Hand Tuning vs Machine Tuning Skis


Why DIY Tune? Two main reasons really: quality & cost. It can also be fun, therapeutic & give you a sense of satisfaction. If you’ve made the financial commitment to purchase your own skis or board then you really should be doing your own tuning, not just for the cost savings (which can be considerable) but also for the greatly improved performance benefits – which after all is the reason you bought your own gear in the first place! I’m not against shop tuning, in fact, I offer a commercial ski tuning service myself. What I am against from a quality point of view is machine tuning which is basically what the vast majority of shops offer, as opposed to a hand tuning service that I offer & as performed by DIY tuners. Now certain tuning operations, like stone grinding ski bases, have to be done on a machine & these are best left to a competent machine operator. However far superior results are achievable by hand tuning the ski edges & bases that can be had using a machine – without the additional wear caused by the machine operation. After all, the World Cup ski tech’s hand tune their athlete’s skis, they don’t put them through a machine! Ten reasons why to DIY tune: Shop machine tuning grinds off excessive metal off the ski’s edges which greatly reduces edge life. Regular hand tuning using mainly diamond stones removes the minimum amount of material to maximise ski edge life. Shop machine tuning grinds edges to the machine’s pre-set angles. Hand tuning means that edge work can be done to the specific ski’s factory angles, or to any angles specified by the user, to give the best possible performance. Shop machine tuning cuts both the base & side edge angles which leads to an excessive base edge angle, increases the frequency that a base grind is required & reduces ski life. Hand tuning the side edge angle only (after initially setting the base edge angle if necessary) maximises control, the duration between base grinds & ski life. Shop tuners do not polish the edges after machine tuning. Hand polishing the edges after sharpening reduces friction & subsequent wear to the edges which maximises performance, edge strength & edge life. Shop tuners usually detune the tips & tail edges after tuning which reduces the performance of modern carving skis. Not detuning the tips & tails gives better turn initiation on carvers. If you do want to detune then a DIY’er can detune just slightly & then test etc to ensure the desired result. Shops perform unnecessary base grinds to remove base damage which removes all the impregnated wax, greatly reduces ski life & increases the cost as the edges then have to be completely re-cut. A hand tuner can repair base damage only as necessary, & then in a localised area. This gives the best repair adhesion, retains the absorbed wax in the base, negates the need for unnecessary edge work & minimises the cost. Shop tuners apply new wax on top of old which seals in the dirt & grime in the base which reduces future wax absorption, increases base wear & reduces base life. A hand tuner performs a hot wax/scrape to fully clean the base prior to waxing to maximise wax absorption, wax longevity, wax performance & base protection. Shop waxing machines remove the excess wax immediately after application which gives little time for the wax to be absorbed in to the base, giving minimum effect. A DIY’er can let the wax coat fully cool for the wax manufacturers recommended period before scraping, thus maximising wax absorption, wax longevity, wax performance & base protection. Shops use the cheapest wax possible which gives inferior performance. A DIY’er can use either specific waxes or the best universal temperature wax available (like Dominator Zoom) to give the best possible glide, control & speed in the widest range of snow conditions. A DIY’er can use base prep waxes (like Dominator Base Renew) & add additional layers of wax to maximise base protection & maximise snow time between waxings. Shop tuning if you’re a regular skier or a multi ski-owning family is going to get very expensive!

Source: The Piste Office – Why DIY tune?

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So you want to be a ski instructor? I just was for a week!

