WALK STRAIGHT YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO HOLD A DRILL STRAIGHT)

 

Now that you have all of your holes drilled straight, with the proper bit, in the proper locations you are ready to remove your JIG.

 

After removing the jig you still have lots more to do before screwing the binding... First is to take a large drill bit (like 1/2 in) and stick it down on the holes that you drilled and twist the drill bit by hand to remove any burrs, and to counter sink the outside edge of the hole (this will keep the hole from lifting against the binding which lets water under the ski binding to freeze and eventually pop the binding out of the ski)


Next is to check the alignment of your holes with your binding to make sure you did all of the above right... IF YOU SCREWED IT UP GO GET YOUR BOSS SO THAT YOU CAN BUY THE PERSON A NEW PWAR OF SKIS

You will need to put locktite or binding glue (fancy name for wood glue) into each of the holes to seal them and keep water out.

The next step is to screw the bindings into the SKI.  NOTE THAT NOTHING FROM THIS POINT ON REQUIRES THAT POWER DRILL.

Take a hand SCREW DRIVER that is properly sized with a big enough grip and a big enough handle to tighten the screw. Start the screw straight (refer to drilling straight above for references). Make sure you keep the screw straight... and hand tighten the screw with the screwdriver using your brain as a TORQUE WRENCH not over tightening the screws. Dont strip the screw heads, dont strip the screw holes... If you do either... THE JOB IS NOT DONE RIGHT START OVER!!  WITH ANOTHER BRAND NEW PAIR OF SKIS

If you some how have problems doing this right... then get your shop to let you mount all of thier rentals for them (OR THEY HAVE THE SENIOR TECH DO THIS BECAUSE THEY OWN THE SKIS
AND DONT WANT THE STUFF THEY OWN MESSED UP BUT IT IS OK TO MESS UP THE CUSTOMERS STUFF)

Finally, when some one comes in, who has more experience that you, or asks questions, bring them back in the shop and go through the mounting process with them. If you are the pro that you think that you are... having another set of eyes watch what is going on, is only an insurance policy for you to know that it was done right... and that the customer is satisfied.

OTHERWISE YOU AND YOUR SHOP OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT ARE FOOLS!!

When I mounted SKIS I made over $30/HR.... because I did it right, and I made incentives for doing it right... The 4/5 PAIRS OF SKIS that I ROACHED... I fixed them and SKIED ON THEM MY SELF... BECAUSE AFTER SCREWING UP SOME ONE ELSES EQUIPMENT I OWNED IT...

Kinda makes that old treat your customers stuff like it was your own a good moral to work by...

THEN AGAIN if you are missing LUGNUTS on your Rust Bucket that you drive to work on bald tires... perhaps you should resign.



 

post #2 of 29
brilliant....and so dam true
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
You know what is wierd... I figured that this would get Flammed, or Removed... because I'm the kind of guy who is a royal A$$....  Regardless... my money, my skiing desires, my body, my desire to go pay for something that is done right, and is the way that it should be... Is 100% the same as the next guy.

My problem is that I'm smart enough to realize why, and to be a critic and ask why this or why that??

I've destroyed more skis, skiing in my life over the past 25 years, than most of these punks in ski shops have mounted in the last year or two.

I mean I dont have to have a hand built Bently... But I'm not going to take a Ford or a KIA with damage from the factory either...

I'm am HOPEFUL that this post might wake up some ppl to the real problem... Lack of Training, Lack of Management, Lack of Inspection, Lack of Hiring Responsible Technicians, Lack of Ownership Caring this time of year because they are making so much money that they could care less.

