Your Guide To Waxing And Tuning In Niseko

It’s getting to that time of the season where your boards all dinged up, you’re in severe need of a wax and your edges just aren’t carving like they were a couple of weeks back. Not to worry–this doesn’t mean you need to upgrade your setup. Although, it may mean that you’re in desperate need of a full service tune. 

We have some of the best tips and tricks to ensure your weapon of choice is well maintained and ready to hit all conditions.

How Important is it to Wax Your Ski or Snowboard?

While there are a lot of old school skiers and boarders out there who swear by ‘never having waxed their skis’, it is an important part of maintaining the quality of your gear. 

There are four main reasons to wax your gear:

  • It makes you faster by allowing you to glide smoothly over the snow.
  • It prevents the base of your board and skis drying out.
  • It stops you from getting stuck in flat spots.
  • It provides an added measure of safety and prevents you from slinging forward when you hit a spot of sticky snow with high speeds.

 

Gear You’ll Need For Waxing

Bench

First things first, you’ll need a bench. While there’s a lot of expensive options on the market for specialised waxing benches, most of the time it’s an unnecessary purchase. For the most part, all you’ll need is a small, flat table big enough to keep your gear stable but small enough that the bindings are hanging off the end of the table. A tradesman workbench will usually do the trick. Alternatively, you can also make blocks to elevate your ski or board so that the bindings aren’t sitting on the bench and creating an uneven surface. 

Waxing Iron

Now, this one is essential. And if you’re thinking, ‘sweet, I’ve got an iron at home’, a waxing iron is not a standard household iron. Specialised waxing irons don’t feature holes in the base plates, are commonly thicker, and have more advanced heating elements in them to ensure a more even heat across their baseplate.

Wax

While common household candle wax is perfect for skaters trying to wax up a ledge, it won’t work for snowboard waxing. 

There are three kinds of ski/snowboard wax: warm weather, cold weather, and all-season. The type you should choose will generally depend on the weather conditions you’ll be riding in. For advanced riders, temperature specific wax is recommended but for recreational riders, all-weather wax is the better option as it will have the same effect in all kinds of conditions.

Brush

Brushes are the main workhorse when it comes to making your ski or board as smooth as possible. Brass brushes are better for renewing base structure and opening pores before you wax, nylon brushes are designed to be quite rigid and are perfect for removing wax.

Scraper

Much like conditioner, scrapers will make your board silky and smooth by removing any excess buildup of wax, leaving you with a smooth layer across the bottom of your board/ski that’ll let you fly down the hill.

What is the Difference Between a Wax and a Tune?

TUNES WORKSHOP

In a way, ski waxing is like washing your car and ski tuning is like a full service done by a mechanic. Waxing is exactly what you’d expect from the name, it’s a simple wax of the board or ski to ensure its riding smoothly and not getting stuck on sticky parts of the snow. Tuning on the other hand, includes a lot more maintenance and is usually undertaken by a trained technician. Waxing is normally included in a full service tune, but many other practices are also involved to make sure your gear is riding at its top capability. 

Some of the procedures undertaken in a full service tune include:

Inspection and Base Repairs

It makes sense that workshop technicians would inspect skis or boards for damage before they get to work on them. After an inspection, if the techs notice any damage such as broken bindings, damaged edges or sidewall damage, they will know what specialised procedures they need to undertake. For base damage, this will normally include welding with hot PTEX to fill in any gouges in the bottom of the ski to avoid any water-logging while riding.

Edge Sharpening

Ever caught an edge? It’s not nice. Edges are one of the most important components on any board/ski, they make sure you can carve smoothly and turn with confidence. Edging is usually done with a specialist tool, a ceramic disc, or in extreme DIY circumstances a chisel. It involves filing down the sides of your board or ski, removing any rust and sharpening the edge to make sure it carves the snow with each.  

Base Grinding/Stone Grinding

Ever seen videos of ski workshops where there’s a whole bunch of sparks flying? That’s base/stone grinding. Base grinding restores base flatness, optimises glide and repairs base structure. There are different kinds of grinds based on different types of skis, their dimensions and anticipated snow conditions. Base grinding or stone grinding helps remove water from your base and helps your gear slide significantly better on snow.

Waxing

As mentioned above, waxing helps you to glide over snow fast, avoid getting stuck in flat spots and helps protect your gear from drying out.


Can You Tune And Wax Your Gear At Home?

