Care and Feeding of Alpine Race Skis
(Ski Tuning)

Ski tuning is the process by which you keep your equipment in good repair. Most ski shops offer this service at a cost. It is necessary for even the best hand tuners to occasionally have a shop service and repair their equipment.
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As always, you should follow your coach's advice first and foremost. Techniques and tools for ski tuning differ by technician and company. Rather than preparing yet another ski tuning document or video, I have linked to resources that I believe offer good information. As I am primarily an Alpine coach, I will leave an explanation of Nordic equipment care for someone more experienced with that equipment. There is overlap between the two, but kick wax should never be near an Alpine ski.
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In general, I consider it a reasonable starting place for middle-school-aged racers to be able to wax their skis with hydrocarbon wax several times a week during the season. In order to accomplish this, the skier needs wax. It is best to start with some universal broad-range wax (warm and cold) until the skier becomes able to handle a more complex waxing system. While learning to wax, a beginner will use much more wax than an experienced tuner would, and it is better to use a slightly less specific wax and have the right wax on the ski than to miss the wax and be in the wrong range for the conditions. So, universal broad-range wax is the best choice.

To get started, you will need an iron. An iron designed specifically for ski waxing is nice, but when starting out, any iron that you can control the temperature on will suffice. Good waxing irons have no holes in the bottom, a very large heavy metal plate to hold the heat, and a very accurate temperature control and regulation. The iron should never be hot enough to make the wax smoke.

The smoke from fluorocarbon wax is highly toxic.

During a season, there are often opportunities to attend tuning clinics offered by the major ski company representatives, experienced tuners, and shops. Make every effort to attend. New information, techniques and products come out every year.

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Waxing-specific iron, left, old steam iron, right

Links to sites with videos and information on ski tuning I recommend:

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