For a reference for downloading for printing or to keep handy on your favorite device:
(Updated 11/2/12: Revised instruction and NEW instruction videos at the bottom of the page)
A ski base must be flat for optimum ski performance. The SkiVisions Base Flattener is a powerful planing tool designed to quickly flatten and structure a ski base with a minimum of expertise, effort and potential for error. (Patent # 4,884,343)
Is base flattening and structuring with the SkiVisions Base Flattener expensive? NO! It is true that you have to make the initial capital investment in the tool and inserts, but thereafter all inserts are re-sharpenable an infinite number of times and RARELY need replacement. We show you how.
What is unique about the SkiVisions Base Flattener? It is the only effective hand tool ever produced that provides a superior alternative to stone grinding or flat filing.
Why is this uniqueness important?
How is the uniqueness accomplished?
The Base Flattener is a large and powerful planing tool that can eat either plastic alone or plastic and edge metal, depending on the blade used.
The Ruby Stone Blades (see description below) are 6 inches long and come in medium and coarse grits for different structures cut into the base plastic while you are flattening it. The Ruby Stone Blades require no skill to use. Since they cannot cut metal to any significant degree, you cannot cause problems that aren’t easily corrected.
The steel blade requires some skill and care when using it, but it is a powerful blade that can slice through steel and plastic on ski bases simultaneously and can be re-sharpened an infinite number of times (see “Stone/Steel Inserts Maintenance). However, we now prefer using the File Base Flattener on metal edges and just use the steel blade for final finish on the p-tex.
How to use the Base Flattener
The Base Flattener is a push tool which means you push it down the ski base from behind the tool.
The Base Flattener is pushed in the tip to tail direction only. Use only light pressure with the steel blade, moderate pressure with the Ruby Stone Blades. Use overlapping strokes and pull the tool back between strokes. The primary pressure is applied with your back hand on the large hump. The front hand on the small hump is primarily there to guide and control the tool.
Look at the picture to the right closely and you will notice that the stone blade is lifted off the ski base, yet the front black glide bar is still on the ski. We recommend that when you are pulling the Base Flattener back in the backstroke that you leave the front of the tool on the ski base, but that you pick up the back of the tool slightly so that the blade does not touch the ski base at all during the backstroke phase.
You will not make hairs on your base if you make sure that the blade is not touching the base on the backstroke. You will make base hairs if you pressure the tool on the backstroke. DON’T PRESSURE THE BACKSTROKE!
The Ruby Stone Blades only cut base plastic when the grit is exposed, the grit gets quickly clogged with base plastic and the stone needs to be cleaned frequently by brushing with the brass brush which comes with the Base Flattener. Always clean the wax from your base with wax remover before using the Ruby Stone Blade as wax will clog the grit more readily than will polyethylene.
The 6 Inch Ruby Stone Blades
The Ruby Stone Blades are completely different from the old stone blades. They are sharper, more powerful, easier to use, produce far better results, leave an incredibly clean and hair free base, and can be re-sharpened numerous times, which re-sharpening returns them to near new performance. If they are sharpened so many times they no longer fit in the tool, folded paper shims can be made so they can still be used. They have a very long usable life.
The Ruby Stone Blades come in medium and coarse. The tool comes standard with the medium grit blade, the coarse blades are accessories. Which blade is best for you? See Base Structuring Decisions below, which also describes varying the amount of structure each blade imparts on the ski base based on the amount of pressure applied to the Base Flattener. Also, note the lines at each side of the stone. They are critical to how the blade is positioned in the Base Flattener and how it is re-sharpened according to the instructions below. (See Stone/Steel Inserts Maintenance)
The coarse blade is primarily used for efficiently removing plastic from a convex (base high) base. It is a very aggressive blade and should be followed with the steel blade to de-structure the base.
The new Ruby Stone Blades are aluminum oxide stones, the highest quality aluminum oxide grit there is, and they have two unique characteristics that make them particularly effective. First the grit is much sharper than standard aluminum oxide so they cut more rapidly. Second, the grit fractures to new sharp points, much like the diamond grit on a fine diamond file, so that when the Ruby Stones are re-sharpened, their performance remains consistent with (although not quite as sharp) as a brand new stone, the sharp new points being replenished every time it is sharpened. They take only minutes to re-sharpen, which also re-flattens them, so doing it frequently really pays. They are, quite frankly, the best of all worlds.
The Ruby Stone Blades give skis better performance than stone grinding. Why? One of the important aspects of sintered polyethylene bases is that they are porous. The porosity naturally allows the base to absorb more ski wax, and it helps reduce surface tension thereby increasing glide. Because a Ruby Stone cuts the polyethylene so cleanly, the pores are left open. Stone grinding, on the other hand, causes the polyethylene to move laterally (smear or creep) on the base due to the speed and pressure of the stone, resulting in the pores getting partially covered up with plastic “creep”.
Using the Ruby Stones is a “no-brainer” approach to base flattening and structuring. Just keep them off the metal edges, which cause them to wear excessively. You can feel when the stone is on the metal edge, use the steel blade or the SkiVisions Ski Sharp to bevel the edge before continuing with the Ruby Stone, or better yet, use the File Base Flattener to bring the steel edge flush to the base.
