By Imogen Whale
Before moving to Revelstoke, the aptly named Dougal Pow spent nine years chasing winters.
The New Zealand-born-and-raised Pow travelled the United States and New Zealand, timing his travels to get back-to-back winters. Working wherever he landed, Pow has been involved in everything from managing ski shops and retail to being a ski tech.
“During the economic crunch a few years back, the U.S. stopped issuing visas,” Pow explained, “And I had actually heard of Revelstoke while riding a lift in Colorado, so I thought I would come check it out.”
Pow spent his first winter in town soaking up the community and exploring Revelstoke Mountain Resort. When he moved to town permanently for the winter of 2012/13, Pow worked at the resort as the retail/repair supervisor.
That was four years ago. Since then, Pow has opened The Wax Bench at 106 Orton Avenue, where he offers a variety of services for skis and boards.
“I saw the tuning packages out there, and I saw the demand for high-end tuning and repairs for skis and boards,” said Pow.
From a high-end tune to de-laminations and major repairs, to finishing local products from Trapper Snowboards and Bigbend Skis, Pow has it covered. With such a breadth of knowledge for the hardware, Pow has some simple advice for getting your gear ready for the slopes.
First thing is to dig out your ski boots, recommends Pow.
“Check to make sure the ones you plan on using are a good fit with the binding, and that the DIN is set correctly,” Pow advised.
A poor fit in your binding or incorrect or faulty din is more likely to cause you injury.
“We actually have a tool for calibrating the din; testing the release at the value the din says it’s at,” said Pow.
Second, cast an appraising eye over your skis or board. Are there obvious aberrations on the base? Do your edges have rust or nicks?
“Some flaws on your edges are really noticeable, but sometimes it takes someone who has seen thousands of edges to tell it’s not uniform.”
Edges, Pow noted, are integral to your steering and brakes.
“A lot of injuries happen those first couple days back,” said Pow. “Because when your edges are in poor condition, your ski or board becomes unpredictable, it doesn’t always do what you expect when you expect it.”
Pow’s third recommendation is to wax. If you are new to it, stick with an early season all temperature wax.
“It’s a safe bet,” said Pow. “For performance athletes, waxing can increase speed. But mostly it isn’t about that. It’s about making it glide better on flatter aspects and bringing you up to your top speed more quickly.”
The fourth and final step in getting ready is actually getting out and hitting the slopes.
“It’s time to really pay attention to your ride,” said Pow. “Do the edges feel like they are catching, or that you are braking slower than expected? Did your bindings release when they shouldn’t have?”
The key to a great, injury free day is predictability in your equipment, and the key to predictability is tuning. If you have any questions or are disinclined to tune your own equipment, check out one of the several stops in town that can help, or stop in at The Wax Bench, where Pow is more than happy to help.
Check out www.thewaxbench.com for pricing and services.