How to take care of your skis
We spoke to Rémi Besson, a ‘Club des Sports’ coach, who services an amazing 800 pairs of skis each year for the children!
Five stages for waxing skis
TWO GOOD REASONS TO SERVICE YOUR SKIS
#1 To make your precious skis last longer
#2 To enjoy optimum skiing or snowboarding, whatever the snow conditions (hard or soft, dry or wet). Servicing skis regularly ensures that their edges grip well and the skis slide smoothly.
It's essential for improving and having fun !
HOW DO YOU SERVICE SKIS ?
Ski servicing is based upon a combination of “filing” and “waxing”.
- Filing sharpens the metal that runs along both edges of the skis that allow you to grip the snow and make nice carved turns.
- Waxing consists of applying a thin layer of wax, mostly composed of paraffin, over the bottom of the ski. This process protects the base of the ski and optimises the quality of movement on the snow.
If the base of your ski has a few minor scratches or holes, these can be filled in using black repair wax.
However, if the ski is very damaged, the base may need to be restructured. To do this, the base is sanded until the large holes or deep scratches disappear. Advantage: the base of the ski looks new again! Disadvantage: the process removes base material and wears the base away…
How often should you service your skis? It all depends on how often you use them!
Your edges will wear out more quickly:
- If you ski a lot (this goes without saying really!)
- If you are a skier who skis hard using your edges aggressively
- If you ski on hard snow, the type that you find on ski runs in the middle of winter when it is very cold.
In contrast, your edges will wear down less quickly:
- If you are a beginner skier, making gentle turns
- If you ski in powder or on spring snow.
A good habit to get into would be to service your skis each time you go on holiday or whenever you need to if you ski more frequently (i.e. when you feel that the edges aren’t gripping as well as they should or the bases are sticking to the snow).
Be careful not to overdo it: the more you file a ski and remove the metal, the more fragile the edges become over time.
On the other hand, the more a ski is waxed, the better it will slide!
A ski service during the week : just marketing?
No, it’s not! If you are a good skier and you ski every day on hard snow from 9am to 5pm, you will be using your edges a lot and it is highly likely that your skis will benefit from being filed during your holiday.
Similarly, there are many types of wax suitable for colder, drier snow or on the contrary, for wetter spring snow. If the snow conditions change during the week, your skis might feel “sticky”. Giving your skis a wax with a product that is better suited to the new conditions might be necessary (even if the majority of shops use a universal wax, with a greater range of effectiveness, to avoid this inconvenience).
If you are unsure which wax to choose, always select the one that is adapted to cold and dry snow conditions rather than a special “spring snow” wax. This way, you will be able to take advantage of the correct ski conditions, if not optimal, even with a wetter type of snow (while the reverse is often not the case!).
In addition to waxing your skis, you can look after them by drying them properly after each ski session. Dry them separately before putting them away to avoid rust forming at the contact point between the two skis. A little tip? Keep your old bath towels to dry your skis with. They work really well!
And if i want to do it myself?
You can, it’s not rocket science! But don’t forget that you will need to invest in equipment at the beginning: vices, work bench, iron, files, an edge polishing stone, wax, scraper and brush etc. If you ski for 6 months a year, it could be worth it. If you ski for one or two weeks a year, it is cheaper to take your skis to a ski shop.
What’s more, if your ski is badly damaged (oh dear, didn’t see the rock...), you will need to ask a professional to repair your ski using specialist equipment.
where can you get your skis service?
For a classic ski wax and edge file, keep it simple: head to the closest ski shop.
However, if the base needs to be reconstructed, the options will be more limited because not all ski shops are equipped with the machine that is used to sand down the base. Ask for advice at the shop you usually go to.
And if your skis are REALLY damaged (i.e.: the base has become separated from the ski), the only options is to take them to a specialist…
Between two seasons: wintering
Unless you are the type of person who travels from one hemisphere to the other in search of fresh tracks throughout the year, it is highly likely that your skis will be left untouched for several months.
Before you pack away your skis, make sure that:
- The edges have been filed
- The bases have been waxed – it doesn’t matter which type of wax: in any case, you will need to wax them again with a wax suited to the current snow conditions just before your first ski next season
- The bindings have been loosened (it’s easy to forget this!)
- They are stored in a dry area, away from the cold and light
- Your skis are attached together
Be careful of sharp ski edges, they can cut you!
Remember to attach your skis together when you are moving them around: this prevents them rubbing together and wearing down more quickly…
Even though it can be tempting, don’t ski on roads without much snow on them! Beyond the obvious danger, this (bad) habit will not impress Rémi Besson, who has to service more than 800 pairs of skis a year for the Club des Sports in Tignes: “When I think of the time it takes to prepare the base and file the edges.... This is why we teach the children from the Club des Sports in Tignes to look after their skis themselves. It’s a way of encouraging them to take responsibility and teaching them values such as respect for their equipment.”
When you transport your skis on the roof of your car, make sure the tips are pointing towards the back of the car so that there is less wind resistance. Otherwise they may become bent before they’ve even touched the snow.