tools, hand-held motorized disc edger, and the Wintersteiger Microjet automated disc edger. In some
cases, athletes cannot differentiate the prep from one or the other. This season we are taking a hard
look at the new infrared waxer from Montana Sport.
If you could share anything about being a ski tuner, what would it be?
Ski preparation is not rocket science; nor is it magic. It’s a simple process that’s based on continuity
and repetition. My favorite story that reinforces this point is about a J1 from the Far West who ended
up winning the national J1 super G championship at Mammoth a few years ago. I asked him what he
had used for wax to help win that race. He told me that he used the same wax that he ran every day
that season, Holmenkol Beta. I was thinking that he was going to explain some exotic blend that he had
precisely crafted just for Mammoth. It hits home the importance of continuity and repetition.
Curtis Bacca is the wax technician behind two Olympic gold medals won by snowboarder Seth Wescott,
at the Vancouver 2010 Games and Torino 2006 Games. He’s also worked at four Olympic Winter
Games (including Albertville 1992 and Lillehammer 1994) and spent 10 years servicing the equipment
for the U.S. Ski Team and five for the U.S. Snowboard Team. Among the other winning athletes for
whom Bacca has prepped gear are Daron Rahlves, Nate Holland, Lindsey Jacobellis, Reggie Crist and
What aspect of your background do you feel has given you the ability to create success
as a small business?
I treat every customer with respect, like one of my World Cup skiers, regardless of their ability. And I
customize the tune to their specific needs.
You’re running a successful super-niche business within an already tiny industry — what’s
your value proposition to your customers that is creating success?
We really do customize the tune for each customer and actually guarantee each tune. We know all the
customers like they are our specific athletes. Also, I do a ton of mail-order stone grinds and preps for
ski racers and snowboarders from around the globe.
What motivates you to face a wall of skis in need of tuning, day-in and day-out?
I view it like a competition, to efficiently dial the skis in and make them better than any shop around.
How much time do you spend on every pair of skis that comes through your shop?
Anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of days, depending on what needs to be done.
JP BARALO; TOMAS KRAUS/DAN FREEMAN
Curtis Bacca celebrates X Games
medals with Zach and Reggie Crist.
Athletes such as
Tomas Kraus (left)
lean on Bacca for