How to Sharpen Ski Edges

Your ski edges are super important when you are on the mountain. They help you maintain control and play a critical role in turning and slowing down. And your edges will only do their job if you keep them sharp and ready for action. 

My name is Christine, and I’m a skiing fanatic. I like to keep all of my equipment in the best condition possible to take advantage of every day in the snow and always try to keep my edges sharp. 

This post will show you how to sharpen ski edges. My goal is to help you keep your skis ready for action all season long. Learning simple maintenance tasks can help you become a better skier and improve the performance and longevity of your skis. 

Let’s jump in. 

The Importance of Sharp Edges

I like to think of ski’ edges as similar to the edge of a kitchen knife. When that knife is sharp, it will cut through just about anything and help you create all your favorite culinary creations with ease. 

But when it starts to get dull, you will struggle to make clean cuts, and you might even crush a tomato or two. The knife will still technically work, but it won’t be anywhere near its peak performance until it gets sharpened again. 

Ski edges don’t cut vegetables, but they do cut into the snow. That is their primary purpose with skiing in mind. Edges dig into the snow you ski on to give you control and power. Every time you turn or slow down, your edges make that possible. 

While you can still ski with dull edges, you aren’t going to get anywhere near the same performance levels as when they are sharp. That’s why it’s essential to know how to keep your edges sharp at all times. 

How to Sharpen Ski Edges

You don’t need to be a professional ski tech to sharpen your edges, thanks to a number of tools that are now available to help you get the job done at home. It can take a little skill and patience, but it’s pretty easy to figure out. 

Here are the materials you’ll need to sharpen your ski edges: 

  • Working surface such as a bench, table, or counter
  • Clamps or vices
  • Rubber bands
  • File guide (bevel guide)
  • Metal file
  • Buffing stone  

Here are the steps to sharpening ski edges: 

  1. Secure your skis on the working surface. You want to make sure they are stable and secure because you’ll be placing pressure on them when you sharpen the edges.
  1. Use the rubber bands to tie back your ski brakes. Attach one end of the band to a side of the brake and then wrap it around over the top and attach it to the other side. 
  1. Place your file into the file guide. Using a guide is highly recommended because it allows you to get the exact edge angle to match the manufacturer’s specifications.
  1. Clean the skis with a damp towel or rag to remove any grime or debris. Let dry.
  1. Begin to sharpen your ski edges by using even pressure and similar strokes along the entire length of your skis. Take your time to make sure that you get even sharpening all over the edges.
  1. Repeat this process several times to get the entire edge sharpened. I typically go over the edge length three to five times. If you have sections with rust or damage, it might take even more passes to smooth and sharpen out. 
  1. Take out the rough file and place the buffing file into the file guide. Repeat step 5 above to buff out any remaining rough patches. 
  1. Wipe off the skis after sharpening them with a damp towel or rag to remove tiny bits of metal and other shavings that can pop up after you sharpen them.
  1. Go ski!

Tips and Suggestions 

The method above is how I usually sharpen my skis, but it’s not the only method out there. Some people still like to use the old-school way of setting the file angle on a vice and sharpening the edges like they do at the ski shop. 

If you have the skills and tools to sharpen your edges this way, go for it. But I think using a file guide is just as effective and a lot easier to accomplish on your own. 

I typically take my skis into the shop for a complete tuneup after the season is over. That way, my skis are ready for action before the next season starts, and I avoid the preseason rush. Paying to have your skis sharpened is always an option. 

You can get a pocket sharpener to keep in your car or jacket pocket. This can help you put a sharp edge on your skis every time you head out to the mountains. These sharpeners aren’t as effective as a more heavy-duty file, but they are handy. 

Also Read: Best Ski Edge Sharpener

If you are tuning up your skis on your own, be sure to wax your skis AFTER you have sharpened the edges. If you sharpen your edges after waxing them, there’s a good chance you will ruin the work you just completed. 

Final Thoughts

Sharpening ski edges is a pretty straightforward maintenance task that you should be able to accomplish on your own. You only need a few tools to do the job at home, and there’s no real risk in giving it a try. 

Whether you sharpen your own edges or take your skis into the shop, it’s important always to keep them sharp so you can ski to the best of your abilities.

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