The importance of taking care of and maintaining your skis and/or board is sometimes underestimated. But a good car on bad tires is just as dramatic as a fantastic board or skis of which the base is dry and the steel edges are blunt and full of rust. Good maintenance ensures that your equipment lasts longer, you are a lot faster and have a better edge hold. You can go to a professional, but you can also do a lot of work yourself. I maintain my gear at least three times a winter:
I have done the maintenance of my own boards and those of my friends for years, but I also bring my boards to a professional once in a while. The video above shows what's done by a professional:
It all starts with an inspection. What type of base do you have? What is the state of the base? Are there deep cuts? Is it dry and white-stained? What do the edges look like? Are they still thick enough? What's the quality of the edges? What does the sidewall look like? Are there cracks or breaks in it? What is the state of the top sheet? After a thorough inspection you have an idea what needs to be done.
'C'est le freeride'. Damage to your board or skis is part of the life of a freerider. Not that I deliberately search for sharks, but it happens. C'est le freeride.
Damage is part of the life of a freerider. That is why I put money aside for maintenance and save some money each month for a new board. I often use old boards during the start of winter (when the risk of damaging the board is bigger). Think of deep scratches. In order to minimize the damage, I prefer to use boards with a sintered base. A sintered base is more durable and less vulnerable for scatches. When I hit a shark, I prefer the damage in the length of the board and preferably not a 90 degree angle to the edge, which are harder to repair. Finally, (a well-waxed) sintered base just slides better, especially in warmer weather. The disadvantage is that I have to wax more often, but in reward I get a faster board.
I am not afraid of some scratches in my P-tex, I simply repair them by filling them. Sometimes the 'remove' scratches by removing a couple of milimeters of the base on a grinder, but that's not a durable option. I prefer to fill up scratches and scrape the edges with a thin metal scraper. I am also careful with my steel edges. I make sure they are smooth and sharpen them with a diamond file twice a winter: when I store my board during the season and once halfway through the season.
Waxing your skis or snowboard is not that difficult. Wax regularly to prevent the base from becoming dry. Make sure your board or skis are dry and clean. Also remove the bindings from your board. By waxing the board manually, I can apply several layers and let the base fill up with wax. I use a colder (harder) wax near the edges. It depends on the current temperatures of the region where I want to go what kind of wax I use for the rest of my board. In short:
Dry your board or skis after the hot wax has been put on. The wax is dry after 15 minutes and you can start scraping off any excess wax from your base with a special wax scraper (hard plastic or metal plate), do this in pushing movements in the sliding direction. I use a hard metal scraper. Do this meticulously and remove all excess wax from your board or skis. In short:
Polish your board or skis after the scraping process. Professionals use a polishing machine and finish the base by hand. You can really feel the last parts of the wax and your board is as smooth as can be.
Board or skis smooth again? Then you are good to go and hit the next PowderAlert. You will see that you are faster, which will help in making that traverse of flat part of the mountain. Have fun!
How do you guys maintain your gear?