How sharp and smooth are your edges? You can tell with a fingernail. Brush your nail lightly across the edge. If the edge is sharp, a slight amount of your nail will peel off.

Run your fingers up and down the edges. Do you feel rough spots? Ever tumble head-over-moguls when your edges got caught? Having rough edges is one reason you fell.

You can keep your edges reasonably sharp and remove minor burrs in a minute using a special edge file sold by ski shops. Every well-equipped ski shop can also quickly and professionally sharpen the edges of your skis, as well as remove minor gouges on the base, with a high-speed dry sand belt. If you didn’t have your edges sharpened and bases smoothed after your final run last spring, do so before your first run this winter.

It’s also advisable to have the ski shop sharpen your edges and remove minor scratches on your ski bottoms after every week to 10 days of skiing and, of course, immediately in the event of damage to the edges or gouges on the base.

Hot-waxing at the time the shop takes care of other problems is optional but highly recommended.

Deep cuts or scratches on a ski bottom could mean trouble. Moisture seeping in through a'cut can damage the interior of a ski. Get it patched.

I highly recommend a major tune-up after every several weeks of skiing. This includes edge sharpening on a wet sand belt, filling gouges on

the bottoms of the skis, a hot-wax job, and, of course, having the bindings calibrated.

While skiing, give your barrel staves a quickie hand-wax job every couple days with any of the general-purpose sprays or waxes, available in ski shops. The best are fluorocarbon waxes, which work in almost every snow condition, from ice to warm mush.

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