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How to Detune your Ski or Snowboard Edges

What is detuning? It’s the opposite of tuning – rather than sharpening their edges, park riders like to dull them. This makes it more difficult to carve turns, but the alternative is catching an edge on a feature and dying.

Most shops will detune your edges for you if you purchase your skis there. That’s great for general riding, sharp edges are tricky to handle. However, liability might prevent them from grinding the edges way down for rails, or maybe you bought a used board from a swap. In any case, here’s everything we know about how to detune your skis or snowboard.detail_small

Your board or skis probably came with a sharp 90° edge, straight from the factory.

On rails,  edges need to be dull so you can slide. Outdoor rails are always coated with rust, wax, and nicks, all of which catch edges. Most box-style features have some sort of plastic surface, like PVC rails; your metal edges will cut in and catch if they’re not detuned.

“Where do I detune?”

Basically, detune your edges wherever the rail touches. If you’re just starting out snowboarding, you’ll probably spend a lot of time 50-50ing but detuning will be very important when you start boardsliding. Skiers will have to detune right off the bat. To generalize:

Skiers: under your feet.

Snowboarders: under and between your feet.

“How much edge should I grind off?” How much to detune skis or snowboard edges

How much to detune is a preference. Just “breaking the edge” isn’t enough, but don’t completely round them either; anywhere between works just fine.

This is a pair of skis after a week of lightly hitting rails, without any detuning – you can rub your finger across the edge without feeling an obvious edge. Rails will grind down your edges whether you detune or not, which is why your local rental shop threatens your life if you go in the park.

For summer PVC rails: PVC is soft, and metal edges dig if you don’t do some heavy detuning. The above skis might be okay, but more detuning is better for PVC.

“Will it wreck my stuff?”

You can’t ‘undo’ a detuning. With that said, is it bad?

Dulling edges doesn’t weaken your core, but it makes it slightly easier for the edges to crack (less material). There’s some debate on what exactly cracks the edges, but regardless of the primary reason, they crack eventually. Your best option is to detune to reduce your chance of getting hurt.

“How do you actually detune, then?”

People use all sorts of things to detune. Metal files, grinders, sanders, cement steps… Here’s Tom Wallisch using an angle grinder with a sanding head.

If you use power tools, heads up – they can bite in super fast, and cut right through your edge, sidewall, and base in a second. Hold your tool snug, in a way where you can rest a hand on the base rather than floating the tool in the air. In our opinion, sanding tools are much better than grinding wheels for detuning, but a file is the best.

If you’re in doubt, call your local shop and ask them if they will detune your board or skis for you.

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