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Topsheet and Sidewall Preparation

Step Two: Topsheet & Sidewall Preparation

Tools needed:

Topsheets: The Topsheet on new skis & boards are often very 'square' in the tips and tails which can interfere with your ability to apply the correct side-edge bevel. Without adjusting this profile it’s difficult to file correctly, due to insufficient clearance for the file to cut the edge.

Step 1:

With your ski on its side in the vise (base facing away from you - optional) shape the topsheet using a Body File applying even consistent pressure with your passes ensuring you’re rolling the file away from the edge. You can also use a combination of your 150mm or 250mm Cut 12 File gripping only the top and bottom, keeping your elbow tight to your side and applying windshield wiper type passes. This will remove the majority of the material quickly. Then switch to your finer 150mm Cut 17 file to shape or angle it exactly how you desire, if you prefer a finer finish. The file pressure you use is dependent on the hardness of the material you’re working with. You also have the option of using our Topsheet Removal tool to do this job. Remember to visually inspect to confirm you've created enough clearance so that your file or stone on the guide is contacting only the steel edge and not loading up with topsheet materials.

Step 2:

Then smoothen it further with 220-400 grit sandpaper or Fibertex to make the tip and tail portion of the topsheet ultra-smooth.
Sidewalls: The sidewall of the ski or board consists of what we call the sidewall step (to be removed) a thin hard layer of hardened aluminum alloy found on many skis and boards but not all (i.e. junior skis). Next to this is the steel edge that you want to sharpen to your preferred degree of bevel. Similar to the topsheet, we remove the sidewall step and often and some of the aluminum alloy because it interferes with the files ability to contact the steel edge, making it impossible to sharpen the side-edge on your desired bevel. Remove some or all of the step depending on your preference. For the recreational skier, remove whenever needed.

Step 3:

Place your Sidewall Removal Tool on the base of the ski. Set the roller-bearing on the edge keeping the tool parallel to the edge. Insert the pin standing behind the tool and then steady the pin with half of your thumb on the aluminum block and half on the pin to prevent it from moving. Next, ensure the cutter is just touching the black sidewall step, then adjust your rake anywhere between 10 and 40 degrees, (you’ll need to experiment) however a slight twist most often works perfectly. Next, tighten the screw.

Step 4:

Dependent on the type of sidewall material, long even passes, without stopping, allowing the tool to do the work, most often deliver the best results. Use of the tool in sections or a ‘stop/start’ approach can create tiny grooves in the sidewall that may grow into severe chatter marks with more passes.

Step 5:

If speed is important to you then spend time blending the work done on the top-sheets and sidewalls by sanding and polishing them with the goal of making them faster. Simply wrap 220 or finer grit sandpaper or fibre-tex around your file or true bar and sand until smooth removing all imperfections. To sand out the slight concave use either the natural curvature in your thumb or use a dowel pin.

Notes: Be sure to get the locater pin adjusted accurately on the first pass so that it’s removing the step. If it isn’t - for instance the cutter is hitting the edge, then simply stop and readjust. Your downward pressure on the sidewall with the cutter should be very light initially. Once the curl starts you can increase your downward pressure and then ease up again at the opposite end of the ski to prevent it from biting into the thinner sections of the top-sheet you've already altered. Keep your speed consistent by moving with the tools keeping your left hand either on the ski or on the tool for improved accuracy and balance.

Still having trouble? After you have created clearance for both files and stones in relation to the topsheet and the sidewall you may still encounter problems filing due to slippage. You may solve this by adjusting the sidewall tool to remove a little of the aluminum alloy layer mentioned earlier. Spring like steel strands indicate you are removing it correctly. As before, if you’re hitting the steel edge, simply stop and readjust.

Which cutter should I use? Sidewall materials used on skis and boards vary greatly not only amongst different manufacturers but also between junior and adult skis. Round and Square cutters come in different grades and sharpness and work differently. Therefore, choosing the correct cutter is essential. Round cutters are typically better for sandwich construction skis, whereas, square cutters are typically better for cap construction skis.

Coaching Tip: The main implications affecting an un-acclimatized skier/border at altitude are; the rate at which energy is produced aerobically is reduced as well as the ability to tolerate lactic acid resulting from the intense efforts. Here is a simple strategy for arriving to an altitude that is higher than you are used to:

• Take the first day off if you have plenty of time
• Consume increased amounts of water to offset dehydration - 4-6 liters
• Take the first couple of days easier - lower the intensity of your work at altitude (1200M+)
• Get extra sleep on the first few days by going to bed earlier rather than sleeping in
• Do mentally stimulating activities to prevent boredom while not boarding or skiing!

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