Tune Your Own Skis

ski edge sharpen

brave ski mom logoSkis need to be maintained throughout the ski season. A basic rule of thumb is that you need to tune your skis after 8-10 days on snow.

Why? Because as you ski, the edges dull and the base wax scrapes off. How rapidly the edges dull and wax scrapes off depends upon snow conditions. If you’re only skiing powder (lucky you), your edges and base are going to last longer. If you’re skiing hard pack snow (or ice), your edges will wear down quicker and you’ll miss their sharpness more.

You can tell if your edges need sharpening by lightly sliding your finger along the edges of the skis. If they feel rough, or “burred”, it’s time for a tune. Well-waxed bases should shine. If they look dry, it’s time for a tune.

Time for DIY! 

If you ski a lot, knowing how to do basic ski maintenance can save you some money.   It’s not hard. In fact, our boys have been waxing our skis since they were about 10 years old.

Here’s what you need:

  • A scraper
  • Three Brushes — Stiff brass, horsehair, nylon
  • A file and edge tool
  • An Arkansas stone
  • Wax
  • An iron
  • Giant rubber bands
  • A bench, preferably with clamps.

To round-up all of this stuff, visit your ski shop and see what they sell.

Or for all-in-one ease, check out the Demon Complete Tune Kit, with everything you need to tune skis or snowboards. The $89.99 kit includes an edge tuner, tuning stone, wax scraper, flat file, wire brush, mini iron, polish pad and Ptex. They also sell wax.

demon ski and snowboard tune kit

The Demon complete tune kit: mini iron and all!

Speaking of wax (and tools and more), other resources include the Holmenkol and Swix websites. The tools on these sites are bigger and more durable, designed for pros and families that tune a lot of skis.

Ski Tuning 101

Once you’ve got the tools, the fun begins. Seriously, it is fun.

1. On Your Mark.

Set up your table or bench. Retract the ski bindings out of the way. Secure ski to the table or bench.

move ski bindings out of the way

2. Get Set.

Scrape your skis from top to bottom (always go in just one direction, tip-to-tail, for the entire length of the ski). Repeat 5-10 times.

Brush the bases in one direction. Start with the stiff brass brush. Repeat 5-10 times. Repeat with the horsehair brush and then the nylon brush.

brush skis

Sharpen the edges with the file and edge tool. Repeat until the edge is sharp enough to lightly cut your fingernail (the big flat part) as you run it along the edge. Only do the top edge. Aside from waxing, all base work needs to be done by a pro.

sharpen ski edges

Run the Arkansas stone lightly along the edges to smooth out any burrs or rough spots.

3. Go!

With an iron, drip wax along the base of your skis. Smooth out the wax with the iron. Let the skis rest for about 2 hours so the bases can absorb the wax.

wax skis

Scrape off the wax. Use the scraper, the stiff brass brush, the horsehair brush and the nylon brush, in that order. Repeat 5-10 times with each tool until you aren’t brushing up any colored wax. Then, wipe your skis off with a soft cloth and you’re done!


Related Posts





© 2014 – 2013, Kristen Lummis. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.