No need to rush the gear tuning | SierraSun.com

No need to rush the gear tuning

Alex Close
Sierra Sun
Alex Close/Sierra SunElijah Miller of Tahoe Dave's scrapes P-Tex off a snowboard that suffered serious core damage during early season riding.
ALL |

Old Man Winter has finally deposited some snow on area mountains. Thanks to manufactured snow and state-of-the-art grooming machines, those same resorts are starting to spin their lifts for the public. With the ski film premiers over with, everyone is amped up for another season of shredding the gnar.

But patience, when it comes to your gear, can be a virtue.

According to Tahoe Dave’s repair manager Elijah Miller, waiting until the snowpack is deep and the coverage is good to fully tune up your gear can be the best bet.

“A lot of people are in a hurry to tune before they’re ready,” Miller said.

With early season coverage at a minimum ” most resorts boast only 10 to 20 inches ” dings, scratches and gouges are almost a certainty for skiers and riders who brave opening weekends at area resorts.

Miller will tune skis if that is what customers want, but often times ” depending on the gear’s condition ” he will recommend that riders wait for a full tune until snowpack depth increases.

However, because early season snow is often man-made and over-groomed, very hard conditions prevail and clean sharp edges are instrumental, which is why Miller also suggests riders have one of a variety of edge stones to take off burrs that inhibit edge performance.

While hot waxing skis or boards with temperature-specific wax can increase performance, early season conditions can tear apart a tune after two hours of skiing or riding.

What Miller does suggest is to check bindings once a year.

For snowboards, simply check that all screws are tight.

Skiers can loosen the tension setting on their bindings and then retighten them to work the grease back throughout the springs.

Michael Dowden, also a repair manager at Dave’s, said that often customers will bring in skis early in the season and he will have to loosen and tighten the bindings multiple times before the springs will perform accurately in a test.

When it comes to safety, checking out bindings is key.

“If you love your ligaments and your legs, it’s definitely worth while to check bindings once a year,” Miller said.

In addition to checking tension accuracy, Miller said that it is important to have a reputable repair shop match new equipment with old. Many people buy new boots, assume the sole length is close enough and just step in and start ripping.

Miller said that there are many minute adjustments and fittings, and that those little things can make a difference if left unchecked.

Miller also recommends de-tuning ” filing or dulling out ” nose and tail edges on new skis or boards before riding them. Razor sharp nose and tail edges will catch easily, sending riders down hard and unexpected.

While tuning can help performance, but is often a waste of time or money early in the season, another option is to invest in a pair of rock skis or a rock board.

Area consignment shops have great deals on used equipment that can be fully tuned and allow skiers to rip without worrying about destroying their brand new gear.

“Think about having a rock board in your quiver,” Miller said. “It’s worth saving your nice gear.”

Regardless of method, when it comes to a sport as expensive as skiing or snowboarding, wasting money on needless tunes or ruining brand new gear on sparse snow is something to be avoided. And you definitely can’t rip on crutches, so safety is also something to spend a few minutes on.

In the end, early-season skiers and riders might do well to curb their enthusiasm and save that full professional tune for the week before a big dump is expected.