Also, when the ski is convex (base high), always flatten it with the Ruby Stones, never the steel blade, the steel blade is for concave skis when you want to take down metal, or the File Base Flattener. The coarse stone blade is the most efficient and effective insert when taking down a base high convex base.
Always clean the wax off your base with wax remover before using the Ruby Stones, wax will clog the grit.
Base Structuring Decisions
What is structure on a ski base? It is the process of roughening it to reduce surface tension. If your base is very smooth, surface tension, simply put, is suction from a lack of air between the base and the snow, which slows its glide. Very smooth bases tend to be very slow bases.
As a general rule, you want to use the coarsest structure to minimize surface tension because rougher surfaces have less surface tension. However, it isn’t that simple. New snow crystals are sharp and will dig into a coarse structure causing considerable drag. The rules need to be followed:
1. In new, cold snow the structure needs to be fine. The newer and colder the snow, the finer the structure.
2. As snow gets older, the crystal points start breaking down, so you can then go to a medium structure.
3. As snow goes through multiple freeze and thaw cycles the crystals lose their sharpness and so a coarse structure works best.
A simple rule to follow is to use medium stones in early and mid-winter, medium and coarse structures in late winter and early spring. If the medium structure is too coarse for very cold fresh snow, just de-structure with the steel blade. (See Tuning Routines)
Using your true bar
A true bar is a critical, must have ski tuning tool, it is used to inspect ski base flatness. They are easy to use but you must have a strong background light to “read” the base. We like inexpensive drafting lamps where the light can be focused at the tip. Tip the true bar up on edge as seen in the picture when reading base flatness.
As long as you have a decent true bar and a strong background light, reading your base is very simple and obvious.
If a ski is flat, there will be a solid, unwavering light band across the width of the base. It will be very obvious that is it flat.
If the ski is concave, there will be a greater amount of light coming through at the center of the base than at the ski edges (“edge high”). This will be very obvious.
If the ski is convex so that the base in the center of the ski is higher than the edges (“base high”), the light band will be more narrow at the center of the base, wider over the edges. The Ruby Stone Blade is used to correct the convexity.
Keep in mind that you can also observe your base flatness just by the structure pattern. If it is consistent the entire base, it is flat. Inconsistencies disclose high or low spots and are generally easy to see.
It is common for ski bases to have waves on them, and stone grinding will not remove them because the stone rides up and down with the waves. The waves have to be cut off from an angle. Also, they cannot be seen. If you use the Base Flattener at an angle as shown in the picture, you will find there is more drag in certain spots than others. Those spots with extra drag are base waves. As you continue to make additional passes on the base you will find the drag at that point becomes progressively less and that finally it disappears, the wave is removed.
Skip marks can ONLY be put in the base with the steel blades, NEVER the Ruby Stone Blades. Skip marks are caused by
You won’t put in skip marks if you keep the blade nice and sharp and use the tool with a lighter touch, letting the tool do the job rather than over-muscling it. If you have a rock hardened/damaged section it needs to be polished out with the Ski Sharp Stones before flattening with the steel blade.
If you do put in skip marks, they won’t damage the performance of your skis. They just don’t look very good. To remove, angle the Base Flattener and use the Ruby Stones, the angle used coming from the opposite angle as the skip marks in the base, they have to be cut off from a cross-angle.
Due to the curvature of the ski at tip and sometimes at tail (flip tail skis) using the Ruby Stone Blade by hand can sometime work better than in the Base Flattener. Just keep the blade up on edge and follow the contour of the base to get a uniform structure across the width.
If your ski is very concave it is best to use the File Base Flattener, the steel blade is best kept for fine detail work rather than using it for heavy work.
It is VERY IMPORTANT to polish off the burr that is left whenever you work on metal ski edges, a burr makes the skis over-sharp and dangerous. We recommend the SkiVisions Ski Sharp for such purpose, or you can polish the edges by hand with a stone.
The steel blade falls from the tool when the retaining screws are loosened. It is sharp and heavy and should be done over your bench carefully.
Maintain a firm grip on the tool when running it off the tail of the ski so you don’t drop it.
Keep your fingers on the tool and out of the way of the sharp metal ski edges. Your ski must be held in a ski vise when using the Base Flattener.
(Note: reprinted from SkiVisions with permission.)
The following videos relate to using the Base Flattener and maintaining the cutting inserts:
SkiVisions Maintaining Cutting Inserts, Base Flattener Stones, HS Steel Bar & Files
Regarding materials, tools, screws and installation procedures, Binding Freedom & Quiver Killer stainless steel threaded inserts are virtually interchangeable.
(Click on the adjacent images to enlarge.)
Binding Freedom inserts have a notch across the top. This allows for the use of a slotted driver or Binding Freedom’s 3 in 1 Installation Tool. This slot also allows for the removal of the insert without ruining the interior threads while using an extraction tool with reverse threads.
Occasionally you may need to remove an errant insert so always order more than you think you need…just in case. It is also possible that the slot in the BF insert can also get stripped or compromised and an extractor may become necessary. A jam nut in conjunction with a threaded installation tool or shoulder screw can also be used for installation and extraction for both inserts.
