Winter Tuning Skis And Snowboards

So you’ve treated your skis or snowboard to its yearly service, however, you may wish to give them a basic service while you are on your trip. Maintaining your skis or snowboard bases and edges is vital to getting the best out of your gear, so have a read of this guide if you want to keep them in tip-top condition!

(We do not accept any responsibility for any damaged caused whilst following this guide. You should be comfortable in completing the work before starting)

Rub On Wax

If you don’t have access to a waxing iron or the time to use ‘melt on wax’ then a rub on wax is the next best thing, with Dakine doing their own High Octane Rub on Wax! So your gear has had the full works but many melt on waxes only last 3-5 days so to maintain this improved performance all holiday why not use a rub on wax either apply it in your hotel or better yet on the mountain for a workshop with a view.

dakine rub on wax
Dakine Rub-on-Wax for skis and snowboards.

Generally many rub on waxes are suitable for all temperatures and the process is simple, just rub into the base then buff it out with either a nylon brush or the attached cork on the Dakine applicator. This immediately improves/maintains performance for around one day where the process would then need repeating. All in all this option is simple and so easy anyone no matter your experience can do!

Melt On Wax

Despite modern advances in ski and snowboard base design these still dry and wear out over time and in turn reduce performance! It’s key to wax your gear on a regular basis before, during and after your trip if you really want, with hot (melt on) waxes being the best as it allows the wax to penetrate deeply into the base structure for added durability.

These melt on waxes or ‘glide’ waxes help increase the speed you can ride through creating a thin layer of water between the snow and base with different waxes suited to varying temperatures throughout the winter season and generally last between 3-5 days of normal riding.

Warm Waxes (Dakine Warm Wax suitable above -3oC)

Cold Waxes (Dakine Cold Wax suitable between -15 and -7oC)

All temp Waxes (Suitable for a mix of warm and cold conditions)

To apply this type of wax you will need to get a specific wax iron, plastic scrapper, base cleaner and nylon brush (don’t use your household iron as the holes will become clogged with wax) after treating yourself to this equipment you’re then ready to follow these steps:

1.      Firstly retract your binding brakes and position the ski or snowboard in a clamp or 2 high back chairs.

2.      Prepare your base for waxing using a base cleaning compound which removes all the old wax and dirt.

3.      Rub the wax by hand onto the base like your colouring the base with a crayon (adds another layer of protection against the heat of the iron)

4.      Melt the wax on a low temperature (120-140oC) in zig zag movement across the entire length of the ski or snowboard.

5.      Then you run the iron over the wax melting it and spreading evenly over the base (ensure you don’t stay in one place as it can damage the base though becoming too hot move 1-2 inches per second)

6.      Allow the wax to cool at room temperature for a few hours, overnight if possible.

7.      You’re now ready to remove the excess wax, so grab your plastic scraper and use the sharp edge to scrap the wax working from the tip to the tail of the ski or snowboard. (also remove any wax from the edges)

8.      You need to make sure you have removed enough wax and to test this scrape the base with your fingernail and if little or no wax comes off your ready for the next step.

9.      Then starting with a stiff nylon brush work from tip to tail with medium strokes until you have a shinny glossy look to the base.

10.  Finally use a soft nylon brush working from tip to tail to finish the waxing process.

This might sound like a long process but once you have done it a few times it will become second nature and you will get a great sense of achievement of waxing your own gear and over time will save you money!

Edge Tuning

You may have heard of edge tuning amongst your snow sport friends, it’s basically the adjustment of the metal edges that run around your board or ski and has a big impact on how your equipment performs. Up in the mountains the conditions can change day by day so the option of fine tuning your skis or snowboard to suit the conditions appeals to a lot of riders with the following guide giving a basic understanding of the process.

dakine edge tuning tool
Dakine Edge Tuning Tool for skis and snowboards.

There are two types of edge a base and a side, with the side edge being the one normally adjusted as the base generally stays at 1o as any lower and you will constantly catch an edge when riding. The following side edge degrees show the advantages and disadvantages of varying degrees:

1o (Gives a 90o edge profile and is the strongest combination possible great for a neutral feel for a range of riders but isn’t great on hard pack snow and ice)

2o (Gives an 89o edge profile and will require slightly more tuning over 1o yet is much better on hard packed piste’s giving improved edge grip when carving yet beginners may find this option hard as it requires more lean to engage the edges)

3o (Gives an 88o edge profile which is generally found on high performance Piste skis with this combination offering excellent edge hold on packed snow and ice requiring the user to be much more aggressive to engage the edges)

So once you’ve determined which edge angle is best for you use a high quality edge tuning tool such as the Dakine Mini Edge Tuner. To get the perfect fine tuned edge follow the steps below:

1.      Firstly retract your binding brakes and position the ski or snowboard in a clamp or 2 high back chairs.

2.      Pull the file towards you working from tip to tail (short overlapping strokes)

3.      For beginners you can use a black pen on the edges so you know where you have edged as the metal will go from black to shinny metal.

4.      Then polish with a diamond stone blue (coarse) then red (fine) then finish with green (extra fine)

Now you have completed a full wax and edge tune your sure to have a fun filled high performance time on the slopes. For any more details on servicing we offer give the Pro Shop Team a call on 01778 347000 where the experienced staff with be more than happy to help.

