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New Volkl Kenjas skiing awful after first tune--and a rant about misogyny

GlassFast

Diva in Training
#1
Hi fellow skiers! I need some help. I am very distressed and irritated. Sorry for the long post. TLDR: new kenjas skied 7 times on 3 different mountains with a range of snow got their first full tune up. Now I can barely ski them. Guy at ski shop said I bought too much ski for my ability. Except that previously I was crushing blacks and making my way down non-groomed bowls. Are my skis ruined? Is he right and I suck??? I've read several threads here about this issue, but I can't stop ruminating so I thought I'd start a new one. Skiing has been a key source of managing my anxiety this year--I'm set to do a solo week-long ski fest in Mammoth next week, including a $$$ private lesson to get better at off-piste. Yesterday I could barely get down a green/blue. I am so heartbroken. I fill silly saying this about skis, but whatever. Specific questions I'd like help with at bottom. Thanks ladies!!

Longer explanation: these are my first pair of skis, so i admit I know nothing about tuning. I allowed myself to be talked down to and patronized yesterday because I don't know. I did extensive research on various skis and demoed different skis before buying. I waited a long time to buy because I was getting better and better every year. Once I got solidly "advanced" I felt comfortable investing in a ski that I could handle and grow into. I loved the kenjas when I demoed them. It was like riding a porsche. They turned on a dime, were responsive, sporty, bouncy, didn't skid. I felt solid and secure, yet I went faster than with any other ski. I tried some skis that were too easy and boring. Other skis were "too much ski." I had to focus and really work them. So I KNOW WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE. My newly tuned kenjas were not like that at all. No one I talked to would believe me. I was told I probably needed a lesson. No joke. Then I got a 15-minute lecture on the impact of snow conditions on skiing. Really? As if that hadn't yet occurred to me in the 15 years I've been actively pursuing advanced ski skills.

After a few runs yesterday I took the skis to the mountain repair guy. He ran them over the waxing thing (forget terms) and ironed the tips/tails. That made about a 50% improvement. But my badass skis were still not right. The guy said there is nothing wrong with them. That the edges are super sharp. He blamed the conditions (I was at snow summit in SoCal: super hard pack with ice underneath, some big balls of ice that had been groomed, but with the 40-degree weather the snow softened up a lot). My skis previously laughed at hard pack. I never had a problem with icy patches at Snow Summit before (or mammoth or tahoe where I skied earlier this year). I promise you guys, it was not the conditions--the weren't that bad! I'm trying to find the right words to describe the post-tune performance:
grippy (mostly fixed with new wax), rocketing into turns too soon instead of midway, slow, less control on ice, have to press with thighs super hard to get tight fast turns but i still couldnt get them as tight/fast as before, tails spinning out just a tad whereas before they were quiet

So I took the skis back to the shop in the OC that tuned them. The owner told me they tune back to factory settings and have the same equipment as Voelkl. He told me he used to be a ski intsructor and it was probably how I skied them--completely ignoring that I told him I've taken these very skis out on a range of conditions before. He didn't do anything beside check how sharp the edges were. and just ignored me. Another man told me to get lessons and gave me tips about leaning forward more. I still don't know exactly what was done to my skis in this $65 tune.

I can't be that bad, right? Snow can't turn someone who can go down blacks into someone who can barely get down a green?
A full tune can fundamentally change the performance of a ski, right? Why are these guys telling me they've never, ever heard of a situation like mine? I read on other forums that this can happen.
I'm not buying that all I need is a detuning--they guy whose shop tuned them said they were detuned to factory specs. Was he just fobbing me off?
I'm going be back at Mammoth, where I bought them and will ask them to fix. What should I specifically ask for? How should I describe the problem? I don't want to be ignored and patronized again!
What could have been done to the skis to result in this radical deterioration of performance?
I read the post in another thread about bevel settings. I feel like this is the problem. Can a new shop redo the current crazy sharp edges so there's a bevel? (a fellow customer told me the shop who did my tune does not bevel edges. I didn't know what that meant at the time, but if so, that's outrageous and obviously the problem. but maybe I still don't understand).
If the second shop can't get them fixed, are they ruined? I would want to buy new ones if that's the case because I LOVED mine pre-tune. is this stupid? would new ones behave this way after their first tune?
 