Both Quiver Killer and Binding Freedom inserts are nominally 9mm length x 8mm (5/16″) diameter. The actual diameters for both average 7.85 mm. The lengths QK inserts average 8.55 mm & the BF inserts average 9.15. This is a minor 0.6 mm average difference which may be important for some but inconsequential for most. A little deeper hole will fill with epoxy to nullify any voids.
Both have the same outer (same tap & handle) and inner threads. The inner threads accept M5 x 0.8mm pitch machine screws. The pitch indicates the travel distance of the screw for each revolution. Both inserts are within 0.2mm of the same effective average screw depth of over 6 revolutions (QK=6.5 and BF=6.25) which is around 5mm screw length engagement inside the inserts.
Drill and Tap Guides for Hand Drilling
Any DIYer will find years of usefulness for an array of gear and home projects, repairs and maintenance out of Big Gator Hand Drill & Tap Guides. They can be used on flat surfaces (like skis & snowboards), corners and round items (like ski poles and bike frames). With or without clamping, these handy guides should be in every DIYers toolbox.
Big Gator Tools was established in 2005 and is now marketing the most universal patented drill and tap guides ever sold. Guides are made from a special nickel alloyed steel that is heat-treated and ground along bottom surface to assure stability and accurate perpendicular alignment on flat surfaces. All guides have a 90 degree V-groove along the bottom that allows perpendicular alignment on round parts as well as corners.
TAP GUIDES: Holes are sized for ANSI Standard and Metric Ground Thread Taps.
Standard V-TapGuides can handle tap sizes: ( 0-80, 1-64, 1-72, 2-56, 2-64, 3-48, 3-56, 4-36, 4-40, 4-48, 5-40, 5-44, 6-32, 6-36, 6-40, 8-32, 8-36, 8-40, 10-24, 10-32, ¼-20, ¼-28, 5/16-18, 5/16-24, 3/8-16, 3/8-24, 7/16-14, 7/16-20, ½-13, ½-20, 5/8-11, 5/8-18)
Metric V-TapGuides can handle tap sizes: ( 1.6mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 3.5mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 16mm)
STI TAP GUIDES: (Screw Thread Inserts)
STI-UNC V-TapGuides can handle standard ground STI hand tap sizes: (Unified Coarse Threads: 9/16-12, 1/2-13, 7/16-14, 3/8-16, 5/16-18, 1/4-20, 12-24, 10-24, 8-32, 6-32)
STI-UNF V-TapGuides can handle standard ground STI hand tap sizes: (United Fine Threads: 5/8-18, 9/16-18, 1/2-20, 7/16-20, 3/8-24, 5/16-24, 1/4-28, 10-32, 8-36)
Standard V-DrillGuides are made for 17 standard drill sizes: (1/8 to 3/8 in 1/64 increments) Covers all the drill sizes in a standard 3/8 drill index except drill sizes smaller than 1/8”. Heat treated for durability like drill bushings. It’s like having a portable drill press anywhere! Straight perpendicular alignment wherever you go.
Metric V-DrillGuides can handle drill sizes: 3, 3.3, 3.5, 4, 4.2, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 6.8, 7, 7.5, 8.0, 8.5, 9, 9.5mm
Here is a video from Tom Hintz, owner/publisher of NewMetalworker.com made this video as part of an independent review of the Big Gator Drill and Tap Guides. (Please note that the tap guides do not need to be clamped in place like in the video to hand tap.)
For additional information also see: Drill and Tap Guides for Hand Drilling
There are a lot of similarities to drilling skis to audio installations as shown in this video. It also shows a few examples on the versatility of this ‘must have’ shop tool:
(Click on Aggressive or Not Aggressive Snow Racing Wax Chart to expand)
Check out the Briko-Maplus Waxing Manual for great waxing tips from recreational skiing to elite racer.
Wax less, Glide faster and longer with Briko-Maplus. Holder of the World Speed Record.Briko-Maplus is the leading Italian wax manufacturer working directly with prof. Gianpaolo Gambaretto of Padua University who developed CERA F for Enichem in 1984 and is on the cutting-edge of fluorinated and perfluorinated wax development. Briko-Maplus provides a complete alpine, snowboard and nordic World Cup winning line of wax and tuning tools to a global market. The high-melt paraffins used in Briko-Maplus wax provides a more durable/longer lasting wax per application. This translates to more time with excellent glide while using less material, cost and time. The Briko-Maplus base Preparation and Saturation waxes are second to none.
At Purl Wax, we move fast. From a company perspective that means constant innovation. All of our waxes are biodegradable and environmentally friendly. We manufacture pure, clean ski and snowboard waxes with superior speed and durability. No fluoros. No toxic chemicals. No hype.
Our goal is to accelerate the world’s transition to eco-friendly ski waxes with a full range of performance driven products. Made in Colorado.
There is confusion on the side edge angles, guides and settings.
Basically the Europeans/International tool manufacturers use the acute angle from the base (needs to be flat) to the face of the side edge while North American manufacturers use the angle of the guide that creates the angle.
There are videos and other tips on performing side edge sharpening in these and other posts:
Ski Visions Ski Sharp Edge Tuning Tool
The New Tools4Boards PUCK Swiss Diamond Discs for ski and snowboard edge tuning are sweet!