UnknownMy advice is to steer clear it’s the bottom of the barrel job at any resort.  I just wasted my time thinking this was a viable solution to be able to make money and ski at the same time but the fact of the matter is that lift attendants make better money than instructors. As an entry-level, uncertified, full-time, seasonal employee of the adult ski school, my rate of pay was $8.00 an hour and I had to be there 8 hours a day. I could deal with that if I was getting paid for 8 hours. There is an opportunity to receive tips from resort guests and you also get a free season pass to ski free on days off and free ski when not teaching lessons but instructors only get paid while actually giving lessons which is a max of 4 hours a day bringing the effective rate per hour down to only $4.00 an hour “if” you get assigned a group lesson both in the morning (2 hrs) and afternoon (2 hrs) which is not guaranteed. Then add into the mix that there is no affordable housing near the resort so there is @ 1 hour commute each way added into the mix bringing the hours expended each day up to 10 which brings down the effective pay per hour expended down to only $3.20 and that’s assuming you get assigned a class both morning and afternoon sessions. Freeskiing opportunities are limited to 45 mins in the morning as lifts open at 8:00 am and there is an instructor role call lineup at 8:45 am where 1-hour private lessons are assigned before the 10:00 group lessons. Good luck getting assigned one of those as the low man on the totem pole with ten+ certified old timer instructors competing for the few private lessons. What you wind up getting is assigned to a group of 5 to 10 people called “never evers” who are guests of the resort who’ve never ever been on skis in their life who think that for the $200 they just paid for rental equipment and a 2 hr lesson they will learn how to be the next Lindsey Vonn which we all know is impossible. At best you “may” be able to teach them how to get their gear on and how to slide ten feet then fall and get back up and get their gear back on at best. That would be for the one out of ten guests who is athletic, in shape and willing to listen to your instructions. Most are not even close to any of that so it winds up being a miserable two hours out in the cold for all parties involved and you as the instructor just made an effective $6.40. But what about the tips you may ask? Do cold, wet, thirsty, people who had unrealistic expectations that just paid $200 tip? Umm no! They go into the lodge miserable and get clipped for another $25 for crap cafeteria style lunch while you go into change out of your instructors uniform because you are only allowed to wear them while giving lessons, grab a quick bite to eat and go out an try to squeeze in one run before the next instructor lineup roll call in 45 mins where you have to be back in uniform again only to watch another old timer get the few afternoon private 1:00 lessons given out then  have to rush back in to change again out of uniform and try to sueeze in one more quick freeski run before the 1:45 rollecall lineup back in uniform to get assigned another group of “never evers” with unrealistic expectations to spend another miserable 2 hours with but  many of these people have already been in the lodge pounding down $10 brews over lunch reducing their athletic abilities to those of a bloated octopus on dry land reducing your job to being a crane operator lifting their fat asses off the snow. When that lesson is finally over and the sun is over the backside of the mountain you have exactly 15 minutes to change out of your uniform again and dash out to catch the 4:00 last chair for another free ski run. That’s a typical day in the life of a ski instructor as I experienced at one particular resort which shall remain nameless as from what I’ve read it’s a very common scenario at all US resorts with little variance from one to the other. The hourly pay rate may be slightly better from  resort to resort but the disparity between what the guest is paying the resort for the lesson and what the instructor gets paid gets even worse at the higher end with the worst case I’ve seen being at one well-known resort in Colorado that starts with a “V” where clients pay $899 for a 1 hour private lesson and the instructor pay scale tops out at $22/hr for the highest certification level which takes years if not decades to obtain.

Here’s a pay scale comparison for ski instructors worldwide. Note: Good luck finding $15/hr as a rookie anywhere in the US and then consider that you only get paid for hours you are instructing while having to be there twice as many hours.


In conclusion, I’d like to say that now at the age of 59 I have been able to finally be rid of my obsession and fantasy that being a ski instructor would be the “dream job of all jobs” so in that light I guess this little experiment of mine was worth it. If you still think as I did hopefully this blog post will spare you the horrible experience I had during the “week I was a ski instructor”.

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The Interesting and Interested Life of Vail’s Bob Parker Remembered

Bob Parker, a man of many seasons, was crucial in Vail’s early successes

A poet published in New Yorker and archaeologist, too

by Allen Best

Robert Ward Parker, a veteran of the famed 10th Mountain Division who returned to Colorado to become an integral figure in the post-World War II ski industry, died June 29 in Grand Junction, Colo. He was 94.

Much of his life was involved with skiing, from his childhood in New York and Wisconsin to training for mountain warfare in the Alps. Later, after working as a mountain guide and a ski journalist, he helped create the Vail ski area.

At Vail, which opened in 1962, his marketing efforts to draw the world’s attention were so successful that only a decade later it was the favored mountain resort for Gerald Ford even before he became the U.S. president. Parker also helped create a second ski area, Beaver Creek during a time of increasing environmental scrutiny.

If his greatest accomplishments were in skiing, he led a life so diverse that his poetry was published in the New Yorker and later in life he pursued a master’s degree in archaeology.

Parker first skied as an 11-year-old in Rochester, N.Y., using boots strapped to skis, the technology of the time. Three years later, in Wisconsin, he used the first toe-iron, heel- strap bindings, similar to those used today by telemark skiers. Safety release bindings didn’t come until much later. The following year, in 1938, he rode a ski lift for the first time, at Rib Mountain, Wis.

