Edge angles and ski shop techs

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Harris
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Edge angles and ski shop techs

Post by Harris » Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:50 pm

Recently I bought a pair of used Atomic Vantage X 80 CTI's to convert to a frontside tele ski. They were in good condition, but wherever they had been stored was extreme enough to oxidize the wax on the bases; luckily whoever owned them had post season waxed the bases. Regardless I decided to take them to the shop for a base grind and 3D structuring for wet snow. Leaving them at the shop, I explicitly asked for no edge bevel and a zero degree side bevel.

Today beveling edges is all the rage. Most skis come from factory with at least a 1 degree base edge bevel and a .5 to 3 degree side edge bevel. Now I'm going to stick it out there here and suggest that for recreational skiers, including experts, which I think I am in spades, do not need or want edge bevel. I will go a step farther a suggest that beveling any sloppy flexing "all mountain" ski is absurd; they just aren't made for hard arcing like dedicated, stiff front-side ripper. Why my opinion? Arcing rail turns is great. True carve turns that leave perfect rail tracks is great. But in most recreational circumstances I mainly want to bleed speed using my turns. My go to turn is a brushed carve, meaning an edged turn, but not a thigh sapper race arc that when put into extreme angle holds the rail and accelerates the turn finish. Increasing base edge angle is meant for race angle hold. Race angle hold when mixed with brush carving causes thigh sapping ski chatter at the finish of the turn. Why would anyone want that? Further, again, in my opinion edge bevel works against a telemarker in thee ways. 1) We need easier tip activation than can be accomplished on alpine skis. On alpines I load the inside of the cuff and drill that tip into the snow to activate a new turn. We can't do that on tele. So by increasing base edge bevel we take away our ability to let a relatively unweighted tip do its thing before we are enough into the edge change to get significant ski angle. It is a subtle point, but a flat edge bevel is going to activate with more minimal input, earlier, and less tip vagueness at turn initiation as result. 2) If very few recreational alpine skiers use enough turning ski angle to warrant a base edge bevel, there are only but the top telemark racers asking so much of their skis. I ski both alpine and tele, used to race tele and can state as fact that the norm tele turn is at best more brushed than the turn I apply on my alpines. That's not to say the tele turn is less functional, in fact it has some advantages but its dynamics are different. 3) A lot of us use an alpine turn on our tele, when tired, or when conditions are rodeo, or whatever. Coupled with fat boards, a off-flat base, overly acute edge bevel really likes to chatter the ski at the finish of the turn while p-turning tele gear. Like this fact or not, no-one can get the power edge out of tele gear like one can easy commission of alpine gear. We can put on a good show, but...

So the young kid ski tech guy calls me up and tells me he can't put a flat base bevel on my skis, and basically tells me I'm stupid for asking. I tell him I telemark and have specific reason to request as much. He scoffs, tells me standard telemark base bevel is 1 degree. Well, I guess since having been plying this trade way before he was a twinkle in his parent's eye, I might just not know his wisdom. Perhaps... And he tells me it can't be done. Now he not only is telling me I'm stupid for asking, but thinks I'm stupid enough to not understand how a base grinder works. I offer that perhaps his CNC 3D structuring machine can't do it, but I damn sure know that when he does the basic base grind my base edge angle will in fact be flat. And on that I explicitly instruct him not to do the 3D grind. My god! It was like pulling teeth to get this clown to do what I know I want, his industry spiel so worked in like gospel. And you know what? What he didn't know is that I have to the tools to do a multitude of base and side edge angle shaping, and if I want it, I'd prefer to do it myself. Sigh...

