Why You Need to Tune Your Skis or Snowboard

In our shops, we regularly get asked questions around tuning and waxing like, Do I need to wax my skis? When does my snowboard a tune? And each answer, well, varies. 

There is no perfect answer that can apply to every scenario. In this article, we share our tuning wisdom and provide some guidance to make the answer to When do I need to tune my skis? a little bit of an easier question to answer.

For the purpose of this article, we will stick with “skis” for both skis and snowboards. Don’t worry, snowboarders – all of the topics discussed will apply to you as well!

What is ski tuning?

Ski tuning is a critical part of maintaining your skis and to ensure their performance. It includes a basic wax, edge sharpening and depending on the shop, may also include a base grind. 

We recommend getting a complete tune every 20 days or so of riding, however this timeline can vary depending on what type or skier you are. For example, if you’re an aggressive skier that tackles tough terrain or park, you may be getting tunes more often than someone who sticks to groomers.

If you’re still not sure if your skis are in need of a tune, do a quick assessment. Do the edges seem dull? Is turning slightly more difficult? It may be time to bring your skis in for a tune. 

The most critical time to take your skis in for a tune is at the end of the season. End-of-season tunes are critical in that they can prevent rusting during the off-season, and waxing will keep the base sealed. And besides, it’s nice knowing that your skis are ready to go come the start of the new season (just make sure to rewax!).

Do I need to get my skis waxed between tunes?

Between each complete tune, it’s important to consistently get your skis waxed. A good way to think of it is to tune regularly and wax frequently. Rather than waiting for each tune to get your skis waxed, take them in more often to keep them performing throughout the season, and to keep your ski bases protected.

Why is waxing my skis important?

To start, there are two main reasons why waxing is a crucial part of owning skis:

  1. It’s all about speed! Wax serves as a “water-repellant”. Snow is made of water. When the waxed bottom of your skis meet snow, the wax repels, sending you down the slope even faster. Easy enough, right?
  2. Equipment longevity. Wax isn’t going to stop a rock from gouging out a chunk or your base, but it does promote the longevity of your skis. Skis are an investment, so it’s important to maintain them as such. Wax seals ski bases, similar to how moisturizer protects our skin, and prevents delamination.

How often do my skis need to be waxed?

It depends who you ask! If you were to ask a professional skier, they may be waxing their skis after every single run. Ask someone who skis here and there, they may only wax their skis a couple times a season. 

For some insight, it’s time to wax or tune your skis…

  • If you see a chalky residue on your bases
  • When the snow starts to feel sticky while you’re skiing
  • When you’re skiing in powder often. Powder wears down wax faster! (Looking at you, Utah)
  • When you’re skiing in a new region where the snow may be drier or wetter than where you regularly ski
  • At the end of the season. Waxing keeps your bases healthy and moisturized as you go into the off-season

Still not sure? If it helps, there’s no such thing as “too often” when it comes to waxing your skis.

Do I need to wax new skis?

New skis come with a factory wax to keep the bases moisturized and protected. If you’re a beginner skier, it’s not critical to immediately rewax your new skis. The only downside is that you may be slower than if you were to rewax them. If you’re a more experienced skier, it’s definitely a good idea to rewax new skis immediately before taking them out on their first run. 

What is the difference between a hand tune and a machine tune?

Here at Ski ‘N See, we offer two types of tuning options – hand tune or machine tune. The only difference is that one is done by hand from one of our pro staff, and the other, as the name suggests, is tuned by our Montana Crystal tuning machine. 

The Montana Crystal offers more precision when it comes to the base and edge grinds compared to hand tuning. In addition, the Montana Crystal tune adds a stone grind to ski bases to create a slight pattern on the bottom to better hold in wax. By selecting the machine tune option, you can expect a higher quality tune compared to by hand.

Overall, picking between the two depends on preference. If you are a more experience skier, you may notice the difference of your skis from a machine tune vs. a hand tune, while a beginner not so much.

Montana tune machine


There are so many factors that can impact when you should tune and wax your skis. There is no one size fits all solution. Skill level, terrain, days skied, and even how equipment is stored can all determine how often you need to take your skis in for a wax or tune.

This is where you need to trust your skis and gut feeling. If your skis aren’t performing like they used to, it is probably time to get a tune. Check out your edges, the base, look for any abnormal signs. The more familiar you become with your equipment, the more easily you will be able to determine when it’s time for a tune.

Interested in bringing your skis or snowboard in for a tune? We offer tuning, waxing, and repair services to get your skis or snowboard in tip-top shape. Visit our services page for more info!

Looking to dive into DIY waxing? We offer tuning equipment on our online store. Visit here to find wax, hot irons, and more!