The refreshing quantity of pre- and early-season snow has coincided with an uptick in the oil price so there has been a bit of a conflict between the two careers. The severe imbalance between oilfield and ski tech remuneration means that the Cave only really opened to business on Monday 11th Dec then promptly shut again on the 15th so I can hit the Alps. The upside of this is that I took the time to tune my own skis so I get take my own hard work into some actual snow rather than scraping them across the Scottish gravel fields of last season.
Another upside is that there was something of a queue forming when I did return from Australia, and it is quicker on a per-board basis to make a production line. Sadly the CaveCam was still stuck in a suitcase in LHR so there are no photos with this post.
As always there was some new stuff to learn. Bataleon make “3-D bases” which have a bit of a wing thing going on. Someone else had hashed the edges so badly it wasn’t possible to tell what the bevel should be so a few emails to Bataleon HQ in Amsterdam, deep in the Dutch Alps, revealed that they ship with zero base & 1 degree side. This sort of makes sense as the wings on the base keep the edges out of trouble (although you would have a disconcertingly long wait at the start of a turn before any edge actually bit) but from a practical perspective, how do you file a zero bevel? It is flat with the base so if you waft a file up & down with no file guide you are knackering the base. Anyway Bataleon have a relaxed attitude to tuning their boards – have a look at this movie on their website:
No mention of base & edge bevels because – hey! – your tech just bungs the board in a machine and it comes out at whatever settings the last guy left it at. If you look at around 1 minute you can see the sparks flying from the edges as the side edges get nicely case hardened, so that when you learn a bit of board sensitivity and try to tune the board yourself it is a nightmare to try to work through all the hardened patches. And that was certainly the case with Iain’s board, which put up plenty of resistance but which is now in better than new condition.
In contrast, Ross returned his Atomics for another tune & wax and they were done & dusted with no drama, because once your skis have been tuned properly once they are a doddle to tidy up next time.
Moz , Heather, Brett & Scott also put various skis & boards through the mill. Here’s hoping everyone gets some decent riding in over the festive period and I look forward to seeing everyone in the New Year.