Read more at Source: The interesting and interested life of Vail’s Bob Parker |

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‘Downhill Racer’ and the Baffling Absentee Legacy of Winter Olympics Movies

Forty-five years ago, Joe Jay Jalbert was slicing through the ruts and down the mountains of Kitzbühel, Austria, with a 15-pound 35-millimeter camera strapped to his shoulder and a pair of Head alpine skis riveted to his feet. From his vantage point, all that could be seen were slalom markers growing closer in our sight line and then disappearing like apparitions, the little red tips of those skis poking out as they cleave the hardened snow. It is a terrifying, electrifying point of view — the fastest, truest representation of racing down a mountain I’ve seen in a Hollywood film. Jalbert, then a 19-year-old former member of the U.S. national ski team, had never held a camera before, never acted, and knew next to nothing about the film industry. But he had the skiing expertise, a stuntman’s fearlessness, and the youthful foolishness to be the crash test dummy on the set of the one truly great movie set against the Winter Olympics. That movie is Downhill Racer, the 1969 drama written by the novelist James Salter, directed by Michael Ritchie, and starring Robert Redford. It should be a hallmark of sports cinema. Come Olympic time, it is again mostly forgotten.

Downhill Racer-Skiing-HP

Downhill Racer was the first of many self-mythologizing films about gifted and taciturn men that Redford made in his career. It was also the very first he shepherded through the development stage, through flaky directors (Roman Polanski was in, then out), with a cantankerously artful writer (Salter is a poet and a crank), and ultimately to the funding stage, where he cajoled $1 million out of Charles Bluhdorn, the blunt, crude head of Gulf and Western, by teasing him with 15 minutes of ski crash footage. Jalbert suffered his fair shares of crashes for Redford and Ritchie — that’s him in the movie wiping out, skis flipping over his head and snapping off, being carted off to a helicopter in the film’s earliest sequence. (“Are they still filming?” he groggily asked after taking out three onlookers in the crowd.) But that’s not what Downhill Racer is; it’s no crash-and-smash ski-bunny soap. It’s a psychodrama about a cold, monomaniacally driven pretty boy named David Chappellet on a collision course with an Olympic gold medal at the ’68 Games in Grenoble. Redford’s Chappellet anticipated Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods and every other ruthlessly ambitious winner in American sports — that’s what the actor set out to create. A portrait in cold blood. Downhill Racer was meant to be the first in Redford’s Winning Trilogy — Part 2, the dead-eyed 1972 political satire The Candidate (also directed by Ritchie), was as far as they’d get, leaving the trio unfinished. Chappellet is unfeeling for his competitors, unkind to his teammates, and destructively selfish on the slopes. His coach is an obstacle. The mountain is a myth. He goes for the proverbial it all the time, and whines when he doesn’t get his way. He’s a wonderful asshole, a chiseled model for the self-consumed champions that came after him.


Source: ‘Downhill Racer’ and the Baffling Absentee Legacy of Winter Olympics Movies

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USSA announces World Cup plan


The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is moving forward with plans to host Audi FIS Ski World Cup stops at Killington Resort and Beaver Creek Resort during the 2017-18 season. Both resorts are part of a comprehensive USSA event calendar that will be presented to the International Ski Federation during its annual meetings next month in Portoroz, Slovenia.

“Killington and Beaver Creek are both dedicated partners who, along with Aspen and Squaw Valley, have demonstrated their commitment to showcasing our athletes and growing the sport of alpine ski racing,” said USSA President and CEO Tiger Shaw. “We’ve seen strong performances from our athletes at both venues and look forward to giving them the opportunity to ski on home snow as they vie for their Olympic spots.”

USSA saw strong athletic performances, fan attendance and TV audiences throughout its four U.S. World Cup stops in 2016-17, culminating with World Cup Finals in Aspen, one of the biggest showcases of ski racing the U.S. outside of the World Championships. The event at Killington was the first World Cup in New England in over 20 years, drawing more than 30,000 spectators over the course of two days and providing U.S. Ski Team athletes the opportunity to engage with skiers and fans in the New England skiing community. The proposed agreement between the resort and USSA includes World Cup stops in both 2017-18 and 2018-19.

“Our partnership with Killington and POWDR to bring ski racing back to the East Coast produced one of the most successful event weekends we’ve seen,” said Calum Clark, USSA’s vice president of events. “The Killington team worked tirelessly to put on a great event inspire thousands of young athletes. The prospect of returning for events during and after the Olympic season gives us the opportunity to further build on that success and grow the event’s impact.”

