Do Snowboards Really Need To Be Sharpened?


When you are out on the slopes, your snowboard becomes like an extension of yourself. Nothing feels quite like shredding down a clean slope on a bright, sunny day. However, making sure that your snowboard is in good shape, like sharpening it, is essential if you want it to stay at its best and you want to keep enjoying days out on the mountain. 

Snowboards need to be sharpened because without a properly maintained snowboard, you will not make the most of your snowboarding adventures. Sharpening snowboard edges helps to improve performance and keep the snowboard in good condition.

Read on for more information about:

  • Why and how often snowboards need to be sharpened
  • How you can tell if your snowboard needs to be sharpened
  • How you can get your snowboard sharpened
  • A few other maintenance tips to keep your snowboard in its best condition

Why Do Snowboards Need To Be Sharpened?

Snowboards are like any other equipment in that if they are not looked after, they will not perform optimally. One of the most important maintenance steps for a snowboard is sharpening the edges, often called “tuning it.”  

The sharp edges mean your snowboard can cut through the snow much easier and much faster, making it also easier for you to perform snowboarding maneuvers such as turns. It also keeps you safe because you do not have to use as much energy to perform these moves, and your snowboard is not going to act unpredictably. 

How Often Do Snowboards Need To Be Sharpened?

Snowboard edges get dulled naturally after every ride, but some things will increase the rate they need to be sharpened, such as riding on abrasive snow (like manmade snow or ice), hitting hard objects like rocks, or by contaminants such as dirt in the snow. 

The number of times you need to get your snowboard sharpened really depends on how much snowboarding you actually do. Most riders do it once a year because they only ride during the winter, but if you’re a regular snowboarder, you probably have to sharpen your board several times a year. 

Ultimately, you are the judge of how often your snowboard needs to be sharpened. That’s why it is important to understand how to tell when your board requires looking after and how to sharpen it.  

Keep in mind that new snowboards are also already pre-sharpened, so if you are new to snowboarding, you can get out there and start having fun without having to worry so much about the maintenance of your board just yet. 

How Can You Tell When Your Snowboard Needs To Be Sharpened?

If you think that it is time to sharpen your snowboard, an easy way to tell is by scraping your fingernail (not your finger itself) gently along the edge of your snowboard. If your snowboard is sharp enough, it will take a thin sliver of fingernail off. 

There are also some clear visual signs that your snowboard is ready for a sharpening session, like rust, burrs, nicks, scratches, or rounded edges.

How Do You Sharpen Your Snowboard?

Now that you know more about the importance of sharpening your snowboard, you are probably wondering how you actually do it. There are two options: take it to a professional or do it yourself.

How Much Does Snowboard Sharpening Cost?

For most casual snowboarders, seeking professional help is a way to save time, avoid mistakes, and keep their board in perfect shape. 

How much it will cost to have your snowboard sharpened will depend on what procedure you need. Quick tune-ups can set you back around $20, whereas more extensive procedures like a full tune-up and wax can cost over $50. 

The cost will also depend on where you go to get it done, as different places will charge different rates. 

Can You Sharpen Your Snowboard Yourself?

For those who snowboard more regularly or are interested in saving some money, learning how to sharpen your snowboard yourself is worth it. Just remember that you will need to spend a bit of money at first on the tools, and you will also need to block out a few hours of your day to get the job done. 

How To Sharpen Your Snowboard Yourself

Here’s what you will need to sharpen your snowboard:

  • A snowboarding edging tool
  • A permanent marker
  • A gummy stone

Here are the steps:

