Do skis get blunt? - Marc's Blog

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2024-07-08 05:30:07

Last winter, I rode a ski lift alongside a guy who claimed to be a retired Olympic ski tuner. Ski tuning, he said, was all a scam. If you keep your skis dry between days out they’ll stay sharp for their entire lifetime. Don’t get him started on waxing. His specific claim was that skis get blunt from corrosion, and all you have to do is keep them dry.

That didn’t seem right. In fact, it sounded like complete bullshit. Snow and ice are quite abrasive stuff, and even hard steel gets abraded after a while. It’s not unusual for a ski day to include 30km or more of sliding the edges on ice crystals, and so it’s hard to believe that abrasion doesn’t happen.

Turns out it does. Because, luckily, I do keep my skis dry. And I own a very impressive inspection microscope (OK, it’s a $30 one off Amazon, but whatever).

The ideal ski edge is a metal strip with a ~88° angle between the base and the sidewall of the ski. Here, you can see the base edge, and a “corner” on the edge. I’m not a metallurgist, but this sure looks like abrasion damage to me. Corrosion damage is more pitted, more rounded, and a lot more uneven.

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