There’s nothing like hitting the slopes in the snow covered mountains to get you out of bed in the morning. However, if you’re new to skiing or usually rent your skis, you might be wondering: How often should I sharpen my skis?
In this article, I will cover some key information about your skis, including when your skis need to be sharpened.
Let’s get into it.
Why Do Skis Need Sharpening?
Skiing is a wonderful way to explore the outdoors and get fit, but it can also be dangerous. If you don’t take care of your skiing equipment properly, you could hurt yourself or someone else.
When you ski, you often encounter both hard snow and ice, and over time your skis can become worn down if you don’t take the necessary precautions to maintain them.
Just like many other pieces of sports equipment, skis need sharpening because they’re put through their paces every time you head out onto the slopes.
You could have the best pair of skis in the world, and if you don’t maintain them, they’ll quickly become dull and won’t work as well. The duller your skis are, the harder you will have to work at control as you ski down the slopes.
As a result, you must maintain them by sharpening them to ensure that you are getting the most out of your skis.
When Do My Skis Need To Be Sharpened?
If you’ve never owned a pair of your own skis and have recently bought some, you might be wondering how often you need to sharpen your skis.
The answer to this question depends on several factors, such as how often you ski as well as the type of snow you’ve been skiing on. If you’re someone that skis for 1 to 2 weeks a year, then your skis will need to be sharpened professionally once per season on average.
If you’re skiing for more than 2 weeks a year, it’s important to bring your skis in to have them professionally sharpened a minimum of twice a season. When it comes to skiing on ice or snow that is hard-packed, you may need to sharpen your skis on a more regular basis.
On the other hand, skiing on soft powder might mean that you need to sharpen them less often.
How Can You Tell If Your Skis Need Sharpening?
The easiest way to tell whether you need to sharpen your skis is if they don’t grip as well as they did. When you use your skis frequently, over time your skis are not holding onto the snow as well as they used to.
However, unless you’re a professional skier, this is not a clear difference that you’ll be able to gauge from one day to another.
However, if you begin to notice that your skis aren’t providing you with the control that you used to have when skiing on hard-packed snow, then it’s likely time for them to be sharpened.
It’s important to note that a pair of skis has a limit of professional sharpenings before the edge wears away. At this point, you need to replace your skis.
Benefits Associated With Sharpening Your Skis
There are a variety of benefits associated with sharpening your skis. These include but are not limited to:
- Sharpening your skis gives you the sharp edge that you require to dig into the snow to have better control out on the slopes.
- Sharp skis make the process of skiing on hard packed snow much easier.
- Sharpening your skis removes the burrs so that the edges are more even and can glide across the snow.
- Sharpening skis helps to prevent rust, which in turn can prolong your ski’s lifespan.
Risks Associated With Not Sharpening Your Skis
If you don’t sharpen your skis, you may find that your skis start to lose their grip and become less stable.
This means that you will have an increased risk of falling while skiing. In addition, you may experience more injuries due to poor balance and coordination. Other issues that can occur include but are not limited to:
- Without a sharp edge, parallel skiing will become more difficult, if not impossible. This comes down to the fact that gripping through your turn will be challenging.
- Stopping will require greater leg strength, particularly down steep slopes.
- It will take longer and will be more challenging to turn, control your speed, and stop.
- Rust and burrs will build up which will reduce the lifespan of your skis.
- It will become harder to control your skis on ice as well as hard-packed snow.
- Uneven edges on your skis can cause you to catch part of your skis on the slopes. As a result, you can struggle to maintain your balance when you are traveling at speed.
How Do You Sharpen Your Skis At Home?
You can sharpen your skis at home easily enough with a file or scraper. To do this, you’ll need to follow these steps:
Step One – Prop your skis up ready for sharpening.
Step Two – Next, you will need to tie your breaks so that they are out of the way with a rubber band. This means that they won’t interfere with the sharpening process.
Step Three – Following this, you will want to file your base edge with the filing tool. Make sure that you are using light and even pressure across the entire length of the ski.
