Let’s start off with that famous question: What’s in the box? Speaking metaphorically of course. Elans don’t come in a box. But when you buy a pair and become their proud owner, you get a product that is exceptional in all respects. The skis are beautifully designed and formed, full of cutting edge technology and functionality and are friendly to the owner. They are designed to give you as much joy as possible. This has been a tradition of ours for many years. The skis are actually ready to hit snow as soon as you take them out of the box. Your authorized expert dealer will install and set up your bindings and that is it. Everything else has been taken care of. The edges are tuned to the correct angle to carve perfect arcs and the base is ground and waxed. All there is left to do is point them down to the valley.
Of course any skier with a new pair of skis needs some time to adjust to the equipment and become one with the new gear. The process is like getting to know a new friend, slowly exploring all the characteristics of the skis and trusting them more and more each run. But the skis also go through certain changes during the process. Maintaining constant characteristics of a ski requires a certain degree of care and attention. But not every skier is the same and not all skiers treat their skis equally. Racers and advanced skiers work on their skis before each day on the slope while average weekend warriors tend to be somewhat less involved. It is a fact that using skis causes edges to lose their sharpness and wax to be stripped away from the base. Not to mention the occasional scrape and gouge. But all of this can be fixed and taken care of.
How, then, do we take care of our skis to assure they keep serving their purpose as long as possible and provide maximum performance throughout their service life?
Skis are like your car. They too need a regular service once a year. It is recommended to treat your skis to a full service before the beginning of each season. This includes grinding and repairing the base and tuning the edges to the desired angle. A two degree edge tune is a good starting point for recreational use.
Edges dull with use but the speed with which they lose their ability to grip depends on many factors. The foremost is certainly the number of days on snow. Snow structure also plays an important part - artificial snow is much more abrasive than natural snow and wears edges away faster. A lot also depends on the skill level of each skier. Generally speaking edges last at least ten days on natural snow and about half that on artificial or icy snow. After that they will need sharpening. More demanding users tune their edges every second ski day. Edges usually last a good number of tune jobs so the possibility of a recreational skier using up all their edge material is minimal.
The base has two main characteristics - structure and impregnation with wax. The wax has a much shorter life. Skis should generally be re-waxed every five days on the snow. Yet the base itself also loses tension and structure through use. This can be restored with the use of a special machine that skis are fed through. The frequency of that procedure again depends on the number of days spent on snow. A good base generally keeps its tension and structure for at least twenty ski days.
Unfortunately no ski is immune to physical damage. The most common areas to get damaged are the base and the edges. Scrapes and gouges in the base are reasonably easy to fix. Smaller ones are filled with a special material while larger ones require a section of the base to be cut out and replaced with a new one. Repairing edges is a more daunting prospect. Certain types of deformations can be repaired using specialist procedures, but if a part of the edge breaks off, the ski is usually beyond repair.
What can we do ourselves?
When we take our freshly serviced skis out for a week of skiing we always hope for seven days of sunshine and epic snow conditions, as well as perfect arcs and effortless glide from our skis. The first two wishes are well beyond our control, but we can certainly take care of the skis. We can use a handheld diamond file to deburr the edges every evening and preserve their sharpness. Care must be taken during the procedure not to file down the edges and harm the basic tune. It is also easy to wax the skis on your own every few days.
Skis should be wiped thoroughly with a dry cloth and stored in a dry area after each use. This helps prevent corrosion on the edges and other metal parts of the bindings. The same applies both for temporary storage during winter and off season storage over the summer.
It makes sense to thoroughly inspect your skis every now and then. Pay particular attention to the joint where the edge sits between the sidewall and the base. The structural glue in the ski can let go and allow water or moisture into the ski. If a defect is found early, the ski can be repaired.
Skis are best transported inside vehicles or in special roof boxes. This is particularly important on longer trips during which skis could be exposed to salt.
How to set up your bindings
When you purchase a pair of skis, you also get the accompanying bindings. They will be installed on your skis immediately by a properly trained technician. There are two important factors regarding ski bindings. Bindings must be properly adapted to the size of your ski boots. Each boot has a marked center and a notation of the length of the sole in millimetres. The bindings are then set to the corresponding length.
The last thing to adjust is the binding release value. This depends on the weight and skill level of the skier. Average recreational skiers should set their bindings to their body weight in kilograms while better skiers can tighten the bindings up another step.