No-sweat DIY tips for sharpening your skis like a pro

December 16, 2014

Before hitting the slopes, ensure your skis are in top shape for best performance. To help, here are some no-sweat DIY tips for sharpening your skis like a pro.

No-sweat DIY tips for sharpening your skis like a pro

Regular maintenance of your ski gear can make all the difference when hitting the slopes. In fact, in the world of downhill skiing, knowing how to sharpen skis is a key component to equipment maintenance. Why?

  • Sharp skis improve performance, reduce the chance for injury, and will prolong the life of your skis.

How do I know if my skis need sharpening?

The frequency of ski sharpening depends on a few factors.

Run/snow conditions: icier conditions wear the edges much quicker than powdered snow.

  • If skiing in regions with icier conditions, you will require sharpening more often than in powdered snow. Frequency/your level of skill is another factor that dictates how often to sharpen your skis.
  • Pros and advanced skiers demand more aggressive performance from their skis and typically have them sharpened every three to five visits.
  • For intermediate skiers, every five to eight visits is more common.
  • Beginners can get away with sharpening roughly every 10 trips to the slopes.

To test if your skis need sharpening:run a thumbnail across the edge at different points on the ski.

  • If the edge shaves off a little bit of nail, they are still sharp. If not, it's likely time for a sharpening.

Where can I get my skis sharpened?

Almost every ski resort pro-shop will offer sharpening services. If you prefer to do your ski sharpening in advance:

  • Head to a local speciality ski shop.
  • Visit the service centre at a large-chain sporting store.
  • Try tackling the job yourself.

Do it yourself

With the right tools and a little practice, you can save some cash by sharpening skis yourself. You’ll need a felt tip marker, mill file, file guide, diamond stone, paintbrush, vice and a gummy stone.

To start:

  1. Secure the skis with a vice or ski stand.
  2. Use the black felt tip marker to mark the edge of the ski.
  3. Place the file on the file guide and make sure the tail of the file is pointing to the back.
  4. With the file guide in place, use the file to sharpen the edge from tip to tail, applying even pressure along the edge. File just to the felt marking.
  5. After each pass with the file, use the paintbrush to brush off file shavings.
  6. Remove any sharp burrs by placing the diamond stone on the file guide. Run the diamond stone from tip to tail until any burrs are removed.
  7. Repeat the process until the edge can shave off a thin layer of your thumbnail.
  8. De-tune the tip and tail of the ski by running the gummy stone along a short portion of the edges at the tip and tail.

Good maintenance, along with these DIY tips for sharpening your skis like a pro, can make all the difference in your performance. There's no better time than now to get your skis ready for the next time you hit the slopes!

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