How to choose a shop for ski service?

Discussion in 'Tuning Techniques and Tool Information' started by puptwin, Jan 27, 2019.

  1. puptwin

    puptwin Booting up Skier

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    I am trying to find a ski shop for tuning services that is closer to my home. The one I currently use is more than an hour and a half away and it’s not in a direction I normally travel for any reason other than to go there. I trust this shop and struggle with the idea of letting anyone else touch my skis. I’ve come to appreciate that a properly tuned ski is crucial to performance and enjoyment on the hill.

    I have visited some of the ski shops local to my area and in most cases the service shop is out back and out of site. If I were allowed out back my hope would be to see a clean work area with machines that look fairly new and isn’t staffed by kids. I’m not saying that there aren’t talented younger people out there; it’s just that experience comes with age and ski tuning strikes me as a finely detailed operation.

    So, what should I be looking for if I’m allowed to look out back and what questions should I ask? Does the presence of an automated ski tuning machine make the ski tuning process less dependent on the skill of the operator?

    Thanks
     
  2. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    You should probably just stick with it. Use UPS.

    You'd think so, but this has not proven to be the case.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2019
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  3. Wilhelmson

    Wilhelmson Out on the slopes Skier

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    Trial and error. If you state your location people here might have recommendations. Ask the local high school ski coach. Drop them off at the the on mountain shop and they'll hold them overnight for you so you don' have to carry them to the car (great for parents with little kids).
     
  4. coskigirl

    coskigirl Making fresh tracks Skier

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    I agree with the above poster that says to post your location as we have a large population that may be able to assist you in narrowing down choices. For example, I have a great shop a mile from me but it's small and out of the way so many people don't even know it exists.
     
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  5. Wilhelmson

    Wilhelmson Out on the slopes Skier

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    I hate wasting my time driving around (except to the ski mountain of course) so I try to plan a bike, hike or fishing trip in the area. Or go out for lunch in the city.
     
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  6. raytseng

    raytseng Out on the slopes Skier

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    Unfortunately, you can't judge the service by level of automation you see; because it's different staff handling different duties. And you can't test with lower level work.

    Often the more complex work is handled by the veterans and the simpler jobs by the seasonal hires.
    Many a shop will turn over the $25 hotwax and edge jobs over to the seasonal hire; and you get a crappy work there.

    But the full tunes with base grinds and machine is only run by the head shop guy, and he's turning out good work.
     
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  7. François Pugh

    François Pugh Out on the slopes Skier

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    It's pretty much trial and error, and trial and error and trial and "Oh to heck with it; I'll do it myself". There are a few exceptions that do good work, but they are rare.
     
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  8. Talisman

    Talisman Getting off the lift Team Gathermeister

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    Words to live by for ski tunes. No driving around, done when they need to be ready and the tuner doesn't make the same mistake twice when they are done at home.
     
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  9. Thread Starter
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    puptwin

    puptwin Booting up Skier

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    I live in the southeast NH and travel RT 93 to the NH Whites and RT 89 into VT. If members know of great shops in NH up 93 and 89 I would love to hear about them.

    As for tuning skis myself I've considered that; but wondered how someone at home can do an accurate job when shops invest so much money on specialized equipment. I wax on my own and clean up burrs but that's about it. Even if I tooled up to do more with the edges, how much base work can be done at home? It seems that skis need to make it to a good shop at some point.

    I appreciated the replies to my post; I plan on visting shops and asking to see the service area. If the shop is a mess I'll move on. If it's clean and the equipment looks good I'll ask how they evaluate a ski to determine the type of tuning it needs. My thoughts are they should at least check it with a true barn and make a recommendation from there.

    Thank you
     
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  10. Wilhelmson

    Wilhelmson Out on the slopes Skier

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    At least you have plenty of options!

    I can't recommend a particular shop but the Mad River Coffee House in Waterville makes some great breakfast sandwiches and is right off the highway.
     
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  11. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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  12. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

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    Mind sharing?

    I'm in the same quandary as the OP. Between home and at the mountain, I've got a ton of convenient places to get a tune, but the convenient shops are not the ones I know I can trust.
     
