Detuning Skis (Complete Guide)

detuning skis

Detuning skis is something every skier out there has to do, either with new skis or the ones you’ve been using for some time.

Skiers decide to detune skis at different times and the reasons to do that vary as well.

If you are a skier who is thinking about detuning your skis and is confused about the matter and process, you have come to the right place.

This article will explain what detuning skis is, how to do it and everything else you need to know so that you can confidently DIY it like a pro, and hit the slopes this coming season!

What Is Detuning Skis?

Detuning skis is basically dulling down the edges of the ski so that they are not sharp. 

This is done using a file, and skiers tend to do this with the skis they are using – especially with new skis where the brand-new edges are incredibly sharp.

The detuning process is usually done to the flat parts of the ski that are constantly in contact (known as contact areas), and the flat parts of the nose and tail.

Also read our guide on when to sharpen skis.

It is a quick and easy process which can be handled with a set of tools you can buy at any ski gear shop, or online!

Should I Detune My Skis?

Should I Detune My Skis?

As a matter of fact, yes you should, especially if your skis are brand new. The reason to file down the edges of a ski is to prevent them from getting caught in boxes and rails at the park.

If your sharp edges get caught in the boxes and rails, which are often pretty rough from wear and tear, you will end up launching off of your skis, and falling face first.

So detuning skis is very important, especially if you want to avoid a bad injury. 

Some skiers let the ski edges dull down from repeated use, but best not to take chances on the slopes!

Now you might feel like detuning isn’t essential if you’re not heading to the park – which is true. But you might benefit anyway from a good detuning even if you stay away from terrain parks.

If your skis are brand new, the edges will be pretty sharp, and they can get caught on almost anything.

And If you are a novice skier starting out, it can affect your entire experience (you don’t want to keep falling more than you’re supposed to, on your FIRST DAY!).

So detuning is a must – especially if it’s a brand-new ski fresh out of the packing.

How To Detune Skis (Step By Step Guide)

Here’s an easy to follow guide on detuning skis DIY:

Finding A Flat Surface

To properly detune your skis, you must first find a flat surface. 

The detuning process requires the use of tough tools, and you don’t want them skipping and sliding in the wrong direction because your skis moved or slid off the surface.

You MUST protect the finish of the skis, so a flat and steady surface to work on is also a must.

Locating The Contact Points 

To detune skis properly, you must first locate the contact points of the skis. 

These are the areas that signal where exactly you will be detuning (filing down) on your ski. 

The contact points are located on either end of the skis, and on both sides (they’re located near the edge when it just starts rounding) – and the areas you want to detune start about 5 cm above and below these contact points we’ve located.

Also read our guide on how to remove ski bindings.

Using Ski Vices

This is optional, but REALLY helpful if you can do it. 

Ski vices are contraptions that hold your skis firmly in place, and they have pads on the parts that hold onto the skis which will protect their finish.

These protectors are made of rubber, and ski vices in general will make your job a lot easier. 

Otherwise, you will have to hold onto your skis firmly while detuning them, and that might lead to accidents so you’ll have to be extra careful.

There’s no chance for such mishaps if you use the vices! 

Start Detuning The Skis

Start Detuning The Skis

To start the detuning, you will need to get the file, hold it at a 45-degree angle and file down the edges we have located earlier.

You must put consistent pressure and file down the entire contact area in one swoop, and keep repeating till you have reached the desired level of dullness – this is usually when the edge is dulled down to a 45-degree angle, at which point you can stop.

Smoothing And Polishing

Next up is finishing the ski detuning process, and making sure your skis look good on the slopes. 

You will need to grab the diamond sharpening stone and move it along the edges while spraying the edges with a bit of water (make sure you don’t use too much water and oversaturate, which can mess with the wood of the ski!).

Also read our guide on types of waxes for skis.

The swipes from the stone must be consistent and overlapping and done in one go across the area. Do this till the area feels and looks smooth.

You can then start the polishing process – simply pick up the gummy stone and repeat the former motion, but lightly till the area gets a polished effect.

Once that is done, your skis are GOOD TO GO!

How To Detune Skis For Park 

Detuning is essential for the park, especially with boxes and rails. The process is pretty similar to the usual detuning method, but the areas you’ll be filing are located differently.

The area you will need to file is located from 2 to 3 inches in front of your toe piece on the ski, to 2 to 3 inches behind your heel piece (on both skis).

Use the same filming, smoothing and polishing method explained earlier, and you’re good to go!


Do You Need To Detune New Skis?

Yes, you must – mainly because new skis will have very sharp edges. You do NOT want excessively sharp edges because they will get caught on ice and park boxes and rails, leading to injury. It can affect your overall experience with skiing, especially if you are a beginner. So detuning new skis is essential.

How Much Does It Cost To Detune Skis?

The total average cost for detuning skis would be about $63 if you do it yourself. Quality ski files go for an average price of $35, with diamond sharpening stones and gummy stones going for $13 and $15 respectively.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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