It has been a privilege to be on the front line for the last twelve years as Rick Weissenborn (former Canadian Downhiller) of Innovation Inc/ Tools4Boards has been pumping out new and inventive tuning tools & products. He has been setting the bar higher while redefining and improving the industry. If you are into quickly and efficiently optimizing the performance of your gear you really should get up to speed on Tools4Boards products, while watching for the next one…..
A case in point are the just released, Tools4Boards PUCK Swiss Diamond Discs.
These will absolutely redefine edge beveling, tuning, sharpening and maintenance.
Tools4Boards 50mm diameter single-sided PUCK and double-sided PUCK DUO diamond discs feature premium Swiss-made diamond sheet mounted on exceptionally flat precision die-cast aluminum alloy backer. Polishing and deburring ability of a stone combined
with the cutting ability of a file. Perfect for touching up edges and removing burrs on-hill or to smooth and polish edges after filing. Extra thick 7/32″ (5.5mm) PUCK backer dampens vibration providing superior feel and will not flex or roll over dulling the cutting surface of the ski or snowboard edge.
Color-coded diamond sheet makes it easy to select the proper grit:
Unique diamond cluster pattern lasts longer than conventional diamond sheet and is easier to clean. Available replacement PUCK Diamond Sheet fits all PUCK backers, simply peel worn diamond sheet from backer, position and stick replacement sheet in its place.
Here is an animation showing the T4B PUCK in action. It also includes the new
2018 ISPO Award Winning SWITCH
How’s your German? Knut from Powderguide.com and Forum has been producing ski binding templates for a number of years. His list is pasted below. Check out their site for other information and thank him for his efforts.
It is highly recommended that you practice by drilling and mounting using old skis or a scrap wood board before drilling your skis. This also can help you confirm the templates are accurate. See a ski binding pro for proper release settings.
If you haven’t done so, please also check out the following topics before proceeding:
-Drill and Tap Guides for Hand Drilling
Tools4Boards is coming out with a modular/’All-In-One/Multi-tool Side Edge Guide, Base Beveler, Side Wall Trimmer & Wax Scraper Sharpener system, called the Switch. Depending on the combination, the tool names are variations of the base ‘Switch’ name. Ie, Switch Cut, Switch Side Edge Guides, Switch Rig with base beveler, etc.
The current precision duo side edge options are 2 & 3° with 4 & 5° forthcoming. Base beveler attachments will allow for 0.5, 0.75 & 1° base bevel angles. The 0° & 7° attachments will allow for wax scraper sharpening guide & side wall trimming.
“The new global reference in file guide technology. To switch between 2° and 3° simply detach angle bar from wear plate, rotate 180º then re-attach. No need for multiple fixed angle guides.
· We start with a .2″ (4.5mm) thick surgical grade stainless steel wear plate for unprecedented durability.
· Add a modular 2°+3° angle bar precision milled from aircraft grade aluminum, sand blasted and anodized to 15 microns for military spec. accuracy.
· Durable laser etched angle number markings.
· Cut out provides an open area for edge filings and debris to fall away from base.
· Disc positon indicators (+ symbols) on angle bar provide quick and easy alignment of new Tools4Boards Puck diamond discs maximizing disc cutting and polishing efficiency.
· Additional wear plate screw ports allow a second angular bar to be mounted (0°+ 7°, 2°+ 3° or 4°+ 5° bars available but sold separately).
Compatible with all interchangeable Switch system components. Domestic and foreign patents filed and pending.”
Below is a sneak pick of the various combination options:
It’s good to quantify the edge geometry on your skis. The REAL ANSWER to ‘what’s the factory spec’ of my X, Y or Z skis question is, MEASURE THEM because variables exist. A case in point is a recent purchase were the ‘factory spec’ is 1:1 (1 degree base & 1 degree side). With the intent of skiing them as is first, then adjust, It’s good to Measure Ski Edge Bevels and record the geometry so you know where you started vs where you may end up.
(On one hand, I almost wish I didn’t know, so I could simply ski them without preconceptions or thinking about the edge geometry. If the bases are flat, the edges sharp, perform a few base prep and WOTD (wax of the day) cycles and get some vertical on your new rides.)
There are many options to measure edge geometry. The three I tried this go around were using a calibrated SVST Pro Bevel Meter, Digital Angle finder and magnet and edge guides with a Sharpie ink. The evenness of the ink removal relative to a given guide gives you a visual glue if the guide matches or not. All methods rely on a consistently flat base. So check your bases with a true bar first. All three methods provided generally consistent averages throughout the skis of around 1.5/2 vs the 1:1 ‘factory spec’ FOR THIS PAIR OF SKIS.
After a snow storm it’s always good to find out ‘how much they received’. Here are Colorado Ski Resorts Powder Level Cameras which are periodically updated to see how much has accumulation. Many are date stamped and are cleared at various times of the day. Some do it at 4pm, others at 4:30 and so on. The accumulation is since their last clear off. Telluride has a conveyor belt on a timer which is pretty trick. By checking during a storm you can get a sense of the rate of the snowfall.
