A tuneup and wax job come in handy

Here are two bits of wisdom from a skiing guru of old who most assuredly knew what he -- or maybe she -- was talking about:

(1) A good wax job covers many mistakes; (2) A good tuneup of the skis is worth at least one private lesson.

Although the identity of this anonymous articulator of truth in the snow has long since melted into skiing legend, the validity of the advice will be immediately obvious to anyone following it. But why, someone is asking, are we talking about tuning skis in March? Isn't that a tip for the pre-season.

What's true in the fall is even more true after a number of ski days have taken their toll on your edges, not to mention whatever wax was once on the bottoms.

Earlier this winter, I again found that out. When I hit warm wet snow in Austria, I actually began to get taller, as mounds of sticky snow built up under the wax-starved base of my skis.

Some yellow wax helped temporarily. So did shifting right ski to left foot on colder, harder snow. That move transposed still-sharp outside edges to inside edges, where they could go to work.

But I knew a thorough tune-up was in order, including a hot wax job. Normally, I like to tune my own skis. But I was short on time, and like the kid who gets his hair cut at home, I sensed a professional job was called for.

So I splurged. Fifteen big ones for a professional tuning, including hot wax job. Extravagant? Wasteful? Sure, if turning skiing from work to a joy is extravagant and wasteful. The guru was right. That tuning beat a private lesson by a mile!

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