How to Determine the Correct Angle for Your Ski Edges

Published by Harry Sowers on

There are many different parts to skis, and each piece directly affects how the ski moves, how smooth or difficult it is to turn, and the max speed a skier can achieve, among many other things. Even the angle of a ski edge can completely change the performance of a pair of skis. But the angle of a ski edge is not permanent and wears down, and it can change by using the skis. Plus, you can change it by yourself by manipulating the ski edge. But what is a ski edge, and how do we know what angle is best for the type of skin that we do?

What Is A Ski Edge?

There are two strips of metal underneath every ski that run from the front to the tail end of the ski. These long metal strips are called ski edges. They are vital because skis edges can affect the performance of the skier. The edges are made of steel, so they are stable, but they can still be damaged, especially in a collision with a rock or a tree or another skier. In addition to the sharpness of a ski edge, the angle of the ski Edge will also affect how hard or easy they are to maneuver.

What Is Ski Edge Damage And What Causes It?

Because of how intense skiing is on to the human body and a pair of skis, you should expect your edges to be damaged once in a while. The only way to prevent damage is never to ski. Depending on the type of damage a ski develops, it can buff out easily, or a ski shop will have to do some serious repairs. If your ski edges are damaged, you should not continue being with them until completely fixed. Skiing with damaged skis can ruin them further. Plus, trying to maneuver in the snow with a pair of damaged skis is not easy, and you will have a harder time picking up speed, and turning,

Ski edges develop damage in several ways. The first way a ski edge develops damage is from use. When you regularly use your skis, the ski edges’ edges turn blunt and need to be resharpened. Another way skis are damaged is if the skier performs many tricks with them and comes into contact with solid objects. This is one big reason why skiers who practice tricks as the primary form of skiing have to maintain their skis’ edges constantly. If a skier tries to do tricks with unsharp edges, it will be more difficult for them to perform the trick as they can lose their balance. Another method of damage, one that we mentioned above, is collisions and accidents. Since the metal edges are at the bottom of the keys, they are more prone to damage if you go over rocky terrain or collide with rocks or trees. 

How To See Ski Edge Damage?

Ski edge damage can be seen with the naked eye. All you need is a well-lit area and perhaps a flashlight. Pick up and place your skis on a table. Take one of the skis and flip them over to see the ski edge. Take your index finger and slide it along the entirety of the ski edge. You will be able to feel any nicks or dents the edges have developed from skiing. Don’t forget to use the flashlight to provide extra illumination. Sometimes, the edges of a ski have so much damage that it is evident upon first sight. 

Once you see that you have ski edge damage, you need to take your skis in for a tune-up. As a rule, you should already take your skis into the ski shop or winter sports store every 20 to 25 days that you use your skis. If you do have damage and you do not see it, regularly scheduled maintenance can protect you. The repair person you hire to tune up your skis is trained to see edge damage, and they will alert you if your skis need more than just a tune-up.

What Should My Ski Edge Angle Be?

ski edge angle diagram

How To Find Ski Edge Angle

There are two different edges that you must tune to an angle, the side edge and the base edge. The best ski edge angle depends on the type of skiing that you do. 

The base edge is usually 0 to 2 degrees while the side edge is 85 to 90 degrees. 

If you are a beginner, choose 90° for the side edge and the base edge of 0.5 to 1°. As you develop your skiing skills and change your skiing, you will need to change the base and side edge. 

Most skiers are all Mountain skiers, and so they practice with a base edge of 0.75 degrees and a side edge of 88 degrees. 

If you are the type of skier that likes to do tricks, you’ll most likely choose a base edge of 2 degrees and a side edge of 88 degrees.

If you are not sure what kind of ski edge angle is best for you, you can always consult a skiing expert or visit a skiing forum for the specific type of thing that you do.

How To Determine Ski Edge Angle

best ski edge angles

Determining the angle of a ski edge is not hard, but it does take some practice. If you are a beginning skier, now is the perfect time to learn how to do this. It does require the one who is determining the angle to have good attention to detail. You’ll need a small tool; It is called an edge angle sharpener, and it will help you change the angle of your ski and sharpen the ski edge. 

This tool can help you measure the angle of your ski after using your skis a few times. This is important because detangles wear down and change with use, so the sharp and fresh ski angle that you change on Monday could be gone by the time Sunday rolls around, and you have to re-edge your skis. 


Edges are one small component that makes up a ski, but they are vital, so it is best not to neglect to find a ski angle. Different side and base angles can determine how easy or difficult it is to grip the ice and turn. 

Categories: How toSki


Harry Sowers

Harry grew up outside of Denver Colorado and has been skiing and snowboarding since he was 3. He is most passionate about skiing and when he was in college at UC Boulder he even participated in the olympic trials for the USA Olympic Downhill Ski team.