Who knew ski/snowboard tuning was such an art? I didn’t – until I was introduced to Summit Lodge & Spa’s very own in-house ski/board tuning technician, Yohann Sheetz – owner and hands-on technician of Underground Tuning Ski & Snowboard. A new addition to the personalized services Whistler Summit Lodge & Spa offers.
Born out of ingenuity and an understanding of good customer service, Underground Tuning made its debut years ago in the underground parking lot of The Listel (hence the name). According to Yohann, a guest of the hotel (where he worked at the time) asked him to arrange having their skis waxed. The guests gave Yohann a bit of money for the job. Instead of taking it to a tuning shop however, Yohann knew he was capable himself and decided to purchase a block of wax and an old iron. The guests were very pleased with the quick turn-around and quality of the job. So, with the same block of wax, he offered the service to other guests that were passing through and the response was excellent. People obviously liked having their skis tuned from within their own hotel, and the by-hand approach offered good quality. From there he struck a deal with the hotel to offer the service and he set up shop in the underground parking lot.
He worked through The Listel for a couple of years until the circumstances (and management) of the Listel changed, and he decided to take some time, do some travelling and visit his home in Quebec. Shortly after his return to Whistler, he was approached by Summit Lodge to offer the same service on location within the hotel. He explained that he was happy to do so – as several former customers had expressed disapointment from not being able to receive his service and the new location in the secure equipment locker is a lot better than an underground parking lot!
Now, I’m not going to pretend that I am an expert in this field, so when I asked Yohann what makes his little operation different from the bigger shops in town – he explained the technical process. In simple terms, bigger tuning stores use a machine to wax skis and boards and this process isn’t ideal for longevity and performance.
However, it wasn’t this process that got my attention – but how all of his motivations seemed to be rooted in good old fashioned customer service. He antidotally noted that he prides himself on remembering which skis & boards belong to which guest – he jokes that it’s a good thing because guests often forget their room number. He also mentioned how it pleases him to know that the locker is secure and that his customers equipment is safe.
When asked if he has plans to expand, Yohann says that he is content with the size of his operation as it allows him to be a one-man (plus dog) operation and that each ski or board that passes through his door, receives his individual attention. As a result of the pride in his work, Yohann has built a loyal following of customers who have followed him from The Listel underground to his new location here at Summit Lodge & Spa.
Once I spoke to Yohann, it was no surprise to me that Summit Lodge & Spa snapped him up the first chance they got. Not only is he truly a nice guy, but his dedication to quality work and overall genuine customer service, is in keeping with everything that embodies the ideals and mission of a truly Boutique Hotel experience and that of Whistler Summit Lodge & Spa. So go visit him, and treat your equipment to the best service available in Whistler!
Yohann’s Waxing Tips:
1) Wax new equipment. Off the shelf products are machine tuned and waxed, a process that is simply inferior to hand waxing – this will greatly increase the life span of the product.
2) Wax your equipment often. I asked around and the norm for waxing seems to be a couple of times a season – when really they should be waxed every 4 – 5 uses. When the equipment has not been waxed the underside loses its ability to maintain the wax and creates a porous surface that does not hold the wax evenly. This will lead to premature decay of the underside resulting in lost performance and life span.
Underground Tuning Ski & Snowboard Info:
Located in the entrance way of the Summit Lodge & Spa
Drop Off: 2 – 7 PM or call for other times.