The Terrors of Tuning Skis…

December 19, 2011

Tomorrow marks the first time I will be timed, in a race course. I’m a little scared, a little happy and a lot excited. Unfortunately, I won’t be racing, but forerunning (an important job none the less). It makes for an interesting day though, it should be fun!

Halfway through my day, at about 11:00, I got a call on my iPhone from a number in Maine. I had absolutely no idea who it was, but I was in a car headed to do some Christmas shopping (7 days! Get pumped!), So I picked it up. Turned out, it was one of my ski coaches, Mr. Simard. He asked me what I was doing tomorrow, to which I replied “Skiing… At the mountain. Right?” after some conversing, he asked if I wanted to forerun the race tomorrow. I said, “Absolutely, I would love it!” But that makes for an evening which I consider to be one of the most stressful times I will endure.

My races this weekend got cancelled. Huge bummer. I should have been driving to Sugarloaf both yesterday and this morning at 6, jamming out to some tunes that make me happy and get me excited for 2, 1-2 minute runs on the hill. Instead, I got a day off, a training day yesterday and a nice sleep in this morning.

At least I didn’t have to tune my skis.

Tuning skis has always been really stressful for me. I have one pair of skis for each event, one shot at making them good enough to carve on a rock solid surface (ice tomorrow, sometimes injected snow). As I said above, I get 2 chances(one if the first run goes badly) to prove myself. If my edges aren’t super (similar to a nordic skier’s wax job not being great), I won’t be able to make the most out of those chances. I absolutely cannot screw up.

Mostly I don’t. I have an amazing dad (Who is incredible at tuning) who can always lend a hand if I need it, which is almost all the time. We are both constantly learning about tuning.

What scares me the most about tuning is its immediate consequences. If I make a mistake, and round my edges over, I won’t be able to ski well on a hard surface during the race. If I wax wrong, I won’t be able to go as fast as a person who waxed right. It’s terrifying to me!

Tonight, however, my skis are incredible. I can’t believe how sharp I made them! My knuckles are pink from testing them. It’s looking like a good day tomorrow, and I’m pretty excited. The wax doesn’t matter as much because it’s going to be rock solid tomorrow (basically, the wax sheds water. Different waxes are designed to shed more water trapped between snowflakes on the ground, but ice has little water in between itself.) All that’s left is getting excited, and getting a good night’s sleep. This makes me happy.

Have a great holiday week, and I hope you all travel safely(if you are travelling) and generally have an amazing time celebrating the magic that is Christmas.

Blue skies, and happy trails!

~John

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