While you can wax and tune your own gear at home, it often requires expensive specialist equipment and technical know-how to ensure that you don’t hurt yourself or damage your equipment. If you are inexperienced in the field, it is often recommended that you visit a specialist workshop technician or attend a ski tuning/waxing workshop. 

Rhythm Tunes Workshop Services

Rhythm Tunes offers a full range of tuning, mounting and repair services, completed by highly trained technicians who work with the latest Wintersteiger machinery to offer top-notch stone base grinding, ceramic disk edge finishing, hot waxing and general repair services for skis, snowboards and bikes.

Our Rhythm Tunes Workshop almost covers too many services to list, but we’ve provided a breakdown of their main services.

Repairs
When it comes to repairs, it can be either an easy or extensive fix. After taking your damaged gear into your local Rhythm story, the Rhythm Tunes Workshop will assess the repairs and quote a price or time of completion. If you have been out shredding, there will be a 24 hour drying period before the gear can be worked on. After that, any PTEX or glueing needed will be completed promptly. For top sheet repairs a fast set epoxy will be applied, for more extensive repairs a slow epoxy (which requires 24 hours to set) will be used, meaning that repairs can take anywhere from 24 hours to 5 days depending on how extensive the damage is.
Mounting
Rhythm Tunes mounts up to 1,000 skis per year–and that’s just for our rental fleet. As you may imagine, the workshop team has A LOT of practice. With a wide variety of jigs collected from around the world, and the correct drill-bits, glues and epoxies recommended by ski manufacturers, Rhythm Tunes are well equipped to correctly mount your bindings to your skis.
Even if you think you have an obscure binding, contact the store as Rhythm Tunes can also do paper mounts and there’s a high chance they will have the jig that fits your needs.

*Please note: To create the best possible bond without damaging the core, and to prevent damage to the base, Rhythm Tunes do not use drills to place screws into the skis. This ensures longevity and guarantees good mounting on your skis.
Base Grinding and Polishing
There are two main belts used in ski tuning: the zirconia belt (the blue belt), and the oxidising belt (the red belt). Much like the red and blue pill in the matrix, both belts offer completely different results. For base grinding, Tunes uses the blue belt to resurface your equipment and get it prepped for repairs such as PTEX. The red belt on the other hand, is commonly known as the ‘cleaning belt’, and helps to open the pores and remove unwanted contaminants on the plastic before waxing.
Edging
Tunes utilises two different specialist edging machines. Firstly, they will use a belt edger to provide a nice finish and remove any rust spots on your skis or board. Next they use a variety of angle bases, including the Reichman DTSU ceramic edger. This machine uses ceramic stones to edge specific angles on race skis and carving equipment. Its serrated edge helps to fix damage to the edges and prevents them from wearing down over time.
Performance Wax
We’d like to think that by this stage of the article, you’re pretty cluey about the specific kinds of ski and snowboard waxing. But to be a little bit more specific, Tunes waxes in a two stage process. The first application involves a base coat of universal wax, allowing the pores to soak before adding a top layer. The top layer sees the Tunes technician add a temperature specific coat before scraping it all smooth and using scrapers and a rotary brush to remove any excess wax.
Edging
Tunes utilises two different specialist edging machines. Firstly, they will use a belt edger to provide a nice finish and remove any rust spots on your skis or board. Next, they use a variety of angle bases, including the Reichman DTSU ceramic edger. This machine uses ceramic stones to edge specific angles on race skis and carving equipment. Its serrated edge helps to fix damage to the edges and prevents them from wearing down over time.
Quiver Killer
Another reason that the Rhythm Tunes workshop are some of the best technicians around is there access to top-of-the-line equipment. One of the most recent additions is the unique opportunity to work with the company Quiver Killer. Quiver Killer provides a very unique binding experience by making inserts for your skis, similar to a snowboard. This process can be applied to a variety of needs, whether it's increasing your ski quiver without needing to buy multiple bindings, or setting up two different mounting positions so that you can have touring bindings and alpine bindings set up on the same set of skis. After installing a quiver killer to your ski, the bond on your skis are 300% stronger than a traditional mount.

If you have any inquiries about setting this up, come into one of our locations and we can have a look at mounting positions and talk through your different options.
Full Tune
As you may expect, a full tune involves most of the services listed above. Helping your equipment get all schmick before you get out on the slopes.
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