Where to Get a Ski Tune?
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SkiDude
September 4, 2003
Member since 09/4/2003 🔗
2 posts
OK I need some help here. With the closing of Inner Ski in Gaithersburg, I no longer have a decent place to take my skis for a tune. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where to go in Montgomery or Frederick Counties. Please don't say Ski Chalet, I have never gotten a decent tune there, unless they hired a new tech and you can recommend them by name.

Thanks

snowcone
September 4, 2003
Member since 09/27/2002 🔗
589 posts
We also looked around for a new tuner when Inner Ski closed. The wait period at Ski Chalet and Ski Center was way outrageous ... 3 weeks at the beginning of December. Someone recommended Princeton Sports in Columbia so we gave them a try. We had our skis tuned by them several times last year and they did a very decent job; I can't say a perfect job. One of my partner's skis had a deep gouge (due to an out-of-control boarder taking him out) and they didn't do as good job of repairing it as we had hoped. I guess that the gouge was a whole lot deeper than they expected it to be. But, other than that, we have been pleased with the service and will go back to them again this year.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
September 4, 2003
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,922 posts
Ski Chalet. I usually bring my skis in around 1 November. Also, they will want your boots to do a boot check.

After the initial tune, I have wax put on the skis occasionally at Timberline or whatever resort I happen to be at.

PhysicsMan
September 4, 2003
Member since 11/20/2001 🔗
218 posts
> ...Please don't say Ski Chalet, I have never gotten a
> decent tune there, unless they hired a new tech and
> you can recommend them by name...

Make sure the head tech, John Beltracchi, does the job. If you don't ask specifically for him, you'll probably get one of the seasonal hires. That could be the cause of your dissatisfaction with them.

FWIW, Ski Chalet also has a better machine in their Arlington location. John sent my my 10ex's there for an off-season stone grind, tune, etc, and they did a great job, but once again, in the summer, I almost certainly got a year-round employee, not a seasonal, and John called and asked them to "take care" of me.

Under no circumstances go to Ski & Racket in Olney. The old guy that runs the place is nice enough, but not the most technically savy tech (eg, tried to talk me into a 1/1 bevel on my ice skis when I specifically asked him if he could do a 1/3). Even on easy stuff, he charges more than Ski Chalet, and still doesn't do as good a job with respect to things like matching ptex repairs, etc.

Tom / PM

PS - What exactly didn't you like about your interaction with the Chalet?

[This message has been edited by PhysicsMan (edited 09-04-2003).]

JohnL
September 4, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,516 posts
Physic Man,

Does John Beltracchi work at the Shady Grove Ski Chalet?

snowcone,

I've had my skis tuned numerous times at Ski Chalet and Ski Center (during peak times) and have never heard of a 3-week wait. At the worst, it was a 7-day wait. Normally, with some ski-bum rap going, I'd be able to have my skis within 2-3 days, even with some significant repairs. I'm very surprised they told you that long; maybe they were both under-staffed last December.

I'm curious about the gouge in the skis. Was this on the top or the bottom? What did you not like about the repair?

[This message has been edited by JohnL (edited 09-04-2003).]

Otto
September 4, 2003
Member since 11/19/1999 🔗
176 posts
I have never had a bad tune or a long wait at Ski Center. However, they make sure they don't lose any money on a full tune.

Maybe they give me a fast turnaround because I am a regular, but generally I think they have an excellent reputation for customer service. I am surprised by hearing of a 3 week wait. Of course, you could always bring em in in October....

P-Man - I assume you get a 3 degree base bevel. Why?

snowcone
September 5, 2003
Member since 09/27/2002 🔗
589 posts
I apologize. I misspoke. The 3 week wait was at Ski Chalet in Gaithersburg .. maybe they were short of staff at the moment. Ski Center was about 10 days as I recall.

