Base Edge Tuning
Step One: Base Edge Tuning
- 150 or 250mm WC Sidecut Base-Edge File
- True Bar
- Diamond Stone 400 or 600 grit and/or Ceramic Stone (optional)
- Permanent Felt Pen (optional)
- Base Bevel Guide (0.5, 0.7, 1.0 or 1.5 degrees)
After fixing any marks on your base it's important to determine the flatness of your base and your current base-edge bevel. Even brand new equipment may come edge-high and therefore base-edge work (flat filing or stoning) will be required before your first day on the snow to prevent frustration. Depending on snow conditions and individual preferences, skis and boards are base-edged beveled differently; 0.5 to 1.5 degree of base-edge bevel is most common. The current trend is as follows: 0.5-0.7 degrees – for all Slalom skis and agressive carving style skiers and boarders. 0.5-1.0 degrees for all GS/SG skis and 0.7-1.5 for both free-ride skiers and boarders.
Before assessment with a True Bar be sure your base is clean & wax free. If necessary, use a soft steel or brass brush either by hand or roto to help. Then wipe off the debris. Next, either remove your ski from the vice and rest it on your shoulder towards a light or keep it secured in the vise and place your true bar (part #TBWC) on the base and evaluate in sections approximately 10cms apart. You will quickly learn if your base is concave, convex or appropriately flat with the correct base-edge bevel for the respective skier or boarder. If the True Bar can be rocked from side to side then the base is “high” or convex. On the snow this may feel as if you cannot get sufficient edge grip making controlled turning difficult. If the base is concave often causing the edges to be high or “railed” you’ll see excessive light under the center area of the “true bar”. On the snow this may feel as if your ski or board is on rails, making turning very difficult with a grabby or catchy sensation.
If the base is Convex it may be remedied by wrapping 120-220 grit sand paper around your True Bar and using long strokes from tip to tail to remove material until flat. Periodically check your progress with your True Bar. You may want to finish with a finer 200-400+ grit paper. Brush out all debris and micro-fibres with a soft steel or brass brush.
If the base is Concave and the edges are high which may be the case even with new skis and boards particularly at the tips and tails then focus more on these areas where the steel is higher than the body of the ski. For the majority of skiers it’s common to apply slightly more base-edge bevel to the tips and tails to assist in easier turn execution. Note: Some newly ground skis can be edge-high throughout their length, which may drastically impact both ski performance and skill development. In these situations you will need to true the entire length of the edges by hand or re-grinding by machine.
Note: A 1.0-degree base bevel at the front of the ski (10-20cm) allows the ski to “slide” or “steer” the top part of the turn easier especially on steeper terrain or in tight courses where ‘clean carving is not achievable’. This is an option to eliminate the “grabby” feeling making your turns much easier if ‘steering’ is required. Start by testing 0.7 degree bevel on all of your skis/boards and increase as desired. Remember, you can always increase base bevel but you cannot decrease it without re-grinding your base. Remember a 0.5-degree base bevel is more aggressive which means that the skis do not steer/pivot/slide as easily as a 1.0 degree base-edge bevel.
Mark your edges with the permanent felt tip marker to enable you to see how much base edge you are removing (optional - mostly for new tuners).
Insert 150 or 250mm WC Sidecut Base-Edge File into the Base Bevel Guide ensuring that the ½ moon portion of the guide meets the sidewall. This becomes your guide as it glides along the sidewall of the ski.
Remember that files are designed to cut in one direction - on the ‘pull stroke’ not the ‘back stroke’ (see Step 1 of our how-to videos). One technique (when learning) is to slightly lift the file on the backstroke keeping the guide and file steady as to not mark base. Then set the file-in-guide on the ski and with very light pressure draw it towards you, feeling the file cutting the steel. Moving the file every 2-3 passes in approx. 1cm increments will prevent the file clogging up with metal. It’s crucial to keep the file and base clear of all debris. Apply this same technique to any other high spots that you may have encountered on the previously marked edge. Finish with one light pass confirming your work is a smooth and even ensuring very little or no resistance from the file to prevent a wavy edge. Be sure the entire width and length of the edge is the same colour and ‘shiny’.
Frequently waxing your bases with Nanox helps prevent premature wear due to friction. Assuming you don’t do any rock damage you will not need to use a file on the base-edge every time you sharpen your skis! Once you are satisfied with your base-edge bevel, leave it and maintain your ski or boards sharpness by side-filing and/or stoning. Base beveling the edge furthest from you is an easy way to keep things consistent. You will need to file from tip to tail on one edge and then tail to tip on the other when you flip it around.Coaching Tip: Our bodies use approx. 2L of H2O/day for normal bodily function. When we exercise, particularly at altitude (1200m +) several responses such as increased ventilation and heart rate occur within the body. This means we need to increase our fluid intake to prevent dehydration and in turn an involuntary decrease in work capacity. A 2% decrease in weight caused by fluid loss can lower physical performance by as much as 20%. Drink as much as 4 to 6 liters of fluid/day if you are training or working hard at altitude. Drinking prior, during and after training or working on the mountain will aid in the prevention of environmental effects and as a result enhance skiing performance. Alcohol and caffeine contribute to dehydration and therefore are not included in your daily fluid intake.