Summer activities are starting to wind down here at Canyon Sports. We still have a few bike and kayak rentals on tap, and we’re still seeing visitors coming to Utah to take in what our fall season has to offer. But it is time to start gearing up for winter, and that means preseason ski tuning.
Avid Utah skiers know that the ski season is in full swing by mid-November. So as we near the end of September, ski season is a mere six weeks away! We are excited for what this season holds, and we hope you are too. But that is not the point of this post. Rather, let us talk about why preseason ski tuning is so important.
The Point of Tuning Your Skis
The place to start is understanding the point of tuning your skis to begin with. It all boils down to physics. The base and edges of a ski are almost always in contact with snow. How skis interact with the snow impacts the skier’s performance and overall experience. Therefore, tuning to the snow makes an enormous difference.
As you are making your way down the mountain, your skis are creating friction with the snow underneath. That friction turns some of the snow into a thin layer of water that subsequently sits between the ski surface and the snow. Your skis need to deal with that water the same way tires have to channel water away when you’re driving in a rainstorm.
A Pattern on the Base
A typical preseason ski tune starts with grinding down the base of the ski and applying a new pattern. The pattern is chosen based on the type of snow you are likely to experience in the near future. And because early season snow can be vastly different from its late season counterpart, the pros who handle ski tunes apply different patterns at different times of the year.
The pattern on the base of a ski is similar to the tread on a tire. The right pattern for the right type of snow channels water away so that you don’t go slipping and sliding all over the place. You need the right pattern for maximum control.
Getting the Edges Right
As for the edges of your skis, they become extremely important when it’s time to turn. A preseason ski tune accounts for both bevel and edge angle. Without getting into all the physics, these two characteristics determine how easily you can turn and the amount of control you have when you choose to do so. They need to be matched to your skiing style and the conditions you expect to experience on the slopes.
Tuning Before the Season Starts
Now that you know some of the basics of tuning a pair of skis, the last thing to discuss is why we recommend preseason tuning. If your skis are anywhere within reach, grab one and turn it over. We are willing to bet you will find plenty of nicks, scratches, and dings – even if you only skied once or twice after your last tune. This is because skis are always coming into contact with twigs, chunks of ice, and other debris.
Preseason ski tuning is designed to clean all of that up and prepare your skis for early season snow, which is usually more man-made than anything else. By tuning now, you’ll be prepared to hit the slopes during those first few weeks with skis that are perfectly tuned to the snow and your style of skiing. You will have a safer and more enjoyable experience as a result.