Friday, December 2, 2016

When to Stone Grind Skis

When to Stone Grind Skis

Skis are subject to damage every time you ski on them or wax them, or just leave them sitting around; it really is a no-win situation.   Abrasive skiing conditions, heat from wax irons, and exposure to air all cause degradation to your ski bases.    The performance of your skis is greatly affected by the condition of the P-Tex, and the surface condition of your skis.
The Mantec grinder at Nordic Ultratune.

If your skis have base damage, they can be improved with a fresh grind.   Any of these symptoms can be remedied with a new base finish from Nordic Ultratune:
  • Surface scratches
  • Over-heated, oxidized, dried out
  • Skis won’t hold wax
  • No longer flat – convex or concave
  • No structure remaining
  • Skis just aren’t fast like they used to be…

In addition, you can choose the base structure that you need – whether it’s an all-around structure for your one-and-only pair of skis, or a special purpose grind for specific snow conditions.
            

Why Grind New Skis?
The bases of new skis are better than they’ve ever been in the past!   However, your new skis have probably been sitting in a warehouse for the better part of a year.    Occasionally new skis have dried-out, oxidized base material before you ever ski on them.  It’s also common for new skis to have a very aggressive structure on the base which is slow for all but wet or icy conditions.    Sometimes new skis have scratches and often brand-new skis aren’t perfectly flat.   

Here are some conditions that you may find on new skis that can be improved with a fresh base finish from Nordic Ultratune:

  • Oxidized or dried-out bases
  • Convex or concave areas on the ski base
  • Structure that’s too aggressive
  • Surface scratches
  • Some new skis don’t hold wax well

With a new base finish from Ultratune, you choose the base structure you need, and get great glide right from the start.



The Ultratune Process

The dry outermost layer of P-Tex is removed by hand with a diamond-sharpened cobalt steel scraper

Flattening: Each ski is processed through the Mantec Stone Grinder programmed to “blank” the ski and inspected after each pass until it is flat and uniform.   This is typically 2 to 4 passes through the Mantec grinder, depending on the condition of your ski.  This makes a very smooth surface upon which to create the final base structure

Structure:  The stone grinding wheel is programmed for your base structure, and the ski is passed through the machine to apply the base finish that you have selected.  In the case of multi-part grinds, the Mantec grinding wheel has to be re-dressed between each stage of the process.   

Chemical-cleaning: To prepare the ski for waxing, the ski bases are hand cleaned with a chemical cleaner to remove any emulsion or microscopic particles of P-Tex remaining on the ski after grinding

Wax:  All skis get a coat of a warm penetrating base conditioning wax.   

Hot-Box Wax Service:  A generous layer of a penetrating warm wax is coated onto the ski and the skis are placed in the hot-box for 90 minutes to 4 hours

Monday, November 28, 2016

Brown Ground Brings Me Down

I'm always quick to post shots of early season snow, almost to the point of gloating.   Guilty.  

So I feel like it's my duty to confess to a sad state of (almost) brown ground here in town.   Winthrop and Mazama are looking a little dreary.

The past couple years we've been graced with abundant early snow, but right now I'm looking out the window at maybe 1/2 inch of white.   Not even enough to hide the brown frozen mud beneath it.

The weather forecasters let us down last week!    Forecasts of snow and more snow were a total dud, with temperatures about 10 degrees warmer than planned and we got nothing but rain and more rain.  It would be easy to blame it on Cliff Mass, but he's just the weatherman...

As I've been telling folks who have been walking into Ultratune in search of some reassurance and "low snow support", right now we aren't really late for snow (by historical measure) but we're definitely not early either.

The beautiful snow up at Washington Pass is unaccessible now, with the highway closed for the winter.     We are definitely at the end of the road for the next few months!

Meanwhile new skis are getting prepped and sent out the door (or picked up in the shop), and stone grinding continues.  

The stoke is high for winter, but the trails aren't open here in town just yet.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

More snow means better skiing!

Washington Pass got another foot and a half of snow this week, along with cooler temperatures.    Although it's just a small loop to ski on, you cannot complain about the skiing!   It's beautiful!

Washington Pass, Nov 16th
Photo credit: T Ross

Not to mention views of Liberty Bell Spires as a backdrop for skiing the tedious (not) loops.
Liberty Bell Spires casts a shadow over the
groomed loop.   Photo: T Ross

Stone Grinding Schedule


 
You've been training this to get the most from your skiing, so make sure your skis aren't a limiter.

Prepare all of your skis to run their best with a fresh grind and hotbox service. At Nordic Ultratune, a grind batch starts every Thursday and those skis are ready for shipping on the following Monday -- just 4 days later.

Return shipping is by FedEx.  So, typically skis that are shipped out on Monday will arrive back to you on Thursday.

Here's the upcoming service schedule at Nordic Ultratune. Use these dates to make sure you get your skis ready before your most important races.
  • Skis in for grinding by Nov 17th will ship out on Nