South Shore Snow
Pam Warman tuned skis for the men of the U.S. Ski Team for six years. “During this
time I learned the art of tuning and the pains that come with it,” she says. “Still today, it
feels like the profession found me and not the other way around.” Warman’s tuned skis
for slalom, GS, SG and downhill; powder skis, coaches’ skis (only after a lot of plead-
ing, she says), and instructors’ and patrollers’ skis. “The only skis I have some issues
handling are the ones for the parks,” says Warman, now found at South Shore Snow in
South Lake Tahoe, Calif. “I find their edges threatening for my tools and my hands.”
tainty that there is nothing I cannot accomplish on my bench. I am also a ski instructor
so I am well known in my community. Being the only female tech has helped with getting
people to know me as well, a very cool extra perk. Being popular goes a long way.
What aspect of your background do you feel has given you the ability to
create success as a small business?
Working for the U.S. Ski Team for sure! Knowledge of the skill is what gives me the cer-
You’re running a successful super-niche business within an already tiny in-
dustry — what’s your value proposition to your customers that is creating
After I tune their skis, I can assure them they will be perfect and the fastest they can
be. I also share my knowledge by doing clinics. I coach parents and coaches on how to
maintain their equipment. I believe in having the skier involved so they can troubleshoot
when on the road, but keeping me as their guru for guidance and a weekly touch-up.
What motivates you to face a wall of skis in need of tuning, day-in and day-
I love tools, I love my bench, I love that I know how to do it, I love when the customer
comes back and tells me he pass everyone on the flats; I love when the skis are so
sharp I scare the bejesus out of them. Motivation comes from loving what I do.
How much time do you spend on every pair of skis that comes through your
I have been tuning by hand for over a decade now, and in that scenario, usually an hour
per ski. With the help of machines, maybe 45 minutes.
How are you and your staff staying current?
Technology is a wonderful thing; everything is at the tip of our fingers this days. The ski
industry is pretty small and more like a family than an industry. They say you can get to
Rome by simply asking.
What do you think is the most exciting trend or technology in ski tuning?
Better files always attract me, but it wouldn’t be fair not to mention stone grinding tech-
If you could share anything about being a ski tuner, what would it be?
I believe the ability to relate with your “pilot” is crucial. You need to figure out how the client skis, and as we know everybody has quite different perception of they own abilities.
It is a tricky situation, but ultimately, “you will know them by their skis.”
SkiRacing.com MARCH 17, 2011 | 55