Source: USSA announces World Cup plan

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Finally! I Found my Boots

I went with a pair of last years Atomic Hawx 110. Got a slightly high volume foot that’s a bit wider than the norm, but can’t see going to a huge boat of a boot and want a traditional 2 piece shell design? The Atomic Hawx Magna 110 Ski Boots are calling your name. Atomic s new 102 mm last is roomy and relaxed, but if you need even more width the Magna 110 has Memory Fit capability, meaning your shop can heat mold the boot itself (not just the liner) for a truly custom fit that will keep your foot Magna happy. Three forward lean options and a new 3M™ Thinsulate™ liner keep your stance dialed and your feet warm in the most heinous of weather. In the past, the options for wide feet have been to go big or go down to the lodge; now with the Hawx Magna Series you can skip both.



Last: 102 mm Wide – Wider 102 mm forefoot width with taller than average instep height.

Memory Fit – The shell, cuff and liner of Memory Fit boots can be heat molded for a completely custom fit. The molding process is simple and permanent, and can add up to 6 mm of forefoot width and 10 mm of ankle width.

Size Adjuster – With Atomic’s new Size Adjuster, you can now add or remove a half size to a boot when you need it.


Flex: 110 – A medium-stiff 110 flex for advanced skiers.

Power Shift – Forward flex can be adjusted + or – 10 flex points.


Atomic Silver Liner – Super comfortable liner with Dynashape foam around the ankle area.

3M™ Thinsulate™ Insulation – The use of very thin insulating fibers allows Thinsulate™ to trap more warm air with a thinner layer, even in extremely cold conditions.


Shell / Cuff – Polyurethane

Memolink – Memolink is a special plastic additive that enhances the moldability and elasticity of Atomic Memory Fit boots.


Power Shift – Forward lean can be adjusted to 13˚, 15˚ or 17˚ by moving the power control up or down.

Adjustable Cuff Alignment

1 mm Offset Shell – Truer Stance

3˚ Shell Rotation

Flat Bottom Chassis


6000 Series Aluminum Buckles


45 mm Power Strap


  • Ability Level:Intermediate-AdvancedMore 
  • Ski Boot Flex:Stiff
  • Flex Index:110
  • Forefoot Width:102 mm
  • Boot Sole Type:Alpine DIN (ISO 5355)
  • Includes Tech Fittings:No
  • Number of Buckles:4
  • Warranty:2 YearsMore 
Size 25.5 26.5 27.5 28.5 29.5 30.5 31.5
Indiv. Boot Weight (g) 2115
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Mammoth Mountain Plans to Stay Open until Fourth of July Thanks to More Snow

You’ll be skiing at Mammoth Mountain at least until the Fourth of July. That’s the word from the Eastern Sierra resort, which had accumulated about 35 feet of snow at the main lodge by Friday and counting. The forecast for the weekend: more snow Saturday with a high of 23. Clearing was expected by Sunday, according to Mammoth’s website.

Source: Mammoth Mountain Plans to Stay Open until Fourth of July Thanks to More Snow

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Ski Racing Discipline’s Explained — On Edge

In my last post I explained the basics of ski racing. I now want to dive into the different disciplines or events of ski racing. Those comprise of Slalom (SL), Giant Slalom (GS), Super G (SG), and Downhill (DH). Those are the basic events, but there are also different events such as Parllel slalom and […]

via Ski Racing Discipline’s Explained — On Edge

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FIS Launches Manual For Newbie World Cup Organisers

FIS has released a new World Cup Organising Manual for use across all disciplines. From sport competition to event production, it will serve as a resource to support the development of any World Cup, ensuring operational consistency in the planning and execution.

The manual has been designed to be used by any Organiser to assist in running a world class World Cup event. An Organiser will be able to highlight what key areas should be prioritised and what functions require adaptation to fit the specific country and event needs. It provides user-friendly guidance to Organising Committees and serves as an interactive working document that will help with the evolution of new and existing World Cups.

The manual offers a range of solutions through concrete digital materials such as existing FIS documents, experienced LOC feedback, recommended operational structure, checklists, and templates.

It can be viewed and downloaded here.

– See more at: https://www.snowindustrynews.com/articles/fis-launches-manual-for-newbie-world-cup-organisers/#sthash.KKvDCC0i.dpuf

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