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When you own ski equipment, it is easy to forget to get your skis serviced on a regular basis to keep them in tip-top condition.  However, some minimal maintenance will go a long way to prolonging the life of the ski and increasing the performance.  These 5 top tips offer some guidance on how you can get the best out of your skis. 

Image by David Heslop

1  Wax Regularly


Waxing your skis regularly helps to keep them gliding fast and smoothly over the snow.  Without wax, ski bases will gradually dry out giving them a white/chalky appearance which makes them feel slow and sticky on the slopes.  Ideally waxing every 3 to 4 days of skiing, will keep the skis in good shape for a more enjoyable time on the slopes.  There are various waxes available which are suitable at different temperatures.  However, if you are waxing skis yourself, it is best to use a Universal Wax which can be used in all conditions.

3  Maintain Your Edges


Taking care of your ski edges will keep them carving on the toughest terrain.  On a daily basis, if possible, you can lightly remove any rough burrs on the edges which affect the performance of the ski and over time can attract rust.  There are various hand held stones available, such as diamond/hard/ gummy stones, so it's best to seek advice from a Ski Service Store where they will show you the options and how to use it correctly.  It is important to follow the angle of the edges, such as with a bevel guide, to avoid changing how the ski performs.  As a guide, ski edges should be sharpened after roughly one week of skiing, but this varies depending on their condition.  Be aware of when the skis start sliding around the turn and not gripping, as this is a key sign.  To avoid rust on the edges, wipe the edges dry whenever you are not skiing.

5  Store In The Correct Conditions

Ski Stand

At the end of your ski trip or season, it is important to store the skis correctly to avoid causing any damage.  It is often a good time to get a full tune to ensure the skis are in top shape for next winter.  Skis should be dried thoroughly before storing to avoid rust to the edges.  A thick layer of storage wax should be applied to the base and edges and scraped just before your next trip.  The storage wax prevents oxygen getting into the base and drying it out, which in turn affects the performance of the ski.  Store the skis in a cool, dry, ventilated room.  Avoid direct sunlight as UV light will gradually damage the base and top sheet.

2  Look For Structure In The Base


To keep your skis running smoothly, they need wax and a structure (pattern) in the base to allow them to glide freely over the snow.  The structure is put into the ski base by a stone grinder which are available in Ski Service Workshops.  The stone grinder puts little grooves into the base which changes the amount of friction between the ski and the snow.  Ski Service Technicians will vary the structure depending on whether the snow is cold and dry, or heavy and wet to produce the best results for the conditions.  This process is included in a Full Tune and should be carried out roughly every 2 weeks of skiing.  It is important it is not done too often, otherwise you end up removing too much base material and too much edge. 

4  Get Your Binding Tested


It is a good idea to get into the habit of having your ski binding tested once a year to ensure it is still releasing as it should.  In the event of a fall, you want your ski boot to release from the ski to prevent any serious injuries.  Over time parts can wear and sometimes need to be replaced to keep them working as they should.  You may also find that your recommended DIN setting has changed from the previous year if your ability, height, weight or boot size have changed.  These tests are often inexpensive but provide peace of mind knowing they are adjusted and functioning correctly.  Be aware that when bindings reach a certain date, manufacturers will no longer recommend servicing these bindings as they can't guarantee they will function as they should.  In these cases ski technicians will refuse to work on these bindings, for your safety.

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