Please let us know if you find that any of these do not load or know of other camera URLs. If a snow stake cam is not available, we’ve included snow report links. Some images may not load even after this page is refreshed. You may need to ‘view image’ by right clicking or selecting control/view image, or click on the source link above. Some images have time stamps and other hints there is something inconsistent if the image shows sun at night or dark during the day.
Breckenridge- Base of 6 Chair
With help from many of the members of the Teton Gravity Research message boards, Jon maintains a set of paper templates for mounting bindings to skis. These are also a great resource for checking for hole conflicts on multiple mounts. All of the templates print on 8.5×11 paper, but be sure to check the print with a ruler and adjust the print scaling percentage. Please also be aware that these templates may be updated at any time, so please be sure that you are using the revision linked here (suffix R2 denotes revision 2).
If you want to discuss the templates, or want to help create templates for bindings not listed here, please visit the active discussion here.
|Binding Freedom Products|
|DynaDuke binding plates||dynadukes_paper_template_R2 or dynadukes_paper_template_11x17_R2|
|DynaLook binding plates||dynalooks_paper_template_R1|
|SollyFit binding plates||sollyfits_paper_template_R2|
|Dynafit (all models except demo and radical), G3 Onyx||dynafit_paper_template_R2|
|Plum (all models)||plum_paper template_R1
|Fritschi Pro and Eagle||fritschi_pro_eagle_paper_template_R0|
|Marker Duke EPF||dukeEPF_paper_template_R1|
|Marker Duke, Baron, F10, F12||duke_paper_template_R3|
|Salomon Guardian, Atomic Tracker||guardian_paper_template_R2|
|Salomon (all models)||salomon_paper_template_R6|
|Look Pivot (P), Rossignol FKS, FKX (turntable heel)||FKS_paper_template_R8|
|Look Pivot axial (PX)||look_pivot_axial_paper_template_R2|
|Look Pivot axial II||look_pivot_axial2_paper_template_R3|
|Look PX racing||look_px_racing_paper_template_R3|
|Marker Jester, Griffon||marker_jester_paper_template_R5|
With 4 feet of recent snows in the High Country, fair weather, clear roads and trails below, all options are on the table. Check our clearance deals on waxes, tools for Skis, Snowboards & Bikes.
Newsletter 1-28-17-Cold Powder is Better with Cold Wax
On the bench prepping a course base structure to harvest spring corn in 10-15 minutes:
UPDATE: We are pleased to announce Intuition Boot Liners are now available from SlideWright.com.
True to DIYer form, trial and error (sometimes lots of errors) lead to a better understanding of “do’s and don’ts”. Molding Intuition Boot Liners was not excepted. After reading and viewing Intuition, Scarpa, SVST and DIY techniques and ideas, we set out to experiment with new Intuition Pro Tour liners from Scarpa Maestrale RS AT boots to discover and illustrate the pitfalls of home oven backing vs heat gun hot air approaches. A ‘modified conventional oven boot liner baking’ approach appears to be a reliable and safe for good boot to foot fitting. Especially for ovens without enough height to stand the liners on their bottoms.
Conventional Oven Baking: The first attempt was to place a liner on it’s side, in a 240° non-convection oven on wood supports instead of directly on the oven racks. After 5 minutes the oven, which was on, scorched and wrinkled the side of the liner where it was in contact with the wood. Big mistake and bummer! Though unsightly, functionally the liner is fine. Time will tell how long this remains true. The wood conducted high heat too readily from the concentrated heat from the lower baking element. With this older oven, the temperature of the elements probably need to far exceed the target oven temperature to generate enough heat for the whole oven to reach and maintain the 240°. A reasonable assumption is that a convection oven would be superior to conventional ovens.
Hot Air Gun: The second test was to keep the liners in the shell and utilize a digital heat gun with high output and reliable temperature control for 12 minutes to assimilate an Intuition blower heater. Care was made to make sure the nozzle did not touch the interior of the liner while driving heat to the toe area. It is desirable option since it reduces steps, time and needed care and effort to place a floppy, hot liner into difficult boot shells. This straight forward approach achieved an OK fit, but the exterior of the boot remained cold and did not mold to the shell. For many, this technique may be more than acceptable for basic boot fitting. It also could be utilized for minor spot heating and tweaks. For instance, if the toes fit well, but there is a small issue around the instep, the toe area could be stuffed with a sock or other insulating area, to focus the heat only on the problem area. Additionally, a longer heat application may provide better results.
The liner on the left was baked in an oven, while the one on the right was heated with a heat gun. Note that the heat gun approach had no effect on the liner’s exterior.
One of life’s simple pleasures is getting out for skate skiing, touring or making turns on a warming bluebird day, with an inch or so of wet sweet corn on firm crust or solid base. Spring & summer predawn hikes on crust to harvest morning corn is right up there.
The best corn comes after a freeze of transformed, wet snow from the day before. The snow is no longer flakes or crystals, but saturated ice ‘kernels’ known as frozen corn. Depending on timing, aspect and other factors, this can start out like a coral reef, a very abrasive crust, sun-cupped, or ‘icy’, among other consistencies. As it melts and transforms again to wet corn, how do you prepare your boards to perform well all day in these variable conditions?
