I’ve recently gotten several questions relating to how a pair of WhiteRoom skis should be tuned. A proper tune can make a world of difference on how a ski behaves and performs. With the evolution of modern ski design, tuning has also evolved to adapt to these new designs that include both rocker and camber as well as mixed sidecut designs.
After the final base grind the base should be flat with a 90 deg angle on the edge. If just skied in this form, a ski with the combination of mixed sidecut with a rocker tip will tend to feel hooky or twitchy and at times, unpredictable. This is mainly because the edges are too sharp near the front contact point of the ski. A ski that is too sharp near the tip or in the front rocker will, when placed on edge, instantly almost, suddenly grip and bite into the snow. This might also feel like the edge will suddenly catch, potential causing a fall or loss of control. A tail that is too sharp might feel like it won’t release from a turn. These characteristics makes it feels like the ski is in control and not the skier. This is not a fun feeling.
To remedy this, a proper tune is needed. Beveling the edges will correct most of this unpredictable behavior. For skis with a rockered tip or rocker in both the tip and tail, a progressive edge bevel works very well. This tuning concept involves increased edge bevel along the rockered portions of the ski of 1.5-2 degrees tapering down to .5-1 degree along the cambered section of the ski. This allows the tip and the tail to feel more loose and allow the ski to gradually bite as it enters a turn, gives good edge hold thru the apex of the turn and release smoothly on the exit. This will also allow a skier skid or smear the ski as needed to dump speed or micro adjust their line without catching an edge.
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For the side edge, most ski techs recommend 1-2 degrees. This will create a sharp but durable edge angle. The higher the edge angle the sharper the edge, but the durability of the sharpness is also decreased.
I also recommend that the edges from the base of the rocker extending out to the tip and tail be detuned somewhat. The combination of the progressive edge bevel with detuning of the rockers really seems to make freeride skis with mixed camber and mixed sidecut behave well on firm snow.
Below you’ll see a diagram of where you would apply the 1.5-2 degree base edge bevel and detuning to decrease the hooky feeling in the tip and for a looser feel in the tail of a ski tips and tail rockers.
For a more traditional ski a 1 degree base edge and 1-2 degree side edge bevel seems to work well for most people. Detuning the tip and tail is still sometimes necessary for a traditionally shaped and cambered ski.
It’s always a good idea to keep a diamond stone in your pocket in case your skis feel a little too sharp. Sometimes all it takes is a few passes with a diamond stone to tame down a twitchy feeling ski.