When you buy your first snowboard it will cut through hard packed snow with ease. However after several days riding, the edges will loose their factory sharpness.
The edges of your snowboard are vital for providing grip and allowing you to feel in control on the slopes. For aggressive riders, good edges allow for razor sharp carve turns and lightening quick speeds.
In order to get the best performance from your snowboard you need to regularly sharpen your snowboard edges. In this post, I provide a step by step guide to sharpening snowboard edges.
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How often should I sharpen my snowboard edges?
How often you sharpen your edges depends on how often you ride and the type of conditions you ride in. It’s generally advised to get your edges sharpened after 4 or 5 days on the snow, particularly if you ride on hard packed snow.
However, in reality this may be impractical or unnecessary if you’re blessed with mostly powder conditions. I tend to sharpen my snowboard edges just 2-3 times every winter season.
One way to check if your edges need sharpening is to carefully feel along the edge with your thumb. If it feels blunt or rounded off then it’s time to get them sharpened.
Also, when you’re riding you may find yourself washing out on hard pack if your edges are blunt.
At what angle should I sharpen my edges?
A standard edge tune is 90 degrees and this is good for all mountain conditions. For more aggressive carving or for riding on hard pack or icy conditions, set your edge for 89, 88 or 87 degrees.
The more acute your angles, the more bite your edge will have.
Can I sharpen my snowboard edges at home?
With the correct tools it’s quite straight forward to sharpen your snowboard edges at home. If you’re not confident or don’t have the tools, take your board to a store or rental shop.
Often rental shops use machines to sharpen edges. If this is the case they might not be able to sharpen a board with Magne Traction or a similar type of serrated edge. Boards with this type of serrated edge need to be sharpened by hand.
Pro Tip: If you have a serrated edge be sure to use a shorter snowboard tool that will fit in between the bumps. Lib Tech have their own specific tool (as pictured below) or Dakine have a mini tool which will also work.
Tools for sharpening snowboard edges
To sharpen your edges at home you will need the following tools:
If you plan on waxing your snowboard too, you might consider buying an all in one wax and sharpen tuning kit such as this one.
How to sharpen your snowboard edges at home
It’s easier to tune your snowboard without having the bindings on, so first take off the bindings and lay your board on a flat surface with the base facing up.
Step 1 – Use the file to take off any burrs and detune
First you want to use the file to de-tune the edges on the tip and tail of your snowboard. You only want sharp edges between the contact points as this is where the edge cuts in and holds the turn. Beyond that edges don’t serve any purpose other than to trip you up!
So from the widest point out to very tip and from the widest point to the very tail feel free to use the file to round off the edge. Do this by holding the file at 45 degrees and file down towards the ground.
Then gently feel along the base edge of your snowboard and feel for any burrs/rough parts or rust. At these points hold the file flat against the base of the board and gently file along the edge until smooth.
Step 2 – Use the edging tool to put the edge back onto your snowboard
Set the edge tool to your desired angle. For regular riding 90 degrees is fine. If you’re unsure about how much edge to take off, mark the side edge with a magic marker. Once the marker is gone from all parts of the edge, your edge will be complete.
The edge tool will only work in one direction and will likely have an arrow to indicate which direction that is.
Working in one direction from tip to tail, run the edge tool along the length of your snowboard. Sharpen from the widest point on the nose to the widest point on the tail.
Apply pressure to the tool, pushing against the edge as you drag the tool along the snowboard. It should feel like it’s “cutting” as it sharpens the edge. Run the tool over the edge 2 or 3 times. The final pass should feel smooth rather than cutting.
Carefully feel the edge to check the sharpness. If you run your nail over the edge and some nail fragments scrape off, you know the edge is sharp enough. Run the rag along the snowboard edge to remove shards of metal.
Step 3 – Use the stone to smooth out the edges
Once you’ve finished sharpening the snowboard edge, use a stone to gently rub along the base edge and the side edge. This will scrub out any imperfections left by the tool.
Once you have finished sharpening your edges you can move onto the next step in snowboard tuning which is waxing.