And the LugNut thing...  it's 100% true... Looking at some one's vehicle, how they take care of it, how they maintain it, how they work on it, how they wash it, where they take it to get worked on, what brand of tires they run, Says an Awful Lot about the person.
post #4 of 29
I think you also forget one major issue. Sure mounting skis is easy for someone that takes the time to care about what they are doing. When you pay someone less than what they could make flipping burgers you cannot expect much. It is pitiful what some shops pay their ski techs. It is rare to find someone that loves the job enough to not care about the pay. I have yet to find a ski tech or bike mechanic in my area I trust to work on my equipment. A shop can train someone all they want but until they pay them more you will not get a person that cares enough to use that training.
post #5 of 29
Having a shop that lets the morons mount ski's is itself a terrible shop.  I have been working in my shop for quite a while now, I mount my own skis, that's it.  For one, at this point I don't feel comfortable doing others people's skis(not that I don't think I can do it, but I don't want to be that guy that swiss cheesed someone's stuff).  Second, I have a manager that is very efficient and I watch him go through every step outlined above when he gets a mount.

I hear stories all the time about bad shops, I even did 4 helicoils the other day because some shop doubletapped someones front binding holes.  I don't know how people are allowed to touch ski's in some places and I agree with the OP.

I think people are doing a good thing by learning how to do most maintenance to their own gear.  I think it is important though to know someone who works at a shop and puts care into the work they do for people(not everyone in the shop knows what their doing OR cares about what they do(trust me I see it every day)).
post #6 of 29
Hey Twofiddy.
Outstanding first post. Well written, concise, informative, and with enough personal opinion to give me a good idea of your point of view.

Want to buy a cheap drill?

Thanks for posting this up, and BTW, welcome to Epic.
post #7 of 29
If nothing else, this gives the savvy-about-gear-but-less-knowledgeable-about-mounting consumer (such as myself) an idea of what to ask for when getting bindings mounted in a shop.  Hopefully, I won't be too much of a PITA (or worse, the person armed with just enough knowledge  to make himself dangerously obnoxious) the next time I buy skis.
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CR0SS View Post

I think you also forget one major issue. Sure mounting skis is easy for someone that takes the time to care about what they are doing. When you pay someone less than what they could make flipping burgers you cannot expect much. It is pitiful what some shops pay their ski techs. It is rare to find someone that loves the job enough to not care about the pay. I have yet to find a ski tech or bike mechanic in my area I trust to work on my equipment. A shop can train someone all they want but until they pay them more you will not get a person that cares enough to use that training.
 

I want to point something out here with regards to this post. This is by no means the only thing in America (or the world for that matter) where people are forced to goto work for way less than they are worth.

When I worked as a shop Tech, and then moved on to a Shop Manager, and eventually on to a very large multi state store as a department Manager, I was reminded about how the world of money works. At the origional shop, I was paid an incentive for my work. I kept track to a T. Just for filling out the Ticket correctly I got $0.25... and for retrieving the customers ski when the picked it up I got $0.25. If a customer brought in previously MOUNTED equipment that needed re-mounted, release checked, tuned (base, edge bevel, wax) There was about $8 to $10 total that needed done. 

The shop had base repair 1, base repair 2, and base repair 3 charges on the menu, and then there was the delam repair, helicoil job, edge repair/replacement, major quoted base repair etc. 
Each of these, the Technician doing the work and the Technican or sales man who sold the work each got %25 of the ticketed work. (These repairs were usually around $40-50) so each person was getting $10-$12 plus the Tech got the other few dollars for the other routine work.

So when the shop touched 7500-9000 pairs of skis per winter, there was over $50,000 worth of spiffs for about 10-15 people to split. Hence I made $30/HR. We were absoloutly not allowed to accept any Tips other than Beer or Meals or Lift Tickets.

When I got the last place where I worked as a Manager, they gave me a budget of less than $30/hr to hire everyone needed to do the work. I found my self there till wee hours of the morning every night in December getting the Holiday work done because I refused to pay my guys $7/hr with no incentives. I bought them meals out of my own pocket, and I begged, borrowed, and stole, anything I could from sales and technical reps to reward them.  My store was the #1 store in the company for loss, mistakes, profit, total units, etc... when the district manager asked me how I did this (was always the worst store) and I explained, and pulled out all those reciepts from 11PM Starbucks, and 2:00AM chineese and pizza... and showed him where I had spent a ton of my own money, I got the money back in an expense check.

