In the basement of my childhood home we had the ultimate ski-tuning bench, it was a wide and long and covered in Ptex, wax drippings, metal shaving and wax scraping. We had files, scrapers, mom’s old irons, waxes of all colors, sticks of P-tex and corks for polishing the bottom of our skis. It was our ski-testing laboratory and we experimented with wax combinations, mounting bindings in different positions and even making our own “mono” skis.
The skis were stacked across from the bench. With 7 kids and two skiing parents we had a huge collection of boards from Rossignol Strato, to Olin Mark IV to Hexel Honey Comb and K2 Cheeseburgers with some Head Standards in the mix. I remember spending hours down under the hanging lights working away preparing the skis for the next adventure.
By the time I was 14 I was tuning skis at the local ski shop just 7 miles outside of Boston and learning the finer techniques of base and edge repair as well as mounting bindings with out jigs. The shop sent me to ski tuning clinics and I discovered what a base and edge bevel was, how to structure the base so it would hold more wax and other useful tricks like how to get the carbon out of clear P-tex so the repair would blend in better with the base.
The shop had a grinding machine to flatten the bases and sharpen the edges. It took great skill not to over grind the bottoms of the skis or burn the edges while swiping the ski across the belt on the grinder. This mechanical addition broadened my ability to fix core shots and flatten railed skis and before long I was being called up to the sales floor to consult to customers on their damaged skis.