One of the things that most fascinates me about spending an entire season here is all of the work that goes on behind the scenes to make everyones’ visit to Canyons Resort is perfect. I spent my first few weeks here simply in awe at the amount of terrain to ski, trying to work out how to get a google-tan whilst wearing a full-face helmet and enjoying the barbecue brisket. But now that I’ve settled in and become more used to my (seriously scenic) surroundings, I notice familiar faces in the crowds. They’re the people who make things run smoothly and make sure that the most stressful part of your vacation is whether to take one more chairlift ride or to park it on the Ski-Beach and start the Après ski early.
So, I’m planning a series of posts about all the different people and departments that work towards the same goal – making Canyons Resort awesome (awesomer?)! First up are the ski technicians. If you rent skis, these are the guys who make sure they’ll be ready when you arrive and are in perfect condition to tackle whatever you throw at them. If you drop off your skis at the end of the day for a tune and pick them up in the morning, it’s not magic ski elves that do all the work, it’s the ski techs.
There’s a surprising amount of work put into tuning a pair of skis or a snowboard, and it’s all done while you’re relaxing in the sauna or getting an early night before more snow-ninja antics. Skis and boards are checked in during the day, but all the work is done through the night to make sure that you’re ready to go again first thing in the morning. Each night the guys get through around 60 pairs of skis. Everything from a basic wax and edge tune, to the more complex base repairs or mounting of bindings.
A full tune begins with grinding the base of the ski to give it a good structure. The friction of your ski melts the snow beneath it as you charge down the slope, meaning you’re momentarily skiing over water that needs to be dispersed. Much like how the structure of a car tire disperses water, so does the structure in the base of a ski. A shockingly expensive (think really, really good car or small house) computer-controlled machine grinds into the base giving it the structure that pushes water away while pulling the ski down onto the snowpack.
Once the base is taken care of, the focus turns to the metal edges. Edges are first sharpened by machine, then by hand, before finally being polished and perfected by gummy stone and diamond stone. Yeah, the edges of your skis are sharpened by diamonds!
When it comes to wax, it’s melted onto the base with a wax iron and left to soak in before being scrapped off by hand. Ski wax is a science in itself and different conditions require different wax, warm, cold, dry, wet etc. The ski techs will choose the best wax for current snow conditions, often mixing different waxes together like the magical wax alchemists that they are.
The ski techs know pretty much everything about every ski and binding ever made. If you need help or advice then they’re the guys with the answers. And if you broke it, then they can (probably) fix it. The next time you pick up your skis or board tell them they rock!