Category Archives: Tuning


Pre-Season Tune Ups at Start Haus

Winter is approaching fast; Tahoe resorts start opening later this month. Are you ready? One of the best ways to start your season off right is a fresh tune and wax at Start Haus. How do you know if you need a tune? Take a look at your skis. If they have worn bases and nicked edges, you will notice the difference on the snow.

Well-tuned skis are more fun and easier to ski. Dull edges make turns harder to initiate and to keep on track. Rough bases can feel sluggish and make even a great ski feel lethargic. If your skis aren’t running smoothly on funky early season snow or your edges aren’t biting on those man-made icy patches, you’re more likely to throw in the towel and go into the lodge for drinks.

Ski bases dry out all summer long. You didn’t put storage wax on at the end of last season like we told you to, did you? If your bases are getting discolored, white or chalky looking, they’re drying out. Dried out bases also shrink, affecting the tune of your ski too. It’s not the end of the world, but they’ll run poorly – so get them in for a proper hot scrape and wax at Start Haus.

Dry bases

Dry bases

Edges get dinged and can rust in storage. Storage wax can also help protect metal from moisture, so if you skipped that step, chances are your edges won’t be ready for prime-time out of the gate. Getting a tune by the pros at Start Haus ensures they will run smoothly so you won’t catch awkwardly or skid unexpectedly.

Rusty and damaged edge before sharpening

Rusty and damaged edge before sharpening

Clean and sharp edge after tune

Clean and sharp edge after tune

Then there’s last season’s damage you swore you’d take care of over the summer. Don’t let scratches or core shots in your base keep you from making first chair. Get the repairs you need done by the best technicians in the business.

Base repair in process

Base repair in process


Base repair after final grind. Not a hint of what happened!

So you followed our advice and put on storage wax at the end of the season? That’s great. But that glopped on wax that was doing your bases so much good needs a good scrape and brush. Come into Start Haus and we’ll make sure you’ve got the perfect shiny finish on your bases so they run smooth and fast.

Proper storage wax for the off-season.  Needs to be scraped!

Proper storage wax for the off-season. Needs to be scraped!


Summer Prep for Race Training

Every year around late July and early August we get our annual influx of ski racers heading to the whiter pastures of the Andes and Southern Alps. Others are heading up to the summer camps of Mount Hood. This presents a good opportunity to take a look at your gear and see if it’s still up to the task. Have you outgrown your boots? How many holes are acceptable in race gloves? How about socks? What are the condition of my ski boots and skis?

We all have heard time and again that your boots are the most important article of gear- which is certainly true for ski racers. It’s hard to race when you’re hobbled in pain, or if your canting is catawampus. Summer camps are a great place to dial in gear and work on techniques or work on overcoming bad habits.

The following is a list of things we see and think are great items to be looking into at summer camps.

Ski Boots

If you’re in the same boots as the previous season approach the obvious questions first. Have you outgrown your boots? If yes obviously shop for some new ones, if not take a look at them and examine their condition. If you’ve been in your boots one entire race season odds are your liner is shot. If you’re anything like the vast majority of the racing population your toe and heel plates are also on the endangered species list.

To be brutally honest we really feel like at the Far West racing level race boots only last one year. Yes even at the U10 U12 level- perhaps especially at the U10 U12 level. The fact is those lucky kids spend and extraordinary amount of time in their boots, it’s fairly obvious by looking at them that their simply worn out. Remember, with the amount of days in them the liner is packed out and the material inside simply isn’t holding the foot the way it should. That being said, it makes total sense with a growing kid to wait until the last possible second to spring for a new pair of boots, which is generally somewhere around the month of November.

For the older kids summer is a great time to play with canting. Canting is planning the sole of the ski boot to match the natural stance of the athlete, particularly the relation of the center of the knee to the center of the ski boot. Some of the tell-tale signs that an athlete needs canting is that one turn is significantly better, i.e. left footers are always better than the right or vise versa. Another symptom would be excessive A-framing or cheating one knee over in the turn excessively. Coaches will often have a few methods to play with to determine if canting is necessary.


There are a few things one can do to prepare skis for the season. If you’re lucky enough to pick up a new pair of speed skis, hot boxing them is a great idea. A couple of cycles in the hotbox will ensure that the bases are super fast and ready to rip. Remember: the more you ski a speed ski in the faster they will be. If an athlete were so inclined she could play with changing edge angles the off-season would be the time to do it.

Coaches in the Lake Tahoe area do a great job of determining what edge angles they would like their athlete’s skis tuned to. Likewise, Tahoe coaches have a handle on what lifts they would like between the bindings and ski. For example max height or some variation of ramp angle is generally prescribed. If you were unsure of edge bevels or ramp angle, summer camps would be a great place to try some variations. ***Disclaimer*** Ski bindings are a major safety issue. Only certified experts should be working on ski bindings.

In summation the point is if you’re going to play with gear, the summer camps is one of the best times to do it rather than mid season when you’re doing your best to get on the podium. Most importantly summer ski camps should be fun! Don’t ever forget that while you may take racing seriously, it also one of the most fun things in the world to do! Yes train hard, but remember to make the most of it and have a ton of fun.


