Poorly tuned gear can tamper with even the best Lake Tahoe ski day: If the snow is a little slick, you want to make sure your edges are sharp enough to hold your turns, and if the snow is fresh, a waxed base can help your skis glide more easily.
Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to cover—well, your bases so to speak with some minimal tuning equipment—starting with a file. The easiest way to go is to use a sharpening tool or ‘edge sharpener.’ Simply run this along your edges starting about halfway between the toe piece of your binding and the tip, and going toward the tail. Do not move the file back and forth. Give the ski a few passes, being careful not to cut your hands of course (keep them away from your edges) and voila. Run your fingernail across the edge, to check the sharpness. The edge should just scratch the surface of your nail.
You can also purchase a small pocket stone to touch up burrs and smooth your edges on the go.
Wax: The simplest way is to buy a temporary, quick-drying rub-on wax, which you can even store in your coat pocket, and apply to your bases at the top of the ski slope. An all-purpose, all-temperature wax will do the trick—especially during Spring, when the California snow conditions change more frequently. (You can purchase this type of wax and a sharpening tool in the Squaw Valley Village.)
If you don’t wish to tune your skis yourself, the Squaw Valley Rentals and Demos shop offers a complete menu of tuning services. In fact, there is a new 300-square foot tuning center, complete with a CSA Tune 3U—a highly specialized machine that returns gear to factory specifications.
The professionals at the shop can also repair dings and scratches in your bases and stone grind them, which sharpens edges like nothing else, not to mention a hot wax, which delivers lasting results.
Tuning prices range from $5 (for a simple belt wax) to $75 (for a World Cup Tune), depending on your needs. Either way, you’ll hit the slopes with more of an edge than ever.
Tell us: What is your go-to piece of tuning equipment?