If you wax with a warmer & softer wax for the warmer, wet conditions, you can easily wear off the wax on highly abrasive, colder snows, while you wait for conditions to moisten and soften (or not). If you wax with cold wax, you may miss out on the best glide and enjoyment when it becomes prime time.
One option is to simply wait until conditions soften and you hit it when the conditions are best and wax accordingly. This may be easier said than done for some and as the unreliable weather can change, this plan may backfire.
We’ve found the best balance between ideal wax temperatures for glide and abrasive snows is to start with an aggressive base structure, wax with a very durable mid and broad temperature base liquid or solid wax like Briko-Maplus BP1 Violet or Colder and harder BP1 Blue or Green, and top it with a warm temp Low Fluoros like Briko-Maplus Universal Hot or LP2.
The base structure doesn’t seem to matter relative to the coarse, frozen snow, but makes a huge difference when the snow becomes saturated by channeling water and reducing suction. The durable base wax provides a longer and better protection for the bases and runs very well in a wide range of condition if the softer wax wears off. Depending on how the day goes, the LF wax may be perfect for the entire day and will provide an extra bump in glide.
Additionally, since it is a softer wax, it can easily be reapplied if desired or necessary by crayoning/rubbing on solids, wiping on cream/paste or liquids, or spraying (most convenient and durable option) high-melt waxes and then corking and polishing with a brush.
If you are concerned about an aggressive base structure and temperatures and snow type reverting towards colder, the harder waxes can be still utilized, but not brushed out of the structure as much as when you need the structure for water channeling. This will effectively ‘moderate’ the base structure to closer match the colder snows.
Now that you skimmed the pond due to proper waxing and technique (and hopefully not your good gear) 😉 , it’s usually a sign for most that it’s time to put your boards in storage.
Following is a recent bulletin from Toko:
Source: Toko Brand Management Office, Heber City, UT info@TokoUS.com 866-TOKO-USA
Here are Toko’s recommendations for storage waxing of skis. First clean the
skis well. This can be done with wax remover or by simply brushing the bases
out well with a copper brush depending on how dirty they are. Then drip on a
generous amount of NF or LF Red. Iron it in making sure that there is enough
wax to provide a thick layer on the base and that the iron is hot enough to ensure
a good bond between the wax and the base. This ironing procedure is normal,
but sometimes a person rushes through storage waxing and the wax is not really
heated outside of that it becomes liquid. The ski bases often times don’t even
become warm. This will result in air between the base and the ski and less
Red is our choice for storage waxing as Blue is so hard that it is more difficult to
make sure that there is no air between the ski and base and Yellow is so soft that
it gets “eaten away” quicker. NF or LF Red is perfect because their consistency
If waxing Alpine skis, slop the wax over the edges and cover them too.
1. Brush skis out well with Copper Brush
2. Iron in System3 Red or LF Red making sure adequate wax is used and
that the wax is heated in well.
See the Toko Information Center for more tips and helpful hints.
In addition to the aforementioned rationale for using a medium temperature wax versus soft/warm temperature wax for storage, it is more likely that it will be appropriate for the initial snow temps you’ll encounter next fall than the soft. In the fall/early winter, for those wishing to minimize extra steps, time and expense, you might be good to go by simply scraping, brushing.
The San Juans of Colorado can have an air temperature change of up to 30 degrees/per day when the intense sun is out and depending on the aspect. When storm or weather systems flow through it can be over 50 degrees in a week, along with broad relative humidity swings. Waxing for the Week Ahead can drive you nuts if you enjoy optimal glide and are trying to determine what wax to use to achieve your goals, especially several days out for a trip or to not have to wax again until after several outings. Fortunately, the snow temperature changes at a much slower rate.
Fortunately, wax companies like Briko-Maplus & Toko base their wax temperature system on snow temperature which fluctuates far less dramatically. The downside is determining what the snow temperature will be.
I’ve had pretty good luck focusing on the overnight low trends and using a wax bracketing or below the low temperature forecasts. Generally, it is better to err towards colder than warmer waxes. To bump it up a notch, also considering the humidity level is also worthwhile. Also, the Briko-Maplus, among other waxes do perform well outside of their stated optimal temperature ranges. Experimenting over time will help you decide on what seems to work best for you. That said, everyone loves a ‘one size fits all’/’silver bullet’/all-temp answer, but like all-mountain skis, it may never be just right for any given set of conditions.
Ask yourself, ‘What is the typical low temperatures during the night?’ Use that as a ‘guide’ for snow temperatures. Get the wax or waxes that are optimal for that range, test drive and then tweak. If you are willing to spend all the time, energy and expense dialing in your quiver, why night dial in a wax quiver to optimize the performance of your gear and outings where your boards meet the snow. The higher the grade of wax, the higher the durability and could last over a handful of days, depending on how aggressive the snow is and the amount of vertical.
Relative to the above Forecast for the Low Temperatures and Humidity, the following options I’d consider the following options:
There is a school of thought that base cleaners/wax removers should never be used on the ski bases and hot scraping is the only method to employ for cleaning ski and snowboard bases. The thinking is cleaners will absolutely dry out the bases and destroy the wax saturation level and optimal glide achieved through repetitive wax cycles. How much wax is removed is highly variable from zero to a fair amount depending on duration, how aggressive is the cleaner and how much brushing and elbow grease is applied.
