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Terry James Walker

Ski Teching and Preparation

Pre-Season ski preparation:

Here is a humorous guide to prepping your skis for the first time of the season, ready to hit the piste, offpiste, gates, rocks, rails and kickers.

Step 1:Go into the loft or storage where they have gathered monster spider webs and mouse droppings over the off season. Get them out, clean them off and then spend the next few hours at a diy shop buying and baiting traps for the mice. Return to your skis, less keen than before, but still ready to get your tech on.
Step 2: Put vices on table, be sure to put the table/bench outside on grass or at least a patio with a dust sheet on cover. Realistically your vices will have been left in the apartment in the Alps last April when you didn't clean it properly and lost your deposit, whilst on your way out the door to embrace a hungover (close to the limit), nightmare, hellfest drive back to the UK. So really Step 2 is: lean your skis against a table at one end and the wall at the other at a nice angle. By now it's probably raining too, so you'd better get inside the house... Remember the dust sheet to protect the floor/carpet.
Step 3: Must be time for some food and a cup of tea by now. Best off going and boiling the kettle. Wash the mouse poison off your hands before picking up your sandwiches.
Step 4: Dark outside now, definitely best off doing this in the house. Time to scrape off that thick layer of wax you put on to protect them after the last days shredding in the hot sun. Sharpen your rounded scraper on sandpaper/£30 sharpener/top edge of the ski. Apply multiple rubber bands to the brakes to hold them up. Get scraping in a smooth movement from tip to tail, with the scraper angled backwards. Realise that it's still not really very sharp and not doing much, so tilt the scraper towards the tail and press harder till your thumb aches. Bang goes the elastic band cluster and hits you in the chest before bouncing straight into your cup of earl grey. Re-apply then carefully scrape down the edges to reveal a slightly rusted edge (why bother waxing last April?).
Step 5: Use gummer rubber/stone/diamond file to quickly rub off the rust and leave a nice shiny finish, try and take out any burrs from rails/rocks etc.
Step 6: Put kettle on again. Listen out and hear that ping sound from your laptop letting you know that Superheroes of Stoke has finished downloading. Better go and watch it, skis can wait until tomorrow now. Good effort myself.

Step 1: Repairing the base with P-tex sticks. Rest the skis back in the optimum wall/table position after kicking them twice last evening, massively chipping the paint and denting the plasterboard. Set fire to the p-tex stick, dribble a bit in the hole, blow it out and watch the streaky strands of red hot plastic wiggle their way all over your bases and finger tips. After much swearing whilst trying as quickly as possible to apply pressure with a metal scraper to the newly filled hole, remove the scraper to unveil a mess, use metal scrap to no avail and turn to a chisel to hoy out most of the plastic you've just put in. It's not that important.
Step 2: Get out your file, 88deg guide and clamp. Draw a line along the edge with marker pen to self check the terrible job you're about to confidently carry out. Run the file down from tip to tail, get the direction that the file is pointing in the guide wrong and hence doesn't take much edge off. Press harder, thus bending the angle and not resting properly at 88deg, more like 95. Press harder still because now you need to get out that massive burr from not pressing hard enough previously. Mouse trap goes bang, scares you, file slips and boom goes that sinking feeling in your stomach as the blood drips on the carpet that you've forgotten to cover up.
Step 3: With thumb strapped up, continue on other edges and try to get them somewhere near the same angle on all 4.
Step 4: Time to brush out all the crap from edge filing process... First bronze brush, then nylon. You should of course wax and hot scrape a few times to proper clean the bases, but it's lunch time soon and it won't make that much difference in a Eurotest, because you've been doing squat's in the gym. In fact, get brushed and go tuck into a tuna jacket potato and protein shake.
Step 5: Plug the iron in and crank it up to 120, then realise it's not hot enough and the dial is probably the most inaccurate you've ever seen considering you paid £60 for it. Crank it more until smoke from last Springs yellow wax comes bellowing off.
Step 6: Crayon in some wax, probably red stuff, the more expensive the better to go faster. Smoke from the iron will now set off the smoke detector, scaring you to knock the ski from it's securish position (balanced on the bindings upside down on the table), ski lands on it's edge against the radiator to add a lovely new burr. Deafening noise from smoke detector has gone and you can once again hear your Tanner Hall reggae playlist booming.
Step 7: Drizzle some waxing in a professional manner down the ski bases and wax in, who knows for how long because those Holmenkol instruction leaflets are uttlerly useless and make no sense. But you probably won't melt the base? Meanwhile, unknowingly that new burr has put a lovely little chip in your iron that's now giving you a new base structure of zig-zig Z's, W's and V's, but you won't know about that until you've scraped for the first time in resort ;o)
Step 8: Smugly remove ski brake clips and slot your newly teched skis together. Pop them in the car and head out for resort.

Step 1: Take skis out of car, onto balcony, scrape profusely, give a slight brush and witness the scratches that your iron has branded into the GS base structure. Gutted... Anyway, there's powder so lets hit it. No time to sweep up the mounting residue wax, we've got all season for that.
Step 2: Carry your skis towards the lift over your shoulder and rip your glove on the 'dropped from table' burr that ruined your iron and consequently your bases.
Step 3: Get carried away with ankle deep November powder in pre-season training and take that heart wrenching core shot. Ouch.
Step 4: Take them to the shop, get them to take the edge burrs out, put all the edges to the same angle, dig out the p-tex, refill the holes properly, get a new structure put in, pay 50eu and pretend that you bought them second hand for £100 a few days ago. Walk away with pride narrowly in tact and a fast-ish pair of boards.