Snow is fine, but still look at gear |

Snow is fine, but still look at gear

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

Sam Bauman

No need to discuss the snowpack, it’s fine and going to be even better. Squaw reports 5 feet of fresh powder, Heavenly about the same and Kirkwood even more, thanks to its unique weather pattern. It’s the kind of snow that puts snowsporters into a happy daze. Problem is we tend to forget about out gear when the snow is so fine.

Experience shows that the base material for skis and snowboards, Ptex, is fine for slipping along. But many tend to take it for granted and not treat it for wear and tear. And that’s important because Ptex can dry out, become brittle. And simple rub on wax won’t do the trick. The means it’s hot wax time. Ski resorts often offer a hot wax job for $5. This means they run the skis or boards over a spinning wax-coated wheel. The heat comes from friction, but the wax stays on the surface.

A real hot wax job requires a couple of steps. First is to dewax the surface of old. You can use a dewaxing solution, or you can scrape the old wax off with a metal straight edge. A combination is probably best. Scrape, then use the dewaxer.

Next step is to tune the edges. You can do this with a diamond board, finished off with a Colorado soft stone. The diamond board will leave some small burrs; the softstone takes those off.

And you might want to check the flatness of the base. Take a true edge and run it down the ski, watching for high edges of high base. High edges make for railroad skis, those hard to turn. High base make for skittish skis, too easy to turn.

If you discover either condition, best take the gear to a ski shop for flattening out.

Next step is melting hot wax onto the base, either using an old iron and dribbling it along the length, or a pro iron which does it all. In either case you want to make sure you cover the entire surface with melted wax. Then take the gear outside and let the wax harden.

Now clamp the cold skis or board down and with a true edge, metal or plastic, scrape the wax off the base. No, you’re not wasting time. Some wax will remain lodged in pores of the Ptex, which means those tiny pits won’t be creating vacuums and slowing you down. And the wax will keep the Ptex healthy.

A final touch is to take something like Scotchbrite and run it along the bases, from to read. This eliminates those pesky Ptex hairs, which slow you down.

The point of all this is to make skis and boards easier to turn, not to just go faster, although that will happen.

– Northstar gives teens an opportunity to improve freestyle skills in two-day freestyle clinics Jan. 10-11 and again Feb. 28-29. Clinics will teach participants how to do jumps, rails, fun boxes, halfpipes and other freestyle features in an easy learning environment.

These all-inclusive clinics are offered to intermediate through expert skiers and snowboarders ages 13-18. Helmets are mandatory.

Clinics include four hours of instruction each day, a two-day lift ticket, daily video analysis, lunch, to ski/ride with a pro athlete, goodie bag including event T-shirt, overnight ski/board check and a pizza dinner.

The cost of the clinic is $149 for day ticket holders and $109 for season pass holders. All classes will retain a 5 to 1 student-to-instructor ratio and use a personalized strategy for improvement.

Call (530) 562-2470.

– Deadline is near to purchase two mountains for the price of one with Sierra and Northstar’s Double Whammy Season Pass. The current pass prices, beginning as low as $299, will increase on Jan. 5.

The $299 Super Value Season Pass will increase to $349. This pass allows purchasers to ski/ride any day excluding blackout dates at Sierra-at-Tahoe and Sunday through Friday excluding blackout dates at Northstar-at-Tahoe.

The unlimited season pass, valid any day with no restrictions at both resorts, will increase from $649 to $719 for adults. A limited season pass, valid any day at Sierra and any day excluding blackout dates at Northstar, will increase to $499 for adults.

Child season pass prices will also increase with the limited pass, now $99, allows children to ski/ride any day at Sierra and any day excluding blackout dates at Northstar. The unlimited season pass valid any day of the season at both resorts is now priced at $119.

The blackout dates for 2003/04 are through Jan. 3, Jan. 17-18, and Feb. 14-15.

– All jibbers are invited to attend the Elevation Rail Jam, a free rail contest that will be held in The Alley terrain park at Sierra-at-Tahoe Saturday.

The competition is open to competitors of all ages. Registration begins at the Elevation tent in the base area at 8 a.m. The Alley terrain park will open for practice at 8:30 a.m. and the competition begins at 11 a.m. An award ceremony will take place following the event at approximately 3:30 p.m.

Prizes for the event include snowboards and gear and the event will be judged by pro snowboarder Chris Englesman. The course will include a challenging rail sequence. Points will be awarded for technique and style. A lift ticket is required.

Call (530) 659-7453.

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor. Contact him at or 881-1236.