Step Four – Now you will need to sharpen the edge side of your ski. You can begin by concentrating on the areas of the ski that have burrs and rust, but make sure you also sharpen the full length of the ski.
Step Five – Take a gummy stone and touch up any remaining areas.
Step Six – Clean the edges of your ski with rubbing alcohol and a clean towel.
Step Seven – Repeat these steps on your second ski. Now you have sharpened both skis.
How Many Times Can You Sharpen The Edges Of Your Skis?
Although sharpening your skis is necessary, it’s important to recognize that sharpening removes material from your ski’s edges every time that you sharpen them.
As a result, unless you are a professional skier, you won’t want to sharpen them more than every ten ski days. For most skiers, it will be enough to sharpen your skis at the start of the season and wax according to the type of snow and outside temperature.
It is also important to note that the number of times you sharpen them will be determined by a few factors. For instance, your style of skiing and the type of snow that you’re skiing will hugely affect the amount you will need to sharpen your skis.
Bearing this in mind, you will need to take this information with a pinch of salt and sharpen your skis in accordance with your needs.
However, in general, you can sharpen the edges of a pair of skis 5 to 10 times before they wear out. Following this, you will need to replace your skis.
What Angle Should You Sharpen Your Skis At?
The answer to this question is that it depends! There are two angles that you need to be aware of when it comes to sharpening your skis. First up, the angle that meets the base of the ski, also known as the base angle. Secondly we have the angle that meets the top of the ski, also known as the side angle.
You will want to make sure that you check the manufacturer’s instructions, as the optimum angle can vary between pairs of skis.
Generally speaking, the base angle is 1 degree. However, as I’ve mentioned, this can differ.
In addition to this, the side angle is generally 1, 1.5, or 2 degrees, but this can also differ.
How Much Does It Cost To Have Your Skis Professionally Sharpened?
Professional sharpening costs anywhere from $20-$40 depending on what kind of service you choose. A good tip is to look into local shops where you can rent skis. These shops usually offer free sharpening services.
In most cases, these shops will provide better quality sharpening services than those offered by ski rental companies.
What Is Ski Waxing?
Ski waxing is the process of applying a thin layer of wax to your skis to either improve grip or traction. There are two types of waxes available:
- Hardwax – A harder wax that is good for colder weather.
- Softwax – A softer wax that is good for warmer weather.
Waxing your skis is recommended every 3 months to prevent any buildup of dirt and debris.
Do You Need To Wax A New Pair Of Skis Before You Can Use Them?
Yes, it’s a good idea to get your skis waxed before you use them.
This comes down to the fact that they will perform better and you will get the most out of them on the slopes if you give them a proper waxing beforehand.
While a few manufacturers put more effort into waxing their skis, others don’t.
As a result, waxing them yourself beforehand will ensure that you’ve covered all bases and are as prepared as you can be to hit the slopes!
How Can You Tell If Skis Need To Be Waxed?
Generally speaking, skis need to be waxed when the base dries out.
When examining whether your skis need waxing, you will be able to see areas that are white and chalky along the base where the wax has worn away.
When your skis need waxing, they will feel rough and dry. This is a huge contrast to the smooth and slick feel that they have once they’ve just been waxed.
It’s also important to note that there’s no such thing as waxing your skis too much. So, if you think they could do with waxing, there’s no need to hold back.
How Do You Keep Your Skis Sharp?
Skiing in icy conditions or snow that is hard packed will lead to your skis becoming dull at a quicker rate as this requires a higher level degree of control. Thus, you’re using the edge of your skis more.
To keep your skis in the best possible condition, you will want to try to avoid skiing over stones, pebbles, or grit.
Are Sharp Skis Dangerous?
The answer to this question is they can be! As a result, you will want to ensure that you take the necessary precautions when dealing with skis.
Always make sure that you wear your ski gloves when carrying or picking up your skis as the edge will very easily cut through your skin.
Sharpening your skis is essential to ensure that you maintain maximum performance throughout the entire season. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, then make sure to ask someone who does.
Remember to always practice safe skiing! Stay safe out there.