You know, there is a trend I'm seeing theses days; it has become so part of our cultural norm to outsource any expertise on anything that people are seriously leaving themselves open to be suckered on those called "pros" who in fact also lack expert level thought on matters but claim to have knowledge that they actually haven't invested enough thought into to realistically hold the credentials. I mean people today think even knowing how to cook is beneath them, and so they levant to take out experts that achieve a five minute flavoring via a half-a-canister of salt. And a ski shop tells you that they will tune and wax your ski to amazing standards, and people bite. I think the tech believes it, even though they are using some crap non-flouro general condition wax that will wear off in a few runs. Even-though armed with a good scraper, flat iron, couple of brushes, fifteen minutes and a range of high-flouro you can get a lot better, more lasting results, and for the cost of that pro-wax, when done as frequently as a routine skier requires, you can have bought the equipment required by one mid-season. But everything today is a marketing pitch that demands you get sold to give a shit less. At your expense.
Last edited by Harris on Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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fisheater
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Re: Edge angles and ski shop techs

Post by fisheater » Sat Mar 16, 2019 8:36 pm

Glad they ticked you off Harris, I've been wondering how you were doing. Hope all is well, how is the skiing in your parts this season? FWIW I really have a hard time with ski shop techs, they are experts after two years and guys like you and me are idiots. I manage a lot of tradesman, however there are no early twentysomething experts on my construction sites. I guess ski shops only hire Jr. Einsteins.

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Re: Edge angles and ski shop techs

Post by Harris » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:05 pm

fisheater wrote:Glad they ticked you off Harris, I've been wondering how you were doing. Hope all is well, how is the skiing in your parts this season? FWIW I really have a hard time with ski shop techs, they are experts after two years and guys like you and me are idiots. I manage a lot of tradesman, however there are no early twentysomething experts on my construction sites. I guess ski shops only hire Jr. Einsteins.
Bravo! You know what I'm talking about. Sigh... I'm an aircraft mechanic. 29 years working for a major. There isn't a single part on our planes I haven't made bloody, physical love with. But the one thing I know is that thinking I know everything could kill a lot of people. We mechanics, those of us that tackle the tough jobs, bounce our thoughts off of the group when trouble-shooting. My skill skill set isn't knowing; my skill set is questioning.

On otherwise, it has been a good season up here. Wasn't expected because it was supposed to be an El Nino, but it turned out pretty good. Heard it was something about a big tropical storm in the Indian Ocean that mitigated it. I'll take it either way. How about you?

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Re: Edge angles and ski shop techs

Post by Harris » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:30 pm

You know what's funny, or perhaps even sad, is that over the years I'm learned how to massage the egos of over-confident people. It is like being a sin eater. But in the end I got him to do what I wanted, and I'm very happy with the result. For anyone interested, try out a 0 degree base bevel. You might just really like it.

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Re: Edge angles and ski shop techs

Post by fisheater » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:39 pm

Rough season here, I had a couple of weeks of single digits to below zero with no snow. Then it seemed like snow storms on Monday, cold all week on my site with no power, then rain on Saturday. There was good snow for a while a couple hours north, but it seemed like every time it was good, I couldn't get away. What I do know is I have two brand new pairs of skis this year that have not been skied. My trail skis are have more gouges, and nicked up edges than they did in the last three seasons of use.
I also managed to dislocate a couple of ribs, and also caught a tip and shoved the butt of a pole into my face. I split open the skin at my cheek bone and ripped my ear open. I guess I finally learned my lesson. Boilerplate with retilled granular is no place for light weight back country touring skis and ankle high leathers even if your only skiing 500 feet of vertical in Michigan. And people say an old dog can't learn new tricks. Hoping for a big March dump for one last hurrah. It isn't unusual around here. This year it will propably come on Monday!

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Re: Edge angles and ski shop techs

Post by Harris » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:42 pm

It is kinda like what I've experienced with motorcycles. One of the first things many folks do after buying a crotch rocket is changing the fuel mapping/or jets and adding a louder pipe like it is a race bike. And everywhere will sell that mod. But I road raced for a number of years. Was pretty involved in it. Won many trophies. My bike I modded to the nth degree. Full engine and suspension work. The thing was a considerable contender at every track; if I didn't win it was all me. But, when I quit racing and converted it back to street it was a piece of crap. Race bikes are built for high end and not midrange. They balk and dog at street speeds. It was like a crippled pup off the track. Setting a bike up for race when used on the street is a total misfire. Literally. Same thing with skis.
Last edited by Harris on Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Edge angles and ski shop techs

