The 10 Minute Tune – Tools

| June 25, 2008

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.

 A basic backcountry skiing tune-up kit.

Tools of the Quick-Tune Trade:

Base cleaner (lacquer thinner works)
Metal scraper
Plastic scraper
10″ file (worth getting a good one)
File card/brush
Medium Diamond Stone (coarse)
Wax (warm weather bulk wax)
Scotch-Brite pad
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

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (4)

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  1. Polly says:

    The best way to get your skis tuned is to tell your husband you love him, but it doesn’t always work!

  2. Liz Schulte says:

    I thought you told him something a bit more specific than that! Words can only you get you so far. Maybe that’s why is just a 10 minute tune…

  3. Bob says:

    Liz has a good point here. What should a grrl say to her man if she wants to get a full-service tune?

  4. admin says:

    Fill’er up?

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