  13. coskigirl

    coskigirl Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Snow-Hut in Lafayette. https://www.facebook.com/snowhut/ http://snow-hut.com/

    Timur is originally from Bosnia Herzegovina and I believe came here after being injured in the war. He has tuned for the US Ski Team and CU. He takes a lot of pride in his work and while I have a friend that had an issue because his dad had come into the shop and changed settings on his machine, he made it right with her and then posted on FB inviting anyone noticing an issue to come in and he'd fix it. He is extremely convenient for me because Tuesday - Saturday he's open until 8pm so I can drop/pick up after work or even after a Saturday ski day.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
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  14. Sibhusky

    Sibhusky Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Leaving aside places like SkiMD, if you want it done right, do it yourself. Not only is it ultimately better for your wallet, you'll also save time carting skis back and forth, plus the pick up drop off interaction time filling out forms or waiting on line, but you'll also learn what you like, KNOW 100% WHAT THE TUNER JUST DID TO YOU when the skis feel funny, and you'll be able to control exactly the areas where you increase the base bevel or detune or increase the size bevel. Because until you are doing it yourself, you are always at the mercy of the tuner, his/her INTERPRETATION of your instructions and needs, and whether you left them a six pack.
     
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  15. Thread Starter
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    puptwin

    puptwin Booting up Skier

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    Apart from grinding the base, can a person at home tune a ski and really get the edge angles correct so that it compares to a job that is done by an experienced shop with specialized machines? My gut feeling is that it's unlikely. If I'm mistaken and it can be achieved with practice and patience then I would be up for trying.
     
  16. raytseng

    raytseng Out on the slopes Skier

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    i think a home tuner can definitely outdue your basic machine tune; if the tuning is to fix even wear (e.g. racing on piste).

    But if you are tuning a ski with edge damage you running into low ,hardened and bent spots; this is where it is rife for a more uneven job, and you need to decide if you want to do more passes over the uneven parts or leave it, where a machine will turn out a more consistent job.
     
  17. KingGrump

    KingGrump Most Interesting Man In The World Team Gathermeister

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    For me the proof is in how the skis feels on snow. Other than a base grind, I like my hand tunes better than any other tunes I've skied recently. Machine or otherwise. My son feels the same with his skis.

    OTOH, the operative word in hand tune is "hand". People's hands differ. Some good, some bad. Some hopeless. How are your hands?
     
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  18. Sibhusky

    Sibhusky Making fresh tracks Skier

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    You're using guides. Do you really care if the edge is a 3° bevel or a 3.001° bevel if the bevel is the same the entire length of the ski? No. But you will care if the shop's dead-on 3° bevel is different than your 3° bevel using your guide because now your guide is not the same as theirs. You're rounding out the edge or not fully aligning with their edge. How much difference this makes will vary depending on the guides involved. Whereas, if you use the same guide to set the bevel as you do to maintain it, they'll match. So what is "correct"? Just because their machine might, and I mean MIGHT, be more exactly 3° than your guide, who cares? What you care is that the same guide is used for all the work on the edge.

    The more you tune, the better your job will be. You'll have more experience and the value of not worrying about what the heck they are doing at the shop once they see your back is such a huge plus in addition to saving the hassle of just getting there that short of having a live-in tuning guy that I watch while he works I can't think of a better alternative.
     
  19. Ken_R

    Ken_R Living the Dream Skier

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    A lot of Ski Shops cater more to the rental market at the base or close to ski areas/resorts, I generally avoid those.

    Here in Colorado there are a few good ski tuning shops that cater to racers and the enthusiast market. Those are the best. They get it.

    (props to A Racer's Edge in Breck, Venture Sports in Avon and Denver Sports Lab in Golden, all three have done a great job with my skis, oh, and Ski & Boot lab in Highlands Ranch, Co as well, small one man shop but owner did a great job on one of my skis)
     
  20. Wilhelmson

    Wilhelmson Out on the slopes Skier

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    Well op is looking for a shop, not DIY. Interesting that the only recommendation so far has been skiMD. Would think there are some competent race shops somewhere between Boston/Franconia/Lebanon
     

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