NO PLACE ON EARTH WOULD EVER DO THAT FOR THIER PEOPLE... I GOT LUCKY for working hard for once in my life.

The problem with people these days, is that they are ruiened. They wont work hard because they know that thier is no reward to be had in most cases. But the other part is that the public stands for it... It's like the guy trying to sell you a $40,000 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon who thinks off road driving is pulling in the grass at his son's little league game with his rusty Cavalier...  Ski shops wont retain Ski Pros, who know how to do the work, because they dont want too because it is not profitable, just like car dealers wont retain a Jeep sales man who makes enough money to drive a $40,000 Jeep, and occasionally break some stuff on it by using it for its intended purpose.   In the world of cars, and the world of skis, the only intended purpose is for profit hungry idiots to make money off stupid consumers.
post #9 of 29
Well said my friend.

Mike
post #10 of 29
This is why I still mount my own skis. I worked in the industry in my younger years, and the stuff I saw go on in the shop would just make your stomach turn. Even to this day, I have only one person grind my skis. If he is backed up, I will just wait. I simply do not trust other people locally to tune my skis.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by CR0SS View Post

I think you also forget one major issue. Sure mounting skis is easy for someone that takes the time to care about what they are doing. When you pay someone less than what they could make flipping burgers you cannot expect much. It is pitiful what some shops pay their ski techs. It is rare to find someone that loves the job enough to not care about the pay. I have yet to find a ski tech or bike mechanic in my area I trust to work on my equipment. A shop can train someone all they want but until they pay them more you will not get a person that cares enough to use that training.

Quoted to further develop this point.  People need to quit complaining about paying $XX.00 for a mount or a tune.  I see so many posts where people are outraged over how much they have to pay for service at ski shops.  You get what you pay for.  You want top-notch techs, it's going to cost you.  
post #12 of 29
twofiddy,

all true, although a bit altruistic, in that the ski shops are not getting rich, fat, dumb, and happy overcharging you for piss poor work. they are on the edge of distinction because they are overcharging you for piss poor work.

come move to truckee, ca. we pay top dollar for anyone that proves themselves worth it.

jim
post #13 of 29
About 20 years ago I had a part time job building bikes for a local toy store during the Christmas season. I had only my own experience maintaining my own bikes prior to that. I was supposed to take only 15 minutes from opening the box to setting the completed bike on the floor ready to sell. Most of the cheap bikes I had to build had serious wheel alignment and gear adjustment issues. I usually took 20-25 minutes per bike. At the times when I wasn't working, they had some third party "pros" with YLCE certification building the bikes. They naturally could put them together in under 15 minutes. Oddly (or not) all of the bikes that came back for refunds/adjustments were built by the "pros". None of the ones I built came back.
post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 


Trust me I'm not saying that you could not walk in off the street and be a quick study to good craftsmanship work....  In fact that is 100% possible... just that most punk a$$ kids are not good craftsman... They don't teach metal shop and wood shop in school any more because
some jerkoff teenager some where cut his finger off by sticking into a suface planer for fun.

The "pros" at some stuff are just the people who get paid to do it for a long time... that does not mean that they are the best or are the most accurate or correct.

Not that this post is in any way contradictory to my origional post... Longevity at anything makes you better...

post #15 of 29
In my case, the toy store was more interested in getting bikes onto the floor as fast as possible, at the lowest cost. I was being paid by the hour, and the third party builders evidently were getting paid per unit. Throw a bunch of bikes together and move to the next store and do it again. Who cares if the wheels are true, the brakes work and the gears work? I was in the store when some of the returns came in, and so was charged with fixing them. After the season had passed, I was released.