This is an ‘old wives tale’ or hearsay at work (that endlessly gets perpetuated on the internet and via word of mouth) when it comes to the debate over using cleaners vs. hot scraping with a soft wax. From a technical standpoint sintered bases are basically inert and do not bond well with anything. The surface of the base in contact with the snow is amorphous and random in nature. Structuring the base creates lines in the base material and establishes a pattern, but the underlying material is still amorphous and random.
Wax (or base cleaner for that matter) only penetrates a very small amount into the base, about 15 microns and only where random voids exist. 15 microns is a very small measurement (1% or so of base thickness~15 to 20 microns is about 0.0006 to 0.0008 inch). How can base cleaner possibly “dry out” the base if it only penetrates 15 microns? The answer quite simply is it doesn’t. Base cleaner, or at least Briko-Maplus base cleaner is basically detergent dissolved in a solvent. The solvent almost entirely evaporates and the detergent works to properly clean the base. When you take your dirty car to a car wash do you wax it first or clean it with detergent and then wax it? I’ve tried both and the later definitely seems to work better.
A distinction should be made between paraffin and perfluorinated waxes. A specific base cleaner called Fluorclean should be used to remove perfluorinated waxes as it is designed to remove all traces of fluorine from the base. Hot scraping at best blends new wax with a combination of old wax and contaminants in the old wax. I admit you will notice some contaminants being drawn out of the base when hot scraping if the base is dirty, but the iron is not a magnet and does not magically remove all contaminants using wax as a conduit. Residual wax left on the base after hot scraping will still have undesirable stuff in it.
Additionally, duration and type of cleaners can be employed judiciously to expedite and provide clean bases, ready for the next coat of wax. The longer a wax remover or solvent sits on the base, the more it can cut into the wax and any contaminates. Also, a more aggressive cleaner can also be used to remove the surface contaminants in little time and use of materials while eliminating the hot scraping steps and mess. Diluted (1:5) household cleaners like Simple Green can provide adequate cleaning. Biodegradable citrus based cleaners can be great options for cleaning the base and removing wax when harsher solvent based cleaners are not needed or desired. For base repairs, base cleaners are necessary, coupled with some sanding and cutting of the base material.
So, back to the original question. The best way to clean the bases is the method that is best for you, your preferences, time available, costs or beliefs: either hot scraping, base cleaner or a combination. If you are concerned about base cleaner remnants on the base, you can also hot scrape afterwards or simply wipe off with water.
A caveat to keep in mind is that skis and snowboards tend to run better and faster after more wax cycles and time on the snow. So, more aggressive cleaning would require more wax cycles to optimize the glide than a less aggressive, more topical cleaning.
Tools4Boards has just put out their second generation of Hone Ski and Snowboard Diamond Files & Duo Hone Diamond files. With a choice of two diamond grits, one on each side, the Tools4Boards Hone Duos are a unique option for ski & snowboard edge tuning. There is a very nice feel and feedback from the rigid cast aluminum backs. This is a sweet edge tuning option. Hone Ski and Snowboard Edges Sharp & Smooth with Diamond Stones is better than using metal files for routine maintenance. Files remove too much material, and are less forgiving than diamond files (aka diamond stones). Diamonds can be used in either direction. The progression from coarse to finer grits cuts and the polishes the edges to a smooth, sharp, consistent and longer lasting edge than a file will. This, without creating an irregular, short lived, burr sharp edge that files create. This is similar and desirable much like when you hone a knife sharp and smooth.
Another nice option is that the Tools4Boards Hone Diamond Strips can be replaced if and when they wear out. This is also somewhat unique. Instead of tossing out a used up diamond file and purchasing a new one, old strips can be heated and scraped off to make room for lower cost new diamond strips.
Following is a video from Tools4Boards on using the Hone Diamond Files to sharpen and polish edges:
From -Toko: Base Prep, Brushing and Edge Bevels Cheever and Willi Witz
Cheever on Base Prep and Brushing
Hello everyone, I wanted to do a myth busting eblast series. But I need to consult with the man before I attempt to blow everyones` mind. So instead for this early season eblast I want to talk about some base preparation and brushing. I should say, what I do for base prep and brushing…
My early season riding isn’t much different than most skiers and snowboarders. I’m on a glacier with varying conditions and trying to mimic racing as much as possible.
This time of the year usually calls for getting on a fast enough base that you can come close as possible to race speeds, but not slow down an actual race base. If you have the luxury of running a practice base… Awesome. But many people don’t, so you’ll be on your racers…or techs will be tuning racers.
It’s not quite panic time yet to worry about a structure you should have done a few weeks ago. With enough prep, your base will be brought to speed quickly. So it’s okay to carefully get on that racer. What I like to do with my race bases is make sure the wax is durable.
Duh… Put cold wax on the edges… But there is more to it.
Wax bonds to your base. Wax also bonds to other wax. My preseason routine is more than scraping off yellow then. Throwing on blue for durability.
I love toko red and the HF red. But let’s just stick with NF for now. Red can run in all conditions this time of the year. But more importantly it’s on my base as a bonder for any other temperature wax I’ll use for training. Before my snowboard gear is off I brush then iron on red. For my trainer board, I am comfortable just running with the red. But when I want to pull out a race deck, my routine starts the same with the red after I get off the hill, but I check my weather forecast and figure out what wax I want to bond with that red.