Start Haus Skunk Werks: Custom Builds

Here at Start Haus, we like building bikes.  So much so in fact, we’ve starting building up Tahoe dream bikes just for you.  Starting with a stock Giant bike, such as the Trance Advanced 2, we add and mod how we like to ride em.

First off, why keep all that extra weight on your crank?  With our custom built bikes, we like to git rid of the front derailleur and shifter hardware, swap out the cassette in conjunction with upgraded Shimano X1 components, add a RaceFace narrow wide chainring, thereby making an 11 by 1 drivetrain. But why stop there?!  We swap out the stock fork for one of our all time favorites, the Rock Shox Pike.  In either a 150mm or 160mm, the Pike is one killer fork.  Excellent damping, perfect travel, and amazing durability.


Beyond that, we might swap a stem, or throw on an upgraded wheelset like Stan’s TR Flow’s.  All this makes what we think is the perfect Tahoe trail bike.  Swing by and check it out!


Race Tech: Why Not All Grinds are Equal

There is much confusion in our marketplace on how and why a ski should be ground a certain way.  Not all grinds are created equal.  Even two different shops with the same machine will turn out different results depending on the specs that are used on the equipment, and by what technician.  Whether race gear or rec, this brief side by side comparison should help you cement your decision to bring your equipment to the specialists:  Start Haus!

Please note:  These images are not doctored (other that the addition of text or illustration) and have been uploaded in full resolution for you to better see the detail.  Click on em to see the detail!


Here is a side by side with a pair of skis ground by our techs, and a pair ground by the “other guys”.  Both grinds are a pattern WS09.  The ski ground by the Start Haus tech is smooth, consistent, and otherwise perfect.  The grind by the “other guys” is far too deep a pattern, inconsistent, and was done with multiple passes creating a wave of deep and smooth patterns across the entire ski.









When caring for your equipment, don’t skimp on maintenance!  Take your gear to the guys who know best at Start Haus.  Our boys in the back-shop truly strive for the best tune available in the US.




PTEX In Action: What it Takes

When snow is scarce, damage to your ski is inevitable.  When a gash in the base is deep enough to make its way through the base of the ski, we call it a core shot.  Some are big, some are small, but each repair gets the same skill and attention to detail.  PTEX is a repair some can do at home, but without the base grind, its impossible to get a ski back to looking and skiing like new.  Here is a step by step overview of what it takes to do a base repair.

Step 1:  Identify Necessary Repair

With a gash this big, its hard to miss.

With a gash this big, its hard to miss.

Right down through the ski into structural material

Right down through the ski into structural material.

Step 2:  Prep Your Wound

After trimming excess base material, we sand down burs and groves.

After trimming excess base material, we sand down burs and groves.

Step 3:  PTEX


Using the PTEX gun, we fill the grove with new material.

Using a convex hand anvil, the material is squeezed into the grove filling any excess space.

Step 4: Cleaning Up the Repair and Prepping for Base Grind.

The repair is then scraped to get the surface as flat as possible by hand.

The repair is then scraped to get the surface as flat as possible by hand.

Once scrapped, any holes or bubbles are re-filled and the process is repeated.

Once scrapped, any holes or bubbles are re-filled and the process is repeated.

Step 5:  Base Grind

On the Grinder

Passing through the base grinder.

Passing through the base grinder.

After a few passes on the grinder, this ski is ready to go!

After a number of passes on the grinder, this ski is ready to go!





Cross Country Ski Tuning & Wax at Start Haus

Start Haus is well known for our World Cup caliber downhill ski tuning and waxing, but what you may not know is we bring the same level of excellence to cross country skis. One could argue (maybe not with a World Cup ski racer) that a proper tune and wax is even more critical on xc skis than on alpine because you have to work for every inch of movement, rather than with the aid of gravity.

First thing on a cross country skiers list should always be the bases – are they flat? A concave base, sometimes caused by lack of waxing, makes the ski slower and harder to turn. A convex base, caused by normal usage and wear, is also slow and makes the ski unstable. A grind will flatten out the base, clean up any nicks or dings, and take away oxidized base material that can make it harder for fresh wax to stick.


The grind also sets the pattern of the base – critical to the glide of the ski in different snow conditions. Using our Wintersteiger grinder, we can set different patterns – two of which are most common for xc skis. A fine parallel pattern is the smoothest on cold snow, and is best if you’re an advanced skier who hand sets your own patterns. More common, what we call the Sierra grind, is a deeper chevron pattern, great for braking suction in wetter conditions.

Next up and just as critical; proper waxing. Aside from our signature hot scrape and iron wax service, which gives significantly better results than chemical cleaners, we offer hot box cycles for cross country skis. One hot box cycle left overnight at Start Haus gives your skis the wax penetration of roughly 15-20 hand waxings, meaning longer lasting wax that continuously comes out of the base as you ski.

And while these are high end services, they’re also great values – we offer a grind for $40, a wax for $20, or a grind and a hot box package for $65 – less than a third of some other cross country ski services.

Once the Start Haus techs have your skis dialed in, you can also stock up from our full selection of waxes, tools, corks and more to keep your skis going. From hydrocarbons to pure fluoro overlays, we’ve got you covered.