BACKSHOP BBQ Season
In Ski Racing’s recent Grind Guide, we took an in-depth look at stone grinding, including various structures and how they work. Now we can examine how to maintain those structures for
the best performance and consistency.
Our technique, the snow conditions, the snow preparation chemicals, and our speed all conspire to create rapid wear on ski bases. We see this wear mostly under the plate/binding zone,
and it’s greatest on tech skis, where our technique is focused on placing pressure and arc in a
short duration of time in the fall line.
While this is not a replacement for necessary stone grinding, we can keep a good grind lasting longer through the strategic use of heavy steel brushes (a.k.a. BBQ brushes), abrasive
Scotchbrite, sandpaper, and super-sharp scrapers. I like to think of this process as a structure
enhancer — it does not re-structure your skis, but rather makes the existing structure more pronounced, often a good thing in warmer snow. It also helps to open up more micro-level pores
in the base to accept and hold more wax, which can often make even a cold snow ski faster in
its element. Additionally, proper use of a BBQ brush can help to remove base burn, too. This
should be a weapon in your ski maintenance arsenal, but far too many people are afraid of using it for fear of damaging their skis.
HOW USING VARIOUS HEAVY STEEL
BRUSHES AND ABRASIVES CAN HELP TO
MAINTAIN YOUR SKI’S GRIND BY DAVE PESZEK
Let’s start by looking at the symptoms that we should be looking for:
base burn: shows itself as light gray or white, next to the edges
uneven base wear: because we spend more time skiing on the sides of skis,
the outer sections of the base wear faster than the middle, leaving a “W” shape
as you look across the ski with a true bar.
grind wearing away
base sealed due to overheating
When these symptoms are present, it’s time to do some base maintenance.
Here we can see a slalom ski with extensive burn next to the inserts. Also,
checking it with a true bar reveals that it’s no longer flat across the base.