How to Tune Race Skis
Ski Base Flatness
Flat bases are crucial for top ski performance. Concave bases (edges that are higher than the base) can be overly grippy and cause the ski to "rail out", making it nearly impossible to complete your turn. A convex ski base (base is higher than the edges) will tend to wander and make it hard for you to start your turn and hold an edge. You can check base flatness with a true bar by sighting down along the ski base with background light and note irregularities. If you see that your bases are not flat, stone grinding is the best way to ensure that your bases are flat. With some extremely concave skis, it may not be practical to grind them totally flat, but they should at least be flat on the outer 1/3 of the base.
Excessive base edge bevel is another element that can decrease ski performance. To check your base edge bevel, "paint" the base edge with a felt tip pen and run a diamond stone down the edge in the appropriate Base BEAST for your discipline and ability (see "How to Tune Edges" for recommended base bevels) and see that the stone is removing the ink. If the ink is not removed, then your angle is too aggressive and your skis should be flattened by stone grinding.
Ski Base Structure
Factory grinds are fairly universal and perform well in many conditions. However, specific conditions may warrant changing the grind on new skis.
If your skis were ground to flat the chances are that most of the structure was removed. Stone grinding can reset an appropriate ski base structure. Factors to consider are the discipline and the most typical snow and weather conditions for your region. Check with your local ski shop for recommendations.
Ski Edge Bevels
It is important to set base and side edge bevels after a stone grinding. Follow the procedures in the article "How to Tune Edges" with emphasis on a progression of finer stones for the ultimate race polish.
Ski Base Prep
For the fastest race skis possible, follow this procedure to cleanse the base and break-in the structure. It's labor intensive but necessary for podium results.
- Cleanse the ski by ironing in a soft Base Prep wax and scraping with an acrylic scraper while wax is warm or liquid. Repeat several times to remove impurities such as grinding residue and fluid.
- Iron in Base Prep wax, cool until wax is hardened, lightly scrape and brush aggressively with BEAST Soft Stainless 3-4 times tip to tail. Follow with BEAST Stiff Bronze/HH several passes. Micro hairs can be removed with several passes of a coarse fiberpad backed with a file to create even pressure across the ski base.
- Clean the ski base with Fiberlene and repeat Step 2 multiple times to mellow the grind, etch in micro-structure and saturate bases with wax. Use harder hydrocarbon waxes after several repetitions of Base Prep wax.
- Graphite Base Prep wax may be used in Step 2 or as separate ingredient in Step 3. Graphite is an anti-static and an excellent lubricant against abrasiveness.
- Clean the base with Fiberlene, iron in hydrocarbon training wax, cool, scrape and brush with BEAST Soft Bronze/HH. Finish with BEAST Horsehair and polish with a non-abrasive fiberpad and fiberlene. Take multiple runs on the mountain to further the break-in of your skis until they reach top speed.
Care & Feeding
Fast skis require tender loving care on a year-round basis. We recommend you maintain them at least monthly to prevent oxidizing of the base after your initial preparation. - Scrape off "storage" wax, brush with BEAST Stiff Bronze/HH and Horsehair followed by fiberlene. Iron in another layer of Base Prep wax for storage.
After any race or training day your skis should always be brushed out, cleaned by hot scraping and waxed with a fresh layer of storage wax.