Post by Harris » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:44 pm

fisheater wrote:Rough season here, I had a couple of weeks of single digits to below zero with no snow. Then it seemed like snow storms on Monday, cold all week on my site with no power, then rain on Saturday. There was good snow for a while a couple hours north, but it seemed like every time it was good, I couldn't get away. What I do know is I have two brand new pairs of skis this year that have not been skied. My trail skis are have more gouges, and nicked up edges than they did in the last three seasons of use.
I also managed to dislocate a couple of ribs, and also caught a tip and shoved the butt of a pole into my face. I split open the skin at my cheek bone and ripped my ear open. I guess I finally learned my lesson. Boilerplate with retilled granular is no place for light weight back country touring skis and ankle high leathers even if your only skiing 500 feet of vertical in Michigan. And people say an old dog can't learn new tricks. Hoping for a big March dump for one last hurrah. It isn't unusual around here. This year it will propably come on Monday!
Oh damn! Boiler plate is rough on any gear, especially b/c tele. Hopefully next year we'll get a La Nina. The bitch really needs to come back to town.

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Re: Edge angles and ski shop techs

Post by Harris » Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:01 pm

fisheater wrote:Rough season here, I had a couple of weeks of single digits to below zero with no snow. Then it seemed like snow storms on Monday, cold all week on my site with no power, then rain on Saturday. There was good snow for a while a couple hours north, but it seemed like every time it was good, I couldn't get away. What I do know is I have two brand new pairs of skis this year that have not been skied. My trail skis are have more gouges, and nicked up edges than they did in the last three seasons of use.
I also managed to dislocate a couple of ribs, and also caught a tip and shoved the butt of a pole into my face. I split open the skin at my cheek bone and ripped my ear open. I guess I finally learned my lesson. Boilerplate with retilled granular is no place for light weight back country touring skis and ankle high leathers even if your only skiing 500 feet of vertical in Michigan. And people say an old dog can't learn new tricks. Hoping for a big March dump for one last hurrah. It isn't unusual around here. This year it will propably come on Monday!
We also had rain and then freeze happen out here in Seattle areas. But that was the godsend because otherwise we had so few storms that it would've been a short season. We did however get a great dumping in both late Feb and early March, and now with things warming up it is providing pretty good afternoon skiing. The last two days were bluebird. Yesterday I was skiing in a tee shirt. I love that. One thing I miss about Colorado skiing is the blue-bird corn harvesting days. Here it is less like a slurpie and more like a ski sucking smoothie, but I'll take it!

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Re: Edge angles and ski shop techs

Post by Rodbelan » Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:00 am

I agree Harris with your rant... I've had similar problems with shop tech 10 years ago. I pulled out a 3 pin binding and went to the shop for a new mont; man the binding mounts were offset (length wise) by 1/8 or 1/4 "... The guy was bullshitting, saying that it was normal, that his pencil tip gives a fair amount of approximation... Man what a stupido! These were my beloved Glitt (they now have 3 sets of holes). Another time, maybe a year or two before, a guy mounted a pair of my XC skis... offset (width side); the guy was arguing that his template springs were responsible but it had no consequence on skiing itself. Bull! The guys a tech; that's his job! They fortunately reimbursed me. Since that time, I do ALL the work by myself: base care, edge care, binding mount, wax job, repair... I went back to the shops and warmly thank them! Now I am independent and developed the know-how to take care of my skis in a much better way than the shops will ever do. PLUS, IT IS VERY EASY!

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Re: Edge angles and ski shop techs

Post by Harris » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:51 pm

Rodbelan wrote:Now I am independent and developed the know-how to take care of my skis in a much better way than the shops will ever do. PLUS, IT IS VERY EASY!
Totally agree! The only thing I let a ski shop do to my skis is a base grind, and that is only because I don't have the machine to do it myself. Out here West, because our snow is so wet, and our normal temps so warm, having a good, course base grind and the application of a quality wax is pretty critical. Good wax (i.e. Swix HF) is really expensive, so you want to crayon apply it and iron it in, rather than drip excessive on and scape off. If your base is cupped, it is a bitch trying to iron it, and you'll get really bad suction issues when in the 35 degree plus temps, so having a flat, course base is key, which is the only reason I take any ski in to have it ground and course structured. As far as waxing and edge work, I'd never pay anyone to glop shit, cheap wax on and charge me a penny for the pleasure, and the edges can be dressed to appropriate satisfaction in mere minutes with a file and gummy.

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