world championships; the back end..

Made it to the FIS world championships in quebec. Psyched to be competing in yet another world championships (there's been quite a few!). I had some politics to deal with prior and after showing up here, but we're onto the business of competing. Being out in quebec you need to get ready for anything and everything weather wise. last week, i heard the snow as great. on the weekend it poured rain. tomorrow it's going to be -30! yeah it's a little icy, and a wee bit cold.

The cold snow wrecks havoc on your base. What happens with cold snow is the crystals are very, very sharp. In halfpipe we carry quite a bit of speed through the flat bottom and we hold the same edge for quite a while. So those sharp little crystals dig into you base. As you take more and more runs, your base actually starts to get noticebly chewed up by these crystals. Having an event in copper last week (where the snow is cold) then followed up by here basically ruins 1 or 2 boards. Today the board I was riding had finally had enough and the ptex base was not only chewed up, it had gotten so bad that the ptex was actually lower than the steel edge. When this happens your board becomes very twitchy and digs in at unexpected times. I had some troubles on my heelside today and when i saw that on my base I quickly put the 2 together.

After practise, my good friend and old temate Hugo Lemay took me down to a race ski shop that he knew had a good stone grinding machine. The tech had never seen a base so chewed up in his life. I told him to grind it down as much as possible to get the base and edge back to being flat. Having designed the boards I'm on I knew exactly how thick the ptex was and figured there would be enough to get it back into shape.

After the sweet stone grind, the real work started. When we have a new board or a fresh base, generally we will 'feed' the base with wax. I follow a feeding program that I've worked out over the years, but it takes a good deal of coats to get a board ridable. 3 hours of work waxing and tuning the edges. usually I'll be in the tuning area for a while but 3 hours is a very long while to be working on primarily 1 board.


some tools of the waxing trade. When the racers show up the tuning room becomes much more crowded and serious it seems.


Tuning is a key component of doing well in contests these days. last week I made a mistake and used a new file guide while tuning my edges for the conetst day and it was different than my old guide and my board rode like poo. This week I'm back to my old file guide. Little things at this level can ruin your contest. Hopfully I learned from my mistakes last week, and my work tonight will have my boards running like they should be.