#2
That the edges are super sharp.
Did anyone mention "de-tuning" them? I once had a full tune on my skis and felt I could not ski them at all. They kept "catching"...... took them back to the shop and was told they were "razor sharp" and needed to be de-tuned. Fixed that problem.
Oops I see that was mentioned but honestly it fixed my problem. Why would you want razor sharp skis at Mammoth? I'm a Tahoe skier and have been skiing for decades.
 

GlassFast

Diva in Training
#3
Thanks santacruz skier for your perspective. I honestly dont know what's going on! I asked the shop owner over 3 times if the skis should be detuned. I asked specifically if they were too sharp. He said there's no such thing in skiing as too sharp and said detuning is a personal preference/customization. All 3 men said separately that the edges were very sharp, but no one suggested they were too sharp. The implication was that if I thought they were too sharp, then I couldn't handle the ski.
 
#4
I believe you. If you read old threads about this, you will probably saw that once after a tune I ended up with un-skiable skis. Dangerously unskiable. I took them to FanatykCo at Whistler and they told me that I was probably just out of shape. :mad2: My husband de-tuned my tips and tails after watching a You Tube video on it and voila, all was solved.

I hope someone can figure out what is going on and that can recommend a shop in Mammoth or SoCal where they aren't all patronizing a**holes, and that you leave 1-star Yelp reviews on all of these businesses.
 
#5
Thanks santacruz skier for your perspective. I honestly dont know what's going on! I asked the shop owner over 3 times if the skis should be detuned. I asked specifically if they were too sharp. He said there's no such thing is skiing as too sharp and said detuning is a personal preference/customization. All 3 men said separately that the edges were very sharp, but no one suggested they were too sharp. The implication was that if I thought they were too sharp, then I couldn't handle the ski.
That's BS. Go somewhere else. Although, I had the Volkl Kenja's from 2011 and they are a pretty stiff ski. I have heard the Kenja today is not as stiff or demanding as the older ones. Still, if you skied them fine before the tune, it's the tune. I'm sure other divas will chime in.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
So, you've skied this exact pair of ski several times and loved them, then got them tuned, and felt like you could barely ski?

Then yes, there is an issue with the tune. My husband has been tuning professionally for 23 years. When my skis get tuned, they feel like butter. Just that much more precise and smooth. He did have a machine malfunction a couple years ago (unbeknownst to him) and happened to tune both of our skis in a batch that ended up with some wonky edges. I skied them and commented how horribly I had skied that day. Then he took his out...and quickly realized something was amiss.

Long story short, yes, you can get them fixed easily, but I don't think I'd trust that shop. Any shop can screw things up, but the technician is very important. I'd call a shop in Mammoth and see about dropping them off the evening prior. Most shops will turn around over night if you drop off by a certain time. You could also have the ski tech there look at them. It's not hard to see bad structure or hanging burrs on the edges.
 

NewEnglandSkier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
I'm not a tuning expert, but it does sound like a bad tune--or least one not to your liking--which is ultimately what is important.
I would take them to a different shop and not waste any more time on the shop that is talking down to you. If detuning the tips and tails didn't work then get them re-tuned at a shop that will listen to what you are telling them.
 

cskis88

Certified Ski Diva
#8
Thanks santacruz skier for your perspective. I honestly dont know what's going on! I asked the shop owner over 3 times if the skis should be detuned. I asked specifically if they were too sharp. He said there's no such thing in skiing as too sharp and said detuning is a personal preference/customization. All 3 men said separately that the edges were very sharp, but no one suggested they were too sharp. The implication was that if I thought they were too sharp, then I couldn't handle the ski.
BS. My first tune on my Blizzards resulting in terribly hooky tails, so I got the advice from the guys at Blister Reviews to de-tune and haven't had the edges sharpened since. And I do like to carve, but I can still do that just fine on the de-tuned Blizzards. I'll find the link to another thread on this and share what I learned. I had to buy a gummy stone, but that was it. Whole process took less than five minutes.

On another note, ski patrollers (according to my brother) never sharpen their edges... so there's that to consider.
 
#9
I agree that you should take them elsewhere. Like Contesstant said, a good ski tech can see any problems by just looking. Listen to what they say. Find someone that can explain what might be going on to your satisfaction. Then have them fix it. I ski the 2018 (2017?) Kenja and love them! Hopefully a good shop in Mammoth can get you sorted. My friend took hers last year to the shop on the access road on the right about half way up — I think the tuning shop was upstairs. They fixed hers great for her and she had sort of the same problem — bad tune. You’ll be fine. Good luck!
 

cskis88

Certified Ski Diva
#10
This was what the guy at Blister Review recommended:
I would try detuning them a bit. We have seen some hooky behavior on the men's version and a bit of detune on the tips and tails helped out. I would take a gummy stone and make about 10 aggressive passes at a 45 degree angle on the last ~6-10" of edge on the tips and tails.

