Winter is coming into swing at last, and by now many of the resorts have opened up. This means it is time to jump back on your board. Just because you are set and ready to go, doesn’t always mean your equipment feels the same way. So lets get into proper care of your shred stick. This is an important part of snowboarding, a well tuned, up-kept snowboard will preform better and lead a longer life. Translation: Happy board= Happy rider <- everyone wins.
Lets first go over a few common questions people have regarding tunes/repair:
1. How often should I have my board tuned?
After you spend about 5-6 days out it is a good idea to asses your equipment for a tune. Think about it: You make 8 runs in a day (give or take a few) and that’s quite a bit of miles traveled. Then multiply this by 5 or 6, your snowboard has had quite a journey. Not to mention the rocks, stumps, or small children it has encountered on said journey.
*ProTip: Before you store your board for the winter, tune it up! This is what we in the industry call a storage tune. You want to fully tune the board, and apply a nice amount of wax, BUT leave the wax on during the off-season. A snowboard base is a very porous material, leaving wax on keeps the base from drying out, and also prevents dust and dirt from getting in. Then, when it is time to ride again, you simply scrape your wax off and head for the mountain. And that is the definition of being well prepared.*
2. When will I know my board needs a tune up?
This is something you can both see and feel. It feels like: your edges no longer grab as well, and they feel dull to the touch. Run the back of your fingernail across the edge, is it sharp enough to scrape your nail? Your snowboard is reluctant to want to slide across snow, look at the base, does it feel dry? It looks like: The base is getting white, this is a sign your board needs a wax job. If you have deep scratches or divots in your base, you may need p-tex repair. If your top sheet is chipped or coming up, this is something epoxy can take care of.
Once you have determined the need for a tune or repair the next step is determining if you want to try to tackle it yourself or leave it to the pros. If this whole process is very new to you, I would suggest taking it to a shop until you familiarize yourself with the process more. A typical tune-up will usually run you 40-50 dollars. Another great thing about taking it to a shop for a tune up is they can give you a base grind. If your board has not had a tune for a long time, or snow conditions are really changing, getting a base grind is a very good idea. If you look at a board base closely, each snowboard has tiny ridges running down the base, this is known as structure. Structure is needed, just like treads on a tire, to reduce drag on snow. And different structures are better for varied conditions (fine, tight structure for cold snow and coarser, wider structure for warm, wet snow). What a base grind does is runs the base of your equipment over a stone, which freshens up and brings out structure again. Here are some pros and cons of tuning at home versus shop work:
Tuning at home:
Con: Harder for beginners
Con: You need to go and buy tuning/repair supplies
Con: You can not get a base grind
Pro: You save money in the long run
Pro: You can fine tune things just the way you want them
Pro: You don’t have to wait for a busy shop to tune your board
Getting a shop tune:
Con: It can be expensive
Con: You may have to wait a few days to get your snowboard back
Con: Depending on the shop, they may not get it just the way you want
Pro: They are professionals, and have a vast knowledge of what they are doing, as well as ALL they supplies they could possibly need
Pro: When it comes to repairs, like big gashes in your board or a blown out edge, they can fix these much better than a DIY repair
Pro: You can get a base grind and/or a very precise edge angle
So, think over your own personal drawback and benefits, and determine which method is best for you, and more importantly, your snowboard.
If you do decide to go the DIY route, below I have linked to a couple of informative snowboard tuning videos to help you out!
- Learn to wax your snowboard and skis (grindtv.com)