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Freeride World Tour

So you might be thinking to yourself what is freeriding? It’s basically skiing or snowboarding on natural, un-groomed runs which have no set course or specific set of rules. Many riders it is called off-piste or backcountry depending where about’s in the world you’re from!

The thought of riding this challenging terrain is what appeals to so many people, combining numerous skill areas such as freestyle and piste riding into one all mountain style giving you the freedom to take on any terrain you encounter. With any snow sports there are associated risks but these are amplified significantly when freeriding but on the other hand you get to experience untouched areas of the mountain challenging your skills with such varied terrain.

Back in the 1940’s freeriding was in its infancy and wasn’t until the 1970’s where gear had improved to such a level that freeriding attracted audiences on a global level. Closely following the French were the Americans where a group of young enthusiastic riders took on the steep terrain of the Rockies and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges.

This influx of new riders really set the scene for the first ever freeride contest, the ‘World Extreme Ski Championships’ WESC held in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, Alaska! Not forgetting the snowboarders the ‘World Extreme Snowboard Championships’ was established in 1992 which soon transformed into the widely recognised King Of The Hill competition still running today.

For many years these two disciplines remained completely separate before a crazy business man by the name Nicholas Hale Woods launched the Verbier Extreme in 1996 with 2004 marking the year when ten of the world’s top freeride skiers were invited to take part, revolutionising the sport as we know it!

Today this pioneering man Nicholas Hale Woods plays a crucial part in the organising and running of one of the world’s most extreme snow sport competitions the Freeride World Tour! Featuring five stops in five countries riders battle against each other in search of worldwide recognition. Below we delve a little deeper into the five 2016 resorts!

Freeride: It’s basically skiing or snowboarding on natural, un-groomed runs which have no set course or specific set of rules! © Freeride World Tour

22nd January 2016 (Vallnord Arcalis, Andorra)

Located in the northern valleys of Andorra the Arcalis is a smaller slice of the much larger Vallnord skiing area. This resort features stunning views and multiple tree lined runs and is categorised into the most alpine resort in the Vallnord skiing area due to being north facing and its numerous steep slopes.

Handpicked from other resorts the Arcalis is home to some of the best off Piste skiing in Andorra holding on to its powder much longer due to receiving less sun. Here are some key facts about the resort:

30km Pistes with 27 runs
442 Hectares of skiable area
One terrain park
Longest run 8km
33% Beginner + 22% Intermediate + 37% Advanced + 7% Expert
Summit 2625m / 1940m Base

6th February 2016 (Chamonix Mont Blanc, France)

Located on the border of France, Switzerland and Italy this well known resort is at the base of the highest summit in the Alps, Mont Blanc featuring some amazing alpine skiing. Many people believe that Chamonix was the birthplace of alpine skiing with its claim to fame being the resort to host the first winter Olympics back in 1924.

It’s perfect mix of runs appeals to a wide range of riders and also features the world renowned 20km (12mile) Valley Blanche which is an extremely high off Piste run that circles the entire resort, a challenge for any aspiring expert skier. Here are some key facts about the resort:

119km Pistes with 106 runs
308 Hectares of skiable area
One Terrain Park
Longest run 20km
14% Beginner + 34% Intermediate + 38% Advanced + 14% Expert
Summit 3275m / 1042m Base

With any snow sports there are associated risks but these are amplified significantly when freeriding ! © Freeride World Tour

6th March 2016 (Fieberbrunn Kitzbuheleralpen, Austria)

Part of the much larger Triol skiing area the Fieberbrunn is a large resort in its own right with many of its runs tailored towards the intermediate rider yet still features runs for the more advanced rider.

Alot of the terrain here is extremely enjoyable with perfectly groomed runs with the option to head into the wide open powder fields to test your skills. Fieberbrunn is seen as a hidden gem within the Alps and one to visit during your riding career, below are a few key facts about the resort:

35km Pistes with 26 runs
34 Hectares of skiable area
One Half pipe
35km Cross Country
13km Blue + 22km Red + 3km Black
Summit 2020m / 830m Base

17th March 2016 (Haines, Alaska)

Haines, Alaska features some of the world’s best heli skiing terrain with over 5000ft of vertical drop and scenic powder runs that will keep you wanting more testing your skills to the very edge.

The mountain ranges surrounding Haines have a dry snowpack with some of the most stable weather systems found anywhere in Alaska. The sleepy community and picturesque landscapes makes this a centre for wilderness adventures in Alaska.

World’s largest non polar ice cap
5000ft of vertical drop
Situated at one of Alaska’s great fjords

Featuring five stops in five countries riders battle against each other in search of worldwide recognition! © Freeride World Tour

2nd April 2016 (Verbier, Switzerland)

Verbier is in the centre of one of one of the largest ski areas in Europe, the four valleys! The exciting terrain combined with scenic views and abundance of snow makes this resort a sure fire bet for late or early season riding.

Two recently open lifts has made accessing the four valleys area even easier and with the right conditions is host to a trail of 15km descending over 2500m making it one of the biggest and best vertical runs in the world.  Below are a few key facts about the resort:

177km Pistes with 37 runs
162 Hectares of skiable area
36% Intermediate + 37% Advanced + 27% Expert
Summit 3330m / 1500m Base

Event Feeding Into Products

This world renowned event has become so successful numerous snow sport companies are incorporating the name into some of their products for example Teko Freeride World Tour sock and Dakine Freeride World Tour Backpack both available at the Tallington Lakes Pro Shop both in store and online.

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