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Alpine Ski Preparation and Tuning


An equipment guide for each age group can be found HERE.

Ski Preparation and Tuning

Always prepare your skis prior to going on a race trip! As many of you already know at championship events, wax rooms at hotels can be very small and crowded as everyone attempts to prep their skis at the last minute. Any sharpening of edges, stoning, base repairs or major binding adjustments should all be looked after at home where you will have an abundance of tools, space and time.

Ski Tuning Basic Tools

  • Stone:

Diamond stones are best, available in ski shops and some knife shops

Cost is approximately $15 to $30.

  • File:

Single cut 10 inch or 8 inch both work fine

Chrome files will last much longer; they are available at most ski shops. Chrome files cost approximately $20.

Regular steel files don’t last quite as long, however they will work well. They are available at most hardware stores for approximately $10.

  • File Card/Cleaning Brush:

Used to clean your files; available at ski shops and hardware stores

  • File Guide and Clamp:

Used when filing the sidewall side of the edge. Get an 87 degree guide.

Base bevel flat file guides are available at most ski shops.

  • Sandpaper:

One sheet of emery cloth or 400 grit sandpaper for dulling tips and tails

One sheet of 120 grit for sharpening scrapers; available at hardware stores

  • Side Wall plane:

Special tool used to prep new skis (taking off the sidewall to access the edge)

Best to let one of the coaching staff show you how it works as it can damage your skis if used incorrectly

  • Clean Rags:

Used to wipe filing off your skis and hands

  • Base Filler:

New kind comes in a powder and is ironed into a gouge, then scraped off with a plastic scraper; available at most ski shops and mail order outfits

Keep in mind that small aren’t important to fill, and large ones that are rather deep should be taken care of at the ski shop


  • Brush:

Available in brass, nylon (white) and horsehair (generally black)

Nylon should be all you need at this point; get the large 3x5 inch

Nylon is all you need for brushing your skis before waxing and after scraping, available at most ski shops.

  • Scraper:

Standard plastic is all you need; available at most ski shops.

Keep your scraper sharp and burr free with the side wall planer.

  • Iron:

An old style clothing iron will work, however a multi temperature wax specific iron is preferred. 

Any brand is ok; get the standard Hydrocarbon wax for warm conditions.

Swix base prep. (Red) is excellent training conditions and good for your skis.

  • Ski Straps:

Always use two straps (tips and tails); you can also use them to hold brakes.

Cross structured skis will be slow no matter what wax is on them!!!!

  • Box or Kit:

An old tool box or fishing box works fine to hold all your gear

Small ones are better. A large kit is harder to take with you on trips

Put your name on all of the tools and put a lock on the kit. You never know what strangers may want to borrow from your kit if you leave it unattended at a common wax room.


Several vendors offer complete tuning kits from basic to World Cup level equipment.  Purchase prices vary but you can get started for as little as $100.

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