Looking after your skiing or snowboarding equipment is essential if you want it to perform at a high level for a long time. There are a number of tools that you can use for ski and snowboard maintenance. The most common forms of maintenance that you can perform at home are tuning your ski and board bindings, applying wax to your skis or board, and sharpening your edges. In order to perform these tasks, you’ll need the correct tools for the job.
If you are serious about maintaining top speed on the mountain, you’re going to want to not only wax your skis or board regularly, but keep your edges sharp as well. This can be a tricky job, and we advise that unless you are experienced with ski and board maintenance, that you take your gear to a shop and get a professional technician to do it for you.
Tools for Sharpening Edges
A 'file guide' will enable you to get the angle of your edges just right to within one degree.
A 'coarse steel file' should be used only for creating the correct edge profile.
'Diamond tipped files' are used to create increasingly sharper and sharper edges as you file.
After filing, you will normally use a 'gummy stone' to polish them removing any small burrs without affecting the profile of the sharpened edge.
Regularly applying wax to the base of your skis or board can do wonders for your speed on the slope and on flat terrain. Before you know it you’ll be gliding past your mates between runs and they won’t even know why! In order to apply wax to your skis or board, you’ll need a few tools.
Wax itself comes in a number of varieties suited to various weather conditions. Some wax is designed for ‘all temperatures,’ while others are designed specifically to perform well on cooler or warmer snow. All-temperature wax is a good bet if you are skiing in locations where the weather changes regularly.
Wax ranges in price based on the content of perfluorocarbons. Ski wax used on racing skis will contain a higher number of perfluorocarbons and is therefore more expensive. When PFC’s get in the atmosphere they can be harmful to the person using wax, so it is important to perform the application in a well ventilated area and to wear a face mask.
To apply your wax you are going to need a 'waxing iron.' A waxing iron is used to melt the hard block of wax dripping it onto the base of your skis, and then smoothing it into any lines or gouges in the ski’s P-Tex layer. A waxing iron is designed to run at a constant ideal temperature for applying wax, much better than using the clothes iron at home (and you won’t risk wrecking it!).
'Scrapers' allow you to thin the layer of wax once it has been applied so that all you are left with is a thin layer of wax filling any cracks or lines in the base. Scrapers are made from either plastic or metal and need to be sharpened regularly in order to perform well.
'Wax Brushes' are used after scraping away the excess wax to polish it making it super smooth and making your skis or board super fast.
Other tools and applicants
'P-Tex' is used on the base of skis and snowboards to create the smooth, low resistance surface that allows you to glide across the snow. For the techies out there, it is ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene. But we will stick to P-Tex from here on out. P-Tex is easily repaired, extremely tough and works amazingly in conjunction with wax making it perfect for ski and snowboard bases.
A 'multitool' is an essential part of any skier or boarders kit. Keep one in your bag for adjusting bindings on the go, or even for basic repair jobs up the mountain.
A 'snow shovel' is much more useful than you might at first think. They can be used for building jumps or repacking areas where snow has been worn away making rocks protrude. If you are skiing off-piste in areas where there is any risk of avalanches, you should always keep a snow shovel in your backpack in case you need to dig yourself or a friend out in an emergency situation.
'Screwdrivers' are great to have on you for adjusting your DIN (release force setting for ski bindings) and to adjust strap tension on snowboards.