Hello, ski tuning enthusiast. My name is Sam Morse, and I am a World Cup downhiller with the US Ski Team. In addition to being an athlete, I also tune and wax my skis myself for every race and training session. On the World Cup speed circuit, it is virtually unheard of for an athlete to be tuning their skis, but I have taken on the challenge and enjoy the connection I feel with my equipment.
Earlier in my career, I was a supported Toko athlete as I made my way onto the US Ski Team back in 2016. Over the years, a serviceman was provided to me by the US Ski Team, so I lost my connection with Toko. Still, as I have begun tuning my skis again, I have rekindled my relationship with Toko and am again a sponsored athlete! I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity and hope to share some of what I have learned by tuning my skis on the World Cup with you.
The most common question I get from fellow athletes and fans is: how do you have enough time in the day to tune your skis? Being an athlete at an elite level requires a significant amount of time training on the slopes. When we aren’t skiing, we’re busy taking care of our bodies with daily workout sessions, watching videos of that day’s training, getting physical therapy for any nagging injuries, attending team meetings, squeezing in a nap, and, of course, getting enough to eat and refuel. So, to pile on the task of preparing my skis every day can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming.
Sharing my approach
I am writing this piece for you because I know many of you face similar time constraints in your daily lives and tuning your skis can seem like a task you would never have time for. Whether you are an athlete juggling schoolwork trying to tune your skis while training or a parent trying to fit waxing your kid’s skis into your already packed work week, you’re in luck because I am here to share a few tips and tricks on how to manage your race ski quiver most efficiently.
The key I have found to staying calm in the tuning room with many skis to work on is to store every ski as ready to go as possible. Every pair of my 14-pair race ski quiver is filed, wicked sharp and waxed for a typical temperature range with Toko Performance Hot Wax Red mixed with Blue. This way, all I have to do to prepare for a day of training is to scrape the ski and finish the edge stoning for the current snow/ice conditions.
Consistency approach is key
To maintain this level of readiness, every day after training, I touch up the edges, usually with a file, wax the ski in a general predicted temperature range for where I might be using the ski next, and then they are ready to go. It took a lot of work during the summer preparing each new ski by setting the edges, sanding the side wall, and getting a few wax cycles through them. But once I got every ski ready to go, the time I now need to spend in the ski room is much more efficient.
This becomes a little trickier with your race skis regarding what wax to leave on them, but I will write a future post addressing how I handle this. This method of storing all your ready-to-go skis takes a little more effort after each training day, but you save so much time and energy in the long run. This method I have shared with you can become a helpful practice as you approach how best to handle your ski quiver this winter.