The Re-Grind Guide
It’s the middle of the racing season. Right now,
your skis most likely look like this, or worse:
At left is a look at the same thing down the length of the
ski. Bear in mind that this ski was prepared correctly at
the start of the season. If yours was not, it’s most likely in
worse shape. You can clearly see the heavily chewed-up
area next to the edge.
The fix? Go get your skis re-ground!
Here, Graham Lonetto of Edgewise Elite Ski Service of
Stowe shows what it really means to re-grind your skis:
Note the gray depressed area that extends in-
wards from the base edge, nearly one centimeter
in places. It will be worse under the foot (because
of more pressure) and barely noticeable at the tips
and tails. Despite the superb ski technology and
base material engineering of which we are bene-
factors, the hard plastic base wears unevenly and
will affect our performance, slowly but surely. If you
run your fingernail across the base under the foot,
you will most likely feel it sink near the edge and
then catch as it rises up to meet the base edge.
This is not helping you to ski well — your skis are
like now like canoe bottoms with rails on the side.
Some other signs that you need a re-grind:
you don’t seem to have the same amount of edge grip
that you had at the start of the season
your coach is adding strips of tape between your boot
your skis feel hooky or grabby on styrofoam snow (dry
you feel like you have some mild stretching on the in-
side of the knee after skiing, especially skiing slalom or
Why is this happening? Some science: there’s a very
small layer of water on everything — even when it’s mi-
nus-40-Celsius snow, it still exists. As snow gets warmer
and/or humidity increases, this microscopic layer of water
thickens. Add in the friction of the skis over the snow (this
is where your mass, skill and the discipline come in to fac-
tor), and you will have more water to deal with as a result
of friction. The ideal grind has just the right amount of void
area and depth to move that water, but not so much that
it creates “traction” (imagine a snow tire).
As you can imagine, the “perfect” grind can be different
from run to run, day to day, which is why we try to select something that is generally good for your region, skill,
mass and discipline. In effect, there is no “perfect” grind
— there are too many other variables.