Tuning backcountry skis is important, but doing a good job at it is not. Backcountry skis take such daily abuse that you could easily spend more time tuning them than skiing on them if you insist on a perfect World Cup racing tune. It is a matter of quantity, not quality, and the secret to quantity is to make it fast and easy. Giving your skis a ten-minute quick tune every few times you take them out makes them a lot more fun and precise to ski on.
Stripped down tune-up only requires the most basic tuning tools. The goal is to clean the bases, sharpen the edges, put some wax on them and give the bindings a visual safety inspection.
Tools of the Quick-Tune Trade:
Base cleaner (lacquer thinner works)
10″ file (worth getting a good one)
Medium Diamond Stone (coarse)
Wax (warm weather bulk wax)
P-Tex repair sticks
For bulk wax, find a generic all purpose version as you never know what kind of conditions you’ll find in the backcountry. On the file, even if the $20 version looks the same as the $8 one, the difference is in how hard they are. Ski edges are heat-treated to a high Rockwell hardness rating which will ruin a cheap-o file in a tune or two. Even though it looks like you are getting a lot of metal filings with a cheap file, they are actually coming from the file, not the edges.
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Category: 02 Gear