Say Pitztal is calling for colder weather and I am going to be in a blue/red range for tomorrow. I have my red on and methodically remove it.
Scrape. I scrape all the wax off. Scrape excess wax off my scrapers. ScotchBrite my scrapers clean so there is no gummy residue.
Brush step 1. Steely Dan. Toko’s oval steel brushes do the trick quite well for pulling the excess wax your scraper didn’t get and start pulling the residue from the structure of your base.
Brush step 2. Roto Horse hair. If you are subscribed to a toko eblast, I hope you have access to a roto brush. If not, I suggest investing. I use NO water for any roto brushing. The horse hair pulls most of the wax out of the base that you don’t need and leaves what you do need behind.
Brush step 3. Roto bronze. Now my roto bronze is used and is quite soft. It isn’t as aggressive as my horse hair, plus it’s used at a slower drill speed. No water here or for any roto brushing because water acts as a lubricant for brushing. If you want to pull excess wax out, the most efficient way to do it is without water.
Brush step 4. The grey toko board roto. This brush will remove just about any remnants that will slow me down and will leave what I need bonding to the board
Brush step 5. Toko’s black nylon roto. You want to polish that base and make it shine.
Brush step 6. If you have a paint brush, new of course, kicking around. Clean the tip and tail of your stick as they probably collected excess from brushing.
Step 7. Fiberlene. This final step microstructures your wax and cleans up excess junk left on the surface of your base.
Now that you know how I brush… Maybe after you put your next layer on try my method… Now I put on my red/blue combo for the next day. Repeat everything over once the wax is ready to be scraped. Roto brushing expedites the process and is more efficient than brushing by hand.
Go fast in training and faster racing,
US Ski and Snowboard Tuning Legend Willi Wiltz on Prepping New Skis and Snowboards
US Ski and Snowboard Serviceman Legend Willi Wiltz on What Base and Edge Bevels to Use
Whether you lost a screw, adding shims, have a tear out or want to swap bindings between multiple skis, we have any array of ski binding screw options to help you do it yourself.
Please note it is impossible for us be on top of every screw head type, length, shims, cants, rail system, and nuances for every binding and situation. So please try to resolve screw by going through the steps below issues prior to calling or emailing.
See more Binding Topics for more insights on mounting, binding and screw questions.
The Binding Freedom machine screw chart is a reference that may help you compare lengths and head types.
The more things change, the more things remain the same…..but get more complicated and expensive.
For training USA mountain troops in 1941. In this segment, we learn how to choose the proper ski length, how to choose and take care of boots, how to adjust bindings, how to care for ski edges and ski bottoms. Alan Ladd is one of the recruits.
CAIC, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center is funded by donations and is an important avalanche forecasting resource for backcountry skiers and snowboarders, along with other snow season backcountry users.
The purpose of the CAIC is to minimize the
economic and human impact of snow avalanches on recreation, tourism, commerce, industry and the citizens of Colorado. Since 1950 avalanches have killed more people in Colorado than any other natural hazard, and in the United States, Colorado accounts for one-third of all avalanche death.
Every year there is a Friends of CAIC benefit bash where
participants can support the CAIC by purchasing tickets, beers and place bids on auction items provided from many outdoor gear companies. SlideWright Ski & Snowboard Tools & Wares is one company that believes in supporting the organization that all rely on to provide the best available weather and avalanche risk information for Colorado’s backcountry.
So step up and support the CAIC! Bid often on these items from SlideWright and others to help raise the funds needed for this important organization!
Pliny Equipment Jigarex Binding Mounting System with Dynafit Radical 2.0 & Kingpin plates
UPDATE: SlideWright no longer carries JigaRex Binding Jigs. For binding drill bits that fit in the jigs, inserts & mounting screws, click here.
The Pliny Equipment JigaRex Binding Jig System clamps to the side of skis and helps you quickly align the boot sole center on the ski mount point. JigaRex interchangeable binding plates are purchased separately for specific binding types and are easily seated on the Universal Jig for your favorite alpine, backcountry and telemark bindings.
If you use the JigaRex™, as with any tool, it is your responsibility to ensure the quality and safety of work you do, as well as the safety of the bindings. It is highly recommended that a certified binding technician performs a binding check to verify proper release and function of ski bindings.
Following, are two videos, a few minutes long, showing various hot waxing techniques, along with minimal scraping and roto-brushing to bang out waxing tasks in little time and with little mess. Not including cooling and hardening time (20 minutes, minimum) the total time involved could be easily under 15 minutes and possibly 10 per pair or snowboard. Using liquid wax, the time could be 5 minutes:
(Note select the ‘HQ’ icon for Higher Quality video.)
You just got some new skis or a snowboard. Now what?
Unwrap & drool, then inspect them to ‘get to know’ them
While skiing or riding challenging terrain or sparse snow coverage, it’s inevitable that your bases will get dinged. Core shots need to be sealed and protected, Gouges need to be filled to keep your bases running smooth.
Base repair tools and supplies can be found here.
(Note select the ‘HQ’ icon for Higher Quality video.)