For JohnL

The Gouge was a nasty 2 inch cut all the way through and down to the metal just below the neck of the shovel of a Volkl T50 5 Star. Needless to say, my partner was royally p'ed off. He would probably sell his first born before giving up those skis ... he loves them so. I don't know if they can be repaired any better than they are, and I don't have enough technical knowledge to know if that gash might interfere with the integrity or performance of the ski.
Anyone know a Volkl rep who might be able to answer the question?

PhysicsMan
September 5, 2003
Member since 11/20/2001 🔗
218 posts
JohnL:> ...Does John Beltracchi work at the Shady Grove Ski Chalet?

Yes. Sorry I forgot to mention that ... I was writing quickly.
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Otto:> ...P-Man - I assume you get a 3 degree base bevel. Why?

I wanted a 1 degree base, 3 degree side bevel. It was on my pair of 170 cm Atomic 9.16's that I use almost exclusively for short radius carving on seriously hard snow/ice. I bought the skis slightly used from a racer and he had them set up that way: (1) I like the feel; (2) I don't want excessive metal to get removed (which is what happens if you needlessly go back and forth between different side bevel angles); and (3) I'm not worried about excessive edge wear because of the limited use these skis see.
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Snowcone:> ...Someone recommended Princeton Sports in Columbia so we gave them a try...

Humm ... For years, I leased my kid's equipment there, and have bought a reasonable ammt of stuff from them, but when it comes to shop work on skis, I've had nothing but bad experiences with them. They did a terrible tune on one set of skis, and completely screwed up the mounting of bindings to a brand new (read, "expensive") pair of Volkl powder skis .

In fact, they actually tried to sneak the problem by me, and when I caught it (fortunately, b4 I left the store), the shop tech initially tried to deny anything was wrong until he realized I knew exactly what I was talking about, had done plenty of shop work myself, etc.. The bindings were demo bindings, and his error was that he did not set the L & R bindings at the same place on their respective racks when he centered the boots and drilled the mounting holes. This would have effectively prohibited me from making any fore-aft adjustments of the bindings and/or sharing the skis with other family members. The fact that the tech initially tried to slip the error by me made me really mad, because I would expect him to do exactly the same to people that have no under-the-hood knowledge. Much to the credit of the store's (Princeton) management, they owned up to the problem, and after a bit of complaining compensated me with another brand new pair Explosivs. I don't know if the tech is still working there.

BTW, Princeton's shop seems fine on bike work during the rest of the year.
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JohnL:> ...Normally, with some ski-bum rap going, I'd be able to
> have my skis within 2-3 days, even with some significant repairs.

That's *exactly* the way to get timely results at any ski shop.
---------

Finally, on the issue of how fast repairs get done, I should comment that I'm probably not the best person to ask about this because, I usually use a pair of rock skis in sketchy early and late season conditions, so I am usually pretty gentle on my real skis and don't need major work done all that often. In addition, during the season, I usually do all the minor edge work, minor p-texing and waxing myself. I try to have all of the annual-type work that needs to be done by a shop (eg, mounting bindings, stone grinds, etc.) done off-season.

Tom / PM

[This message has been edited by PhysicsMan (edited 09-05-2003).]

SkiDude
September 5, 2003
Member since 09/4/2003 🔗
2 posts
"PS - What exactly didn't you like about your interaction with the Chalet?"

Basically they're whole attitude. Almost everyone I have interacted with either has poor attitudes or is not very knowledgeable about the equipment.

Last season I brought two pairs of ski's in and both had gouges they made on the tops but denied it and did poor repairs on the bases and the edges were not very sharp. We went to Ski Liberty and noticed a remarkable change in edge hold on both of our skis (Volkl's). We made a couple of runs then went to the shop at Liberty and they did a quick tune and both skis were back to their old selves.

It looks like Ski Chalet is my only choice near my home. I really do not relish the thought of driving to DC for a tune.

I will ask for John Beltracchi when I bring my skis in.

The other choice is to do the tunes my self but I really do not know how. I am also worried about screwing them up.


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