  1. Prepare your workspace. Where you decide to sharpen your board is up to you. If you have a big enough garage, that is probably the best place, or, failing that, simply find a good spot outside. Organize everything you need before you start, as you won’t want to have to keep nipping inside to grab something you need when you’re right in the middle of the job.
  2. Decide on your edge angle. Most riders need their boards sharpened to a 90-degree angle. This is the standard for beginner and intermediate snowboarders. Some people also opt for 89-, 88-, and 87-degree angles, but those are reserved for advanced riders.
  3. Work out what area of the board you need to sharpen. Only the concave section of your board’s edge needs sharpening. If you are unsure where to sharpen it, take your board and place it on a flat surface. If you have a camber board, the area to sharpen is where the board touches the ground. Never sharpen the ends of your snowboard because it will make the board extremely difficult to use.
  4. Mark the side edge of your board. With the permanent marker, draw down the side edge of your board. This is an easy way to indicate whether or not you have sharpened the whole edge.
  5. Make sure your edge sharpener is pointing in the right direction. Most sharpening tools only go one way, and they will indicate which direction you need to use them in. You need to sharpen your board in stroking motion from nose to tail.
  6. Sharpen your edge gently. Apply gentle pressure as you slide the edge sharpener along the edge of the board. You will need to do this a few times. When the black marker line on the edge is gone, the edge is sharpened enough.
  7. Test the sharpness of your edge. Lightly run your fingernail over the newly-sharpened edge. If some of your fingernail is scraped off, the edge is sharp enough.
  8. Sharpen the other edge of the board. Repeat this same process with the other edge of your board to make sure it is sharp and in good condition.
  9. Polish the edges of the board. Using a gummy stone, rub it along both of the edges of your board to remove any rust or imperfections. Doing this is not mandatory, but it is an excellent way to keep your board in tip-top shape and give it a slight boost in performance.

What Else Can You Do To Look After Your Snowboard?

Aside from keeping your snowboard sharpened properly, there are several other important things you can do to look after your snowboard. The good news is that you can easily do all of these things yourself with a little know-how.

Use a Sharpening Stone

Using a sharpening stone after each ride will help keep your snowboard’s edges fresh. At home, you can use a coarse grit diamond stone, a file, and a fine stone to get rid of any damage caused. You can also use a diamond stone in conjunction with a ceramic stone for side-tuning the base for a quick touch-up. 

Keep Your Board Nice and Dry

After riding, make sure you dry off your board correctly; otherwise, it can rust. Dry it with a cloth that you can easily store in your car or your bag. Wiping your board down with a cloth will also remove any dirt and debris. 

Store Your Board Properly

Don’t just shove all of your snowboarding gear in the garage when snowboarding season is over. Your board needs to be stored in a location that will not get too hot or too cold or run the risk of getting damp. It is best to keep your board somewhere indoors. You should also remove the bindings before storing the board because it will help maintain the board’s bend. 

Wax Your Board

Waxing your board protects the base, prevents rusting, and makes snowboarding itself a lot easier. You should wax your snowboard after every three or four rides, but you can do it more often if it seems like it is required. Waxing your snowboard is something that you can easily do at home quickly and inexpensively. 

Final Words

How well you take care of your snowboard directly relates to how good an experience you will have riding it. Keeping your snowboard sharpened not only ensures that it will last longer but also means that you will have a more fun and safer time out in the snow. 

Make sure to also look after your board, such as regularly waxing it and storing it in proper conditions. A well-maintained snowboard should last for years of fun out on the mountains.

Sources

Alltracks Academy: How to Sharpen Edges on your Snowboard

Tognar: How to Polish and Deburr Ski or Snowboard Edges

Motion Boardshop: How Often Do I Need to Get My Snowboard Waxed?

Frosty Rider: How Do You Know When Edges Need Sharpening?

Snowboarding Forum: How Often to Sharpen?

Ski Judge: How to Sharpen Snowboard Edges

Whitelines: How to Sharpen Your Snowboard Edges

Ski and Sport: Taking Care of Your Snowboard Between Sessions

The Snowboard Asylum: How to Store Your Snowboard Over Summer?

Mountain View Sports: Ski and Snowboard Tuning Rates

Nonstop Snow: How to Wax and Tune Your Snowboard at Home

Ryan Conner

Outdoor enthusiast with several years of snowboarding experience in the winters and watersports activities all summer. Living within 3 hours of 4 well-known ski resorts, I get plenty of board time from Nov-March every season.

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