A structure minimizes the friction between the base and the snow by breaking suction.
Structure needs to be small grooves when snow temps are cold, and they need to be bigger when snow temps start to warm up.
In cold, dry snow you want to increase the amount of water present between ski and snow for maximum glide. You do this by increasing the friction between the ski base and the snow. By increasing the volume of base that touches the snow, you increase friction...so; you want to have lots of grooves. The more, the better. To increase the number of grooves, they have to be small (.5 mm between ridges or less).
The best way to create structure on your skis/snowboard base is using a stone grinder. But, there are ways to obtain some structuring using a couple of hand techniques. You have to hand sand the ski bases with increasingly fine grades of sandpaper...start with 120, and work your way to 220. Use a sanding block to keep the bases flat. Follow up the sanding by rubbing the skis down with a Scotch-Brite pad to remove p-tex hairs that resulted from sanding. You will be able to obtain a lineal structure.
In warm, wet snow you have the reverse problem. Too much friction creates too much water which sucks your skis/snowboard to the snow. Now you need coarser structure, we want to try for grooves spaced .75 mm apart or more. Now we work with 80 grit or even 60 grit sandpaper. Another way is to use the edge of a file, or by brushing with a stiff, sharp-bristled steel wire brush. Remember to use the Scotch Brite pad once more.
Structure eventually wears down. How long it lasts depends on the frequency with which you ski and also on snow conditions.
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