A lot of businesses seem to value speed over workmanship. I'm seeing it in my job search. When the job description says "fast paced environment", that can usually be translated as "there's never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over".

Some shops only want to push skis out the door as fast as possible, and probably don't care about the quality of the work as much as how many units they can process. I would think that if a shop wants people to come back for tuning, repairs and mounting, they would try harder to get things right the first time. So far, nobody has mangled any of my skis trying to service them.

I've mounted my own bindings, without a jig or template. I learned enough from those experiences to know how to do it better in the future. It seems like it would be pretty simple if one had all the right tools for the job, but if management only wants "hurry, hurry, hurry", stuff is going to get botched frequently.
post #16 of 29
Do I get certified for reading that?
post #17 of 29
Great insight into the horrors that are taking place in the backend of the ski shop . Have to believe the likelihood of receiving shoddy work is higher at the big chain shops. Privately owned stores I would correctly or incorrectly retain a qualified staff.

We have a local shop here where Iive that is dominate in the market. I quit taking my skis there for a tune. Almost unbelievable how bad a job they would do.
post #18 of 29
 One more reason to support your small specialty shops who care about their work and reputations! rather than a big box who is only looking at the numbers.  There will always be people looking for the cheapest price who will ultimately end up paying more in the end to get it right.

It may be more difficult to find motivated ski shop techs in Florida or Texas than Aspen or Mammoth or Stowe?  

Twofiddy, I don't know where you live or the shops in your area, but I would suggest as a personal gesture to the shop you give your business to, that you offer to give a clinic to the shop techs and develop a friendship there.  You may find that they will allow you to use their shop to mount your own skis and give their techs a little advice along the way?  I know I have a handful of friends/customers who I allow to use my shop to work on their equipment and in return they help me out in busy times or in other ways.
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
Very good advice about the shop clinic thing... and I would welcome that opportunity...

The problem is this however... If I'm smart enough to know how to do it right, and to identify what is done wrong, I might be more of a liability than an asset. The insurance company wont want a set of eyes watching what is not right.  If I had profitable interest then I'd be callus to the things done wrong to be the one making the money, and that is acceptable these days as long as no one gets hurt.
post #20 of 29
You forgot the part about using compressed air to blow out the sawdust after drilling the holes.
And I prefer a vertical drill press for making holes, not a hand held drill.

:D
post #21 of 29
I can only agree
just had my volants back from the shop
the order: replace the damaged diamir bindings for new ones different model but with the same length and drilling holes (but 0,5cm lower due to one riser plate less). Then stone grind the base do not wax.
Shop with a good reputation owned by an austrian guy in the netherlands...

and they cocked it up....

They stone grinded the ski with the old bindings in place and replaced them without checking the screw lengths....

So when i startet to hot wax my iron rocked on the base where the binding was mounted! And i noticed the concave base.

I am lucky to have a skivision base grinder and i used it to flatten and restructure spot, and of course wax the ski.

But it realy underlines there are idiots out there real ones able to literally screw up a 1200 Euro set of skis....

Next year i am in the market for some new boots, they will not come from that shop noooooo waaaaay.
post #22 of 29
I agree with this guy. I have had a binding mount f-ed up at a local midwest shop. The entire shop crew was comprised of careless punk terrain park kids.
post #23 of 29
I would tend to agree with the OP on this, however my bet is that the shops that bother to read and post here on Epic are not the ones that are the problem. No one is perfect and I have certainly mis-drilled a pair or two in my 15+ years in the biz, but it is how you take care of those mistakes that really counts.
post #24 of 29
We all have our horror stories.  Several years ago I attended a "ski tuning clinic" at our local rec center.  It was run by two guys who run a tuning shop.  One demonstrated how to edge file skis, without any kind of angle jig or guide.  I defy anyone to do that accurately.   Who knows how many skis he has ruined.  A neighbor had her skis tuned by another shop, and said they skied "funny".  My true bar showed them to be seriously concave. 