I used this video, and problem was completely solved and I felt like I had my new skis back:
 
#11
He said there's no such thing in skiing as too sharp and said detuning is a personal preference/customization. All 3 men said separately that the edges were very sharp, but no one suggested they were too sharp. The implication was that if I thought they were too sharp, then I couldn't handle the ski.
These guys are idiots, I’d give up on that shop...not worth the frustration. Everything seems to point to your skis needing a bit of a detune or that shop completely botched the tune. The former being more probable. Either search YouTube for some instructional videos and take it on yourself to detune the skis, or take them to another shop, explain the situation and you were hoping they could take a look at them.
 

GlassFast

Diva in Training
#13
Thanks everyone! My anxiety is plummeting. This is all very reassuring. Still some lingering questions: What about the shop saying they did detune the skis--to factory specs? Also what about the belief that modern skis don't need detuning? More BS? I see a theme building.

I demoed the skis and bought them from Footloose in Mammoth. I called the shop and told them about the problem and they think they can sort them for me overnight before my first run. Fingers crossed. Hopefully I get a guy who will *listen* to me.
 

GlassFast

Diva in Training
#14
This was what the guy at Blister Review recommended:
I would try detuning them a bit. We have seen some hooky behavior on the men's version and a bit of detune on the tips and tails helped out. I would take a gummy stone and make about 10 aggressive passes at a 45 degree angle on the last ~6-10" of edge on the tips and tails.

I used this video, and problem was completely solved and I felt like I had my new skis back:
Thanks! If I get my skis sorted I think I will take the time to learn how to tune and detune them myself.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#16
Sounds like the tune to me. Lots of info before me. But look into getting your own kit. Even if you don't tune, at least you will have a straight edge and can determine what's going on.

I always detune the tips back to the end of the tip shape. That way the tip edge doesn't catch.
 
#17
I see that everyone has already said it, but it's worth repeating:

It's not you!

My former S.O. tunes skis (and has for many decades), and he reports appalling things going on in these shops. And appalling sexist things. I, too, have been in the position of being new and being mansplained and pushed around by men (and boys) in the shops, and it's insulting and demeaning and so unprofessional! And common.

I don't know what is wrong with the tune(s) you got, but I do know that what you describe is a problem with the tune, or in some way with the skis (I mention this to be fair to the misogynist jerks in the shops).

leave 1-star Yelp reviews on all of these businesses.
Amen. There is far too much of this crap going on in the ski industry. I recommend a letter to the owners/managers, bad reviews on Google and Tripadvisor as well as Yelp, and telling all your friends. (And you have a lot of new friends here!) Practice talking like a badass skier (that you are), not like a newbie to the tuning world (even though you are) and stand up to these bad people.

I'm so tired of hearing about the bullying of women customers. We need to build our own shops!
 
#18
So I took the skis back to the shop in the OC that tuned them. The owner told me they tune back to factory settings and have the same equipment as Voelkl. He told me he used to be a ski intsructor and it was probably how I skied them--completely ignoring that I told him I've taken these very skis out on a range of conditions before.
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(no offense meant to the ski instructors here)
 
#19
What about the shop saying they did detune the skis--to factory specs? Also what about the belief that modern skis don't need detuning? More BS? I see a theme building.
Saying that they detune to factory specs, but then also said that modern skis don't need detuning, is completely contradictory. They might have meant that they use the manufacturers' original base/edge angles, and sharpen to those specs...which would make sense.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
I’m glad Footloose is where you bought them and that they can hopefully take care of them for you.

Taking some sharpness off in front of and behind the rocker point can help, but in my experience, having the tips and tails sharp makes them feel a little grabby or “hooky” but won’t make them feel horrible once you’re on edge. Your experience to me sounds like a crappy structure or a hanging burr on the edge, but for your sake, I hope I’m wrong! Speaking of which, what do the bases look like? They should have a nice repetitive pattern you can see when looking at them at an angle. I’ve seen shops “blank” the skis (it’s the beginning process of grinding then structuring the bases) then not finish the job. This makes for a horrible experience while skiing.

This is an example of a good structure. There are different structures that can be used, so don’t think they all look like this.

C8835057-CA80-42DA-994A-DA9CCD3BBAC0.jpeg