An Early Season Tune-Up is a Must for Skis and Snowboards

Ski season is here, ready or not, and if you want to glide with the best, be
sure you give your boards an early season tune-up, either with a do-it-yourself
treatment or with a quick visit to your local shop.


Most important is to make sure the bases are waxed, says Tim Brush, long-time
ski tech and owner of The Glide Shop in Breckenridge.

Well-tuned skis and snowboards offer better, safer performance, including easier
turn initiation and a more consistent ride – all in all, that equals more fun.

“Your bases will last longer and your ride will be faster and smoother,” Brush
says. “Plus, with the man-made snow, there’s oil and stuff from the compressors,”
he adds, explaining that a good coat of wax will help repel that potentially
damaging gunk.

“There’s no such thing as waxing too often,” Brush says. All the major manufacturers
make a product they say is designed for optimal performance on man-made snow.
For general purposes, Brush says one of the less expensive hydrocarbon-based
waxes will suffice, though racers may want to look at one of the high-tech fluoride

Since temperatures tend to be warmer in the fall – although that can change
quickly – Brush says structure of ski or snowboard bases can be left a little
more open than during the heart of the powder season.

A binding check should also be high on the priority list. Many a skier’s season
has ended on the first day with a blown-out knee. A torque test at a ski shop
cost about $15, and it’s well worth the peace of mind, Brush says.

“If you can’t afford it, at least look the bindings over and make sure all
the pieces are there – the anti-friction pads. If the arms have rollers, make
sure those are in working order,” Brush says.

Ditto for boots. Check for cracks and loose buckles before heading to the slopes
for the first time to save yourself some aggravation.

The same goes for snowboard gear. Some snowboard bindings are notorious for
bolts and screws coming loose without any apparent reason. Leaving a board rattling
around the back of a pickup for a few weeks is a sure way to shake things loose.

Scan the edges of your skis and boards for cracks and any signs of delamination,
too. A good shop tech will likely notice things like that as he or she is tuning
them, but if you can catch that type of damage before it gets too extensive,
it might still be repairable.

For hard, early season snow, make sure the edges are sharp and smooth, Brush

Brush keeps his gear tuned year-round, since he skis at least a couple of runs
every month. He says he’s on a streak of 61 straight months (that’s five years
and one month!) of making at least a few turns somewhere in the high country.

To keep his streak alive this summer, Brush says he hiked up to an area he
calls Skyscraper Glacier, north of Rollins Pass.

“It was hours and hours of hiking about 10 turns,” he says.

For some of us, though, that makes a whole lot of sense.

If your travels take you to Breck for the 2000/2001 season, Brush says he’ll
be offering two-for-one ski tunes at his shop starting in early November. The
Glide Shop is conveniently located at 101 Ski Hill Road, on the way up to the
slopes at Breckenridge. Call 453-2111 for more information.

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