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Snowboard Tuning 101


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Sorry if the subject title sounds like I am going to teach something, I'm not.

Does anyone have information on a tuning class in California or elsewhere?

From what I've seen the only way to learn this craft is to be lucky enough to apprentice to one of the few who actually know what they are doing (not just believe they know what they are doing).

The post from Skidoc prompted this question. His post made me realize that the work I have been doing on my snowboard has been hurting and not helping. I have those grayish areas on some of my favorite boards! I really don't want to ruin my boards, but unless I can get myself to an intensive class, there might be no way for me to learn to do it. Anyone?????

I sorely would like to do this myself and not have to trust the care of my beloved boards to someone else.

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Guest AlpentalRider

There are some very good tuning guides online which discuss in detail how to tune a board properly. If your looking for hands-on training, I know that some of the ski/snowboard shops do classes every now and then, as well as the resorts.

A less formal way to do it as well is to get a rapport going with a shop which does a great job and ask the tech to teach you after hours or when he has free time. I've found that guys are more then willing to show you the ropes once they get to know you.

I'm sure others on this board will be able to give you much better specifics in regards to structured classes.

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Guest Randy S.

If you take Alpental's suggestion, a six-pack is a great way to endear yourself to the shop guys. If you are up in Tahoe, I can show you some stuff. I also have a beater board to mess around with. Its an old POS and it doesn't matter what we do to it.

I know a guy in Modesto who could probably teach you some stuff. He sometimes works in a shop and does a nicer job than me in prepping his boards (I'm too lazy). Email me and I'll pass along his info (I don't think he's on Bomber very often, even though he rides Alpine and races with us on weekends). Beer would definitely be a good bribe for him. Just bring a lot because he'll drink all of it. His name is Scott Ferrell. He's big into slalom skateboarding. Merced is kind of near Modesto, right?

A couple of sites have good info too, but I agree with you that its hard to learn from reading stuff. It works much better if you can actually try it out and get the feel while someone is there helping you. I really only learned because I had to tune my skis every day after practice in high school.

Oh, and don't let it get too complicated. Tuning is definitely a high art, but you can do an awful lot with just a few tools and a bit of time. Lots of folks go way overboard. Then again, I love my rotobrushes - but who really needs one.

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Are you racing at a serious level? If so then an expert tune is important...if you are like me and into riding for the fun at an intermediate/advanced (me not really advanced but I look it to the freestylers I hang with) then you really only need a good edge job every 5-10 days and deburring daily. Modern tools make edges a breeze. Wax for the condition...that is of course given that you get a good base structure once or twice during the season. I'm of the lazy variety too though I love to actually do the tuning work gathering the motivation to do it is often lagging...I used to do tunes for beer (a good motivator) at pre-snowtrip parties.

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Originally posted by Gecko

Are you racing at a serious level? If so then an expert tune is important...

I'm not so sure about this. Logic would say that a fast rider takes the best care of his/her equipment. But, you would be VERY surprised to learn who really takes care of their board and who doesn't at the highest level in the sport.....

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Guest dragon fly jones


The new stuff from small builders is getting close to the race room ski products. The materials are readily available and can be had for a price.

I have some customs that need that TLC, in fact with the team we are currently working on a hot box for skis and boards and now granted this is for racers who are counting split seconds it is worth our while.

A good tune, as you know, starts now with repeated waxing and prep work - granted most riders will not do as they are not expecting top shelf performance from their boards. This not to suggest laziness or anything else. It's like driving a hipro car, when it's tuned it drives better and increases driver enjoyment. Just like it would on a finely tuned and waxed board, it is lots of work but it is well worth it.

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Yea Chuck, I hear what you're saying.....

At the same time (and this is where my skier past comes out), snowboard races aren't won in the same manner that ski races are. SBers win by railing each gate and stayin on their feet.

Compare the Top Ten spread at any FIS GS and snowboard GS race. It's almost embarasssing.....

Don't get me wrong....I'm all about raising the competition and have all sorts of harsh feelings about parallel events, but perhaps we'll save that one for a beer sometime.....

I nominate Chuck to lead the tune clinic....


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Originally posted by Kent

I'm not so sure about this. Logic would say that a fast rider takes the best care of his/her equipment. But, you would be VERY surprised to learn who really takes care of their board and who doesn't at the highest level in the sport.....

I didn't say paying for an expert tune I was refering to keeping your board(s) in a high state of tune (like a racing motorcycle compared to a streetbike...I'm more of a streetbike type, change the oil, make sure the tires have the right pressure , brakes work etc. No need for barely streetlegal bike or for that matter ready for the SL/GS state of tune on my board. The fact that I work on my own bike and boards doesn't mean I need to tune either for the track/racecourse on a daily basis even if I can.

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Geck -

I'm not picking on you buddy (has this place gotten so defensive lately?)

I'm just stating that I'm quite aware of many National Champs/World Cupers that simply do not do what you mentioned above....

I'm certainly not condoning good board maintenance....but when it comes to winning a race, a good night's sleep & focus will easily trump a 60 minute waxing session. Then again, many guys scrap their board prior to a race for mental stimulation and focus, not necesarrily in an attempt to gain a quantifiable edge.

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Guest skidoc

It's great to see some interest in the proper tuning of your rides.

All the tuning classes in the world are going to do you no good unless you know your board has a variable free finish. Then you know you are tuning something that is correct in the first place.

If you are tuning something that has improper base bevels or a burned base, it's still going to be that way when your finished.

Many of you seem to be confusing a proper tune with a high end tune.

Guess what? They're both the same thing! If those of you think that a proper tune does not matter, how do you know FOR SURE that you have ever ridden one in the first place? Knowing the state of tune from the factory is not so great, you may get started off on the wrong foot in the first place.

It's possible to adapt your technique to what the board needs to get it to function for you.

Wouldn't it be great if it was the other way around? The board would actually adapt to what YOU WANT it to do!

Just because some of us are out there measuring angles and checking for proper edge and base tolerances, does not a high end tune make.

It's all about improving your quality of life out their on your ride!

If it's all true and guaranteed to increase your enjoyment and overall performance, well, who doesn't want to sign up for that.

I'm sure there is a plethora of you out there who have great rides, unfortunately some of you have not yet found out just how great they can be.

Waxing is always important, but is not ultimately responsible for creating the performance envelope your board is capable of. Good performance starts with a great base finish and proper edge angles. Once you know these parameters are intact, maintenance becomes a breeze.

I apologize for being so far away and that good service is obviously so elusive. But, if you’re into it, don't let a shipping fee stand in the way of doing the right thing. My service needs to occur only once a year and you do the maintenance and waxing yourself.

If you think my service sucks, I'll be happy to refund all of your money including the shipping cost.

How can you lose?


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