Athletes at this level have a much larger fleet of skis (usually four to
six pairs) and also have greater time demands. Coaches and club
administrators need to schedule and plan in to training the maintenance of skis; otherwise it will fall by the wayside.
Athletes still need coaching in tuning methodology, with entry-level conceptualization and tuning philosophy becoming important.
Ninety percent of tuning should be handled by athletes at this level,
with the rest conducted by professional race service centers.
Most athletes will have two pairs of skis per tech discipline, and
sometimes two pairs per speed discipline. Encourage athletes to
let the wax sit (un-scraped) until the next time that ski is needed
— this will create a natural ski rotation by discipline and will ensure
that all skis that are not on the snow are covered in wax and ready
Coaches should be available in the tuning room each day after
training to supervise and guide athletes in their ski maintenance.
When possible, a different coach should be assigned to this duty
Coaches need to check skis’ condition frequently, especially slalom skis. Most top-level coaches agree that training slalom on less
than perfectly sharp skis is detrimental.
For time management, coaches should emphasize showing athletes how to keep up the tune and maintenance to the highest levels
with the least amount of time. The time spent in daily maintenance
should be roughly 75 percent of what is spent on a race day. Most
athletes spend 500 percent more time on race-day prep — at the
expense of their results and consistency.
Encourage true sharpness in tuning, coach athletes in how to get
it, and demand it be consistently applied for all racing and training
sessions. It is not possible to successfully train on dull skis and
race on sharp ones.
Remind athletes that making the national team will not get them out
of tuning — most USST athletes are tuning their own skis, or help-
ing in the workload with a technician. It’s really only A and B level
athletes who can rely on factory and team service. And the base of
skills that they learn as juniors tuning their own skis will allow them
to communicate most effectively with their service technician to
achieve superior results, should they progress to an elite level.
David “Pez” Peszek welcomes feedback at email@example.com.
This article may be freely used within the ski racing community with
author credit, but may not be modified without the author’s express
Every club and every level can benefit from a well-planned tuning program.