Stone Grinding FAQs
Why grind in the first place?
For ski racers, stone grinds can be a big performance booster. In general, stone grinding removes a thin layer of damaged base material, re-exposing clean polyethylene. This results in the best wax retention.
Additionally, a stone grind etches a series of lines/broken lines onto the ski base. This produces a purposely-designed, structured surface to better control snow crystal shape and moisture content. These two elements left unmanaged can produce excessive friction, inhibiting glide.
*Keep in mind, a stone grind will not improve the performance of a poorly fit ski. A stone grind will not improve the performance of an incorrectly flexed ski chosen for a given snow condition. I.e. soft shovel for a hard track or stiff hinge for soft track.
Stone grind frequency depends on your waxing rates and skill, as well as the kinds/quality of snows your skis are exposed to. A skier/racer able to recognize the optics of base damage and other factors will on average have their skis ground every one to two years.
How many times can a pair of skis be ground?
The number of lifetime stone grinds a ski can handle is dependent of the damage of the skis and underlying core and base structures.
Highly heat damaged or excessively out-of-flat bases require a high amount of material removal thus significantly reducing how often they can be ground.
Assessing the ski before grinding gives the grind tech a general impression of the work required. Only once the ski is put over the stone can the tech truly know the extent of the work needed to flatten and reveal clean polyethylene.
A full grind for a typical ski requires up to 10 passes over the stone. A pair of skis can handle an average of up to 5 complete stone grinds before you start to run out of material.
Why grind touring/non-racing performance skis?
For non-racers, a stone grind cleans up a battered base. This makes glide wax easier to apply and scrape and improves glide.