New Ski Base Preparation

Posted by Matthew Fox on Aug 14th 2013

Base preparation of a new pair of skis can be a fun and exciting experience.  I like to start with a stone grind that is best suited for the area and conditions the ski will be used in most. The first step is always to get some medium hardness wax such as the Start BW (Base Wax white) into the base before grinding. I feel this helps gets the base ready for stone grinding by softening up the base material.  Stone grinding a new ski does two things to enhance the ski. The obvious is that stone grinding tunes the structure to a specific condition. The less obvious is that it removes hard dried out base material from the top surface of the ski base in addition to sealers added by some manufactures to make the bases look shiny.

Once the skis have been stone ground or determined that stone grinding is not needed the bases need to be hand tuned for optimal performance.  The first step is to use Swix T-264 orange extra fine Fibertex  to remove the micro hairs from the ski base.  I recommend five passes per ski tip to tail. After stone grinding and the use of Fibertex the ski bases must be cleaned with denatured alcohol to remove any pollutants fallowed up by brushing the ski bases with a clean brass brush before waxing. This step removes grinding emulsion along with dust and debris.

Base prep image
With many options, base prep can seem confusing, but ultimately the basics remain the same

Here at Gear West, skis are then loaded into a hot box for saturation of soft base wax made specifically for hot boxing.  Alternatively, you can use several layers of a soft or base prep specific wax, though this takes longer and exposes the base to more heat. Once hot boxing/base saturation is complete the ski bases need to be hardened off. This is done by waxing with a increasingly harder wax each successive layer. I do this to build the ski bases resistance to high iron heat. Each layer of wax should be scraped and brushed to a polish before moving on the next layer. Try to keep in mind that new skis should be babied for awhile by waxing them frequently and avoiding long distances until the ski has been waxed several times.

-Posted by Matthew Fox on Aug 14th 2013