An old ski instructor of mine used to tell me, “take care of what you love.” Well at the time, I loved my pet hermit crab, Julius. My skis rusted in the garage every year, but Julius grew to be the strongest hermit crab on the block. Sometime after the tragic funeral, I found my neglected skis, recalled what my ski instructor had told me, and never let those skis rust or want for wax again. Here is how the experts at Aspen Ski and Board take care of what you love-our tuning process is the best on the block. Aspen Ski and Board technicians have trained at the Wintersteiger World Cup Center in Utah.
The Base Edge
We like to get started by establishing the bevel on your base edge first. Unless otherwise specified, we will generally put a 1 degree bevel on your base. The 1 degree of edge that now separates base edge from snow will still allow for excellent hold. However this slight parting between edge and snow will also reduce friction, increase glide, and prevent skis from "biting" too aggressively in the snow.
Wet Belt Sanding
With the base edges properly set, the next step is to run the base of your equipment across the surface of a wet belt sander. Factors like belt speed, pressure on the ski, and the speed at which the equipment is fed through the machine all affect how much material is taken off. Generally, the point of wet belt sanding is to remove any wax particles still clinging to the base and to further polish the base edge. More often than not, clean up is required for skis or boards that are heavily damaged or rusted. Belt sanding is the best way to remove this material.
The Stone Grind
This is where the magic happens. Stone grinding is the best way to flatten bases. This is because it cuts away base material, doesn't leave behind trailing fibers, and will not make the base concave as a wet belt sander can do. A flat base makes all the difference imaginable when skiing by creating a truer response to the skier’s movements. The pattern that is cut into the base serves a purpose as well. This pattern will direct water droplets formed by heat friction away from the base in a more efficient matter. Aspen Ski and Board utilizes a tiger stripe pattern-the exact same pattern used on today’s world cup circuit-created by the state-of-the-art Wintersteiger Sigma SBI machine used at both locations. This stone grind pattern reduces friction, increases glide, and prevents any suction from occurring. In simple terms, the stone grind makes for a smoother riding experience.
Tech nerd note: We do not use an overly deep structure that needs to be knocked down after grinding. The same principle applies for fanged base edges (that's why we go ahead and take care of the base edge first).
The Side Edge
Since ski manufacturers do not consider skier ability when they set edges in the factory, we use a combination of ability and the manufacturer's specs to set the side edge. We are happy to produce any side edge bevel you wish. The more side bevel incurred dictates the grip it will have on the snow. Typical side edge bevels are 1.0 - 3.0 degrees.
Detuning is a process in which the razor sharp finish of edge sharpening is polished by removing any burrs that may have occurred from sharpening. Detuning protects against edges that “bite” too aggressively and helps with turn initiation. This is done by a soft gummi stone that removes burrs and dirt particles from the edge. In addition, detuning refers to the removal of extremely sharp edges that are not in contact with the snow. Do not confuse this with dulling. We do not dramatically file away the tips and tails of skis as is done with dulling. In addition, we do not reduce the contact points of the ski or board by detuning down the effective edge.
Base Prep and Wax
We like to treat the base of your ski or board with a thorough "massage" of fiberlene-- this removes any micro-hairs still present after stone grinding. Once we are content with the condition of the base we will apply Swix wax for an iron on waxing. We generally use Swix's CH7 or CH6 for most tunes, which is superior to any bulk wax used in many other shops.
Secret: Ask about Aspen's special BLING wax developed by Head Technicians Bryan Duncan and Ty Morris for a lightning quick ride.
Scraping and Buffing
After the wax cools, the excess wax is scraped off the base of your equipment. Several different brushes are utilized to expose the base and remove any particle wax. Once finished, your equipment is stored away and eagerly waits for your arrival and a day on the slopes!
Race tunes involve a deeper and more methodical approach to tuning because a tune-up can greatly affect the performance of the ski when it comes time to race. Wax selection alone is based on factors like air and snow temperature, snow granulation, relative humidity, and snow friction. Race disciplines dictate certain base and side edge bevels, stone grind patterns, wax cycles, and brushing regimens. For those who actively race, we are happy to offer our extensive expertise in helping selection what is appropriate for you. Aspen Ski and Board’s Polaris Location Managers have a combined 30 years of advanced ski technician experience alone! At a cost of $70, race tunes are done in the hands of extremely capable and knowledgeable technicians using the best possible tools and machines currently on the market. Stop in to any of our locations and ask to speak with a Head Technician to discuss your preferences and get you dialed in for race day!