The Science & Witchcraft of World Cup Ski Tuning (Ep.70)


  • How Cam got started at HEAD (1:00)
  • The art of edge tuning (3:03)
  • Why athletes have 50 skis per discipline (8:09)
  • Superstitions & cinnamon rolls (9:08)
  • The elusive “speedwagon” (10:25)
  • Base angles vs. Edge angles (13:20)
  • What is a second edge?? (20:00)
  • How quickly do skis dull? (22:45)
  • Athlete’s relationships to their tuners (24:50)
  • Polishing stones & the toilet paper test (28:30)
  • De-tuning to avoid hooking (31:57)
  • Base materials & grind patterns (35:07)
  • How to select your wax (45:16)
  • Just how sensitive are pro athletes? (58:12)

How do the world’s elite ski racers and their technicians squeeze every drop of performance out of their skis? We sat down with Cameron Smith who runs the race department for Head USA to learn about all the major aspects of ski tuning including base vs edge angles, base prep, and waxing. We also discuss why World Cup racers have 50 skis per discipline; the elusive “speed wagon”; and the delicate balance of science and superstition in ski racing.

HEAD USA's Cameron Smith goes on Blister's GEAR:30 podcast to discuss how World Cup ski racers have their skis tuned, and how that translates to tuning your own skis
Lindsey Vonn at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Åre, Sweden on February 10, 2019 (photo by Erich Spiess / ASP / Red Bull Content Pool)

2 comments on “The Science & Witchcraft of World Cup Ski Tuning (Ep.70)”

  1. Thanks for another great podcast. A couple of questions for Cam:
    – Are the white, fuzzy areas on my base that appear underfoot after every day of skiing doing permanent damage to my skis?
    -I wax before every day of skiing, but will waxing multiple times over the summer with a base-prep wax help prevent “the white fuzzies”?

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