By: randosteve|Posted on: November 28, 2011|Posted in: Gear, Gear Reviews | 5 comments

Side Wall Planers are key to getting sharp edges.

It is interesting to think that when I used to ski the resort a lot, I could have cared less about what condition my ski edges and bases were in. Back in those days and all too often, I’d be skiing around with a few inches of edge missing or hanging off the side of my skis, not to mention the moon crater sized divots or even missing sections of base material. And wax? Why bother was my attitude back then, since the skis I was using would probably find their way into the dumpster after a season of skiing the gnar of JHMR anyway.

This planer from Sun Valley Ski Tools is basic and works great.

These days, and now that I am mainly a backcountry skier, I find myself tuning and waxing my skis all the time, trying to maximized glide on low angle run-outs back to the trailhead, as well as de-burring and sharpening my ski edges to reduce turning resistance and be sure they are ready for that section of icy snow that I didn’t anticipate in a couloir. Unfortunately, both torsion box and sandwich ski construction can often prohibit proper access to the ski edge and reduce the functionality of whatever device you are using to sharpen your edges. The main culprit is the sidewall, and it really helps to remove the material directly above the edge in order to get proper edge tuning. Enter…the sidewall planer.

Basically, a sidewall planner is a cutting device that is mounted on a swivel and angled base-plate that can be run down the edge of the ski, removing any sidewall material that might get in the way of your file and reduce the contact it has with the edge. I've got one from Sun Valley Ski Tools that works great.

After you remove the material that butts up right next to your edge, your file can then fully sharpen your edges to whatever angle you prefer. Black Diamond torsion box skis come with a 1o side-edge bevel and their sandwich construction skis have a 2o bevel, and that is pretty much what I shoot for when sharpening edges.