If you have a Porsche you don't take it to the Grease Apes.  If you have $1400 skis either spend the money on basic tools and do it yourself (tuning, not mounting) or pay someone decently who knows how to do it.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by crudmeister View Post

If you have $1400 skis that you like either spend the money on basic tools and do it yourself (tuning, not mounting) or pay someone decently who knows how to do it.

Fixed it for you.  
post #26 of 29
Twofiddy I couldn't agree with you more on this, just bought my new pair of skis this week, went to the local SKI shop for binding installation and they damaged my bases.  I was so upset, called the store manager. He offered free waxing service to offset the damages, however I don’t feel comfortable leaving my gear there anymore I think I have to take care of this problem myself... By the way the last pair of skis I bought came with bindings way of center on one ski. I agree "they" must be either drunk or clueless while working on the boards.... Great post.
post #27 of 29
I agree completely about the quality of help that is hired, the dearth of training, and the total lack of any understanding of what quality really is...it is NOT the lowest price per pound like fatty hamburger.

About that ski mounting technique...I mount my skis at home and like my results.  I use a 3.6mm x 9mm long shoulder drill bit in skis without metal.  It self-countersinks the hole.  If you want to counter sink separately, buy a countersink.  They're cheap.  A drill bit has a cutting edge that is shaped to dig deep and can dig too deep.  I always tap the holes with a #12AB tap.  Tapping is necessary in skis with metal, and even in skis without metal it increases the holding ability of the screws.  You didn't mention the correct screwdriver.  That is a Pozidrive #3 screwdriver or bit.  Not a #3 Phillips--it'll probably get the job done, but slips out of the screw head a lot.  (For home mounting, anyone unsure of the location of the screws can do a trial mount on a piece of 2x4.  When it is in just the right position, boot tested and all, remove the binding and make a cardboard pattern to transfer the correct screw hole locations to your skis.)

When anyone picks up skis from the shop...or anything else that you had worked on anywhere...remember---you get what you inspect, not what you expect.  If you don't inspect before you leave the place, you take home what you deserve.

If the tuning equipment shops that support Epic don't have the drills, tap, and screwdriver, Tognar.com does have them.  Support the Epic advertisers first, though.
post #28 of 29
 Well so far i had the following idiots 
A ski shop in holland forgot to detune my tips and tails of my Atomic ARC's, and being dutch it is you falling over your skis missing a curve etc.
My Volks P9's where ruined by a shop in austria making them concave (like the idiot with a unguided file) and resulting in a ski with no good edge hold at all. Fortunately this is a shop i know longer and they take me serious, So after a couple of runs over the stone grinder, they were flat again, but with not much seasons left in them.... So they offered me a pair of Salomons x11 for a huge discount.
 
Those Salomons X11, where ruined by another austrian shop in making them hollow and railing like nuts.

This was the point that i started to invest in $500 kit to get it done as it should be done, and i never looked back....
My Volant Powerkarve 193 i did myselve, never an issue
My Volant Powerkarve Ti 173 i did myselve, never had an issue untill i asked a shop to flatten the base and mount a new binding.... i should have tried doing that myselve before asking them..... I have fixed it...
My Volkl Grizzly 177 will most likely never ever see a shop....

However... There is a technique making bread knives (superedge/grip) from your standard edges and that is something you can not do yourselved. And there is a race ski shop overhere doing that. I might give them a go 
post #29 of 29
    Quote:
Originally Posted by crudmeister View Post
  If you have $1400 skis either spend the money on basic tools and do it yourself (tuning, not mounting) or pay someone decently who knows how to do it.

How would you suggest finding someone who knows how to do it? I paid a shop to fix a core shot and three days of skiing later, they're fixing it again..
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Tuning, Maintenance and Repairs › Attention Ski Retail Industry... Quit Hiring Idiots who dont know how to tune and mount skis properly