How to Tune Skis

Published October 17, 2017

A closeup of the bindings on a pair of white skis

Proper tuning of your downhill skis will keep you gliding along smoothly and having fun on the snowy slopes.

Tuning your skis involves three primary steps:

  1. Base repair
  2. Edge work
  3. Waxing

How do you know if you need to tune your skis? First, look at the bases for scrapes. Big holes that expose the core usually need to be repaired by a shop equipped to weld in new base material, but smaller scrapes and gouges can easily be fixed at home.

Next, examine the edges for rust and small burrs. Minor edge work is easy to do at home, but extensive repairs and sharpening are best done at a ski shop.

Always finish up your tuning by waxing your skis. It's also recommended that you wax your skis throughout the ski season even if you're not doing base or edge repairs. You can't wax your skis too frequently; the more you do it, the faster your skis will glide.

Shop REI's selection of ski tuning equipment.

Base Repair

Everyone gets some base damage at some point, usually from skiing over a rock that's not adequately covered by snow. A gash in your base affects how well your skis glide, so it's important to repair the damage.

The tools you'll need include:

Video: How to Tune Skis: Base Repair

In this short video, we'll show you in a few easy steps how to prep your bases, fill the scrapes with P-Tex and smooth out the bases when you're done.

For more information on repairing ski bases, see our Ski and Snowboard Base Repair article.

Shop REI's selection of ski tuning equipment.

Edge Work

Rust and burrs on your ski edges cause drag and slow you down on firm snow; so, getting rid of these abrasions can help your skis perform their best.

The tools you'll need include:

  • Clean towels
  • Diamond stone
  • Gummy stone
  • Rubbing alcohol

Video: How to Tune Skis: Edge Work

In this video, we'll show you in a few brief steps how to inspect the edges, remove burrs, polish rust and wipe the bases clean.

Shop REI's selection of ski tuning equipment.


Waxing your skis is the best way to protect them and keep them performing at their peak. It's important to wax your skis after completing base repair and edge work, as well as throughout the ski season to ensure your skis glide smoothly. Waxing every three or four outings is a good practice.

Tools you'll need include:

Video: How to Tune Skis: Waxing

In this video, we give you a quick, step-by-step guide to waxing your skis at home including how to heat and spread the wax, scrape off the excess and finish up with your brushes.

For more information on waxing skis, including choosing the correct wax, see our Glide Waxing Your Skis or Snowboard article.

Shop REI's selection of ski tuning equipment and ski wax.

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