Finally! The season is almost here, and your brand new board is sitting by idly, not-so-patiently waiting for the resorts to get a little more of that sacred white stuff, and open up at least a few early season runs. But...Is your board ready? Sure, it looks nice, and it has all of the latest and greatest technology, but what's the real story? Do factories send out their boards ready to ride or do they still need a little luv'n before they are really prepped for the hill?
The answer will depend on the type of riding you intend to do, your ability level, and the type of snow you will be riding on. These days, all high quality board factories own some of the best finishing machinery that the snowsports industry has ever seen. That is to say that your board's base will come perfectly ground, flat, true, and with an exceptional all purpose base and finish wax job. Additionally, the edges will be sharpened to perfection, and pre beveled to the specs of the designers (we will go over edge bevel in detail in a future post, but the short story is that bevel refers to the angle of the edge in relation to the flat base). So, in short, your board will never be more perfectly tuned than when it arrives.
Sounds pretty great, right? Well in many cases, it is great, and nothing more needs to be done. BUT...don't stop reading quite yet, cuz that may not be the whole story for you.
Snowboard factories do not know the conditions that you will be riding in when they manufacture their boards. The same model may sell to a lucky rider who is getting Valdez face-shot powder days and to a Big Bear rider who may be dealing with warm weather slush and crud. Why is this important? The wax they put on your board will be all temperature wax. "All Temperature" is actually a bad name for it, because what it really means is middle temperature. This wax has no greater temperature range than warm or cold wax, it is simply more neutral. Soooo, if you are going to be riding in very warm or very cold weather, you will benefit from getting a temperature specific wax job.
Additionally, not all riders are going to want perfectly sharpened edges all the way 'round their new board. Along with the comments we made above on beveling, some riders will find that the ultra sharp edges that come on their new board are just too much. Who does this apply to, and why? Edges are there to help us carve on snow. This is especially important when the snow is hardpack or worse even, snow's ugly cousin, ice. In those instances, sharp edges help us bite into the slippery-slick-stuff and maintain control. But, sharp edges can tend to grab unexpectedly (especially for newer riders) and can be the source of some frustration. Furthermore, some freestylers who are focused on riding rails, trees, boxes etc. choose to "detune" their rails on a portion of (or all of) their board. This very specific type of riding can make for some spectacular wipeouts when, for instance, a heelside rail, catches on a kinked railing and sends the unsuspecting rider for the slam of his life. For this reason, some riders will take a file to their edges and round them off. This will help with one very specific problem, but it should be noted that it will hurt in all other areas of performance and most importantly, it cannot be reversed.
So what is the bottom line suggestion? Go ride! Unless you have a specific reason to do something special to your new board, don't do a thing. Get the bindings mounted up and adjusted for your boots...and hit the snow!