Gear Guide – Five Easy Steps to Tune Your Skis or Snowboard 

July 26th, 2023
Hannes Grimus, speed to burn at Buller yesterday. Photo: Tony Harrington

Mountainwatch | Gear Guide.

It has been long time in between snowfalls this season, the story over the past few weeks in most resorts all about hardpacked groomed runs. While that has made many people more aware of the importance of maintaining edges on their skis and snowboards, you also need to a smooth and waxed base so your your equipment runs with speed.  

Regularly tuned skies and snowboards not only guarantee optimum performance but it also ensures their longevity. If you are keen to do it yourself, there are a number if tuning kits on the market that include most of things you need – wax scraper, file, edge tuning tool, P-tex, pocket stone, cleaning brush etc.  and retail around$100. Waxing irons start around $55 and go up to $120.

Tuning kits come with close to eveything you need.

Here are five steps to keep your skis or snowboard in good shape:

1 Clean the Base: Start by cleaning the base of your skis or snowboard. Remove any dirt, debris, or old wax using a plastic scraper or a copper brush specifically designed for this purpose. Use a citrus base cleaner to remove any edge filings and dirt/grime from your base. Base cleaning fluid can also be used to remove any old dirty wax from your base.Cleaning the base ensures that you have a smooth surface to work on and allows the wax to adhere properly.

2 Base Repair (if needed): Inspect the base for any major scratches, gouges, or core shots. If you find any significant damage, it’s important to repair it before going to step 3. You can use a P-Tex candle or base repair kit to fill in the damaged areas. Follow the instructions on the repair kit carefully to ensure a proper fix.

3 Edge Sharpening: Using a diamond stone or a file guide, sharpen the edges of your skis or snowboard. Start by running the file or stone along the edge at a consistent angle (usually around 88-90 degrees) to remove any burrs and dull spots. This will help enhance your control and grip on the snow. If you regularly hit the rails in the park you don’t need sharp edges, but make sure they are smooth.

If you are hitting jumps, a regularly-waxed base helps manage speed and hitting the sweet spot.  Zoi Sadwoski-Synnott, Cardrona. Photo: Camilla Rutherford Photography

4 Waxing: Apply a fresh coat of wax to the base of your skis or snowboard. Choose the appropriate wax for the snow conditions you’ll encounter (e.g., cold-temperature wax for icy conditions, warm-temperature wax for slushy snow). Use an iron to melt the wax onto the base evenly, then let it cool for some time. Once the wax is cool, use a plastic scraper to remove excess wax and a nylon brush to buff the base for a smooth finish.

5 Finishing Touches: Inspect the edges and base once more to ensure they are smooth and free from any excess wax or debris. Use a gummi stone or a deburring tool to remove any remaining burrs from the edges gently. Check the base for a flat finish by placing a straight edge along its length. If you notice any areas that are concave or convex, you need to take your skis or snowboard to the local tuning shop for a professional base grind.


Anton Grimus knows the importance of tuned skis. Photo: Tony Harrington

Well-tuned skis or snowboard means better performance and a better time on the hill. Remember the first time riding new gear, the smooth handling, acceleration and crisp finish you got out of each turn? Keeping up with regular tuning will help maintain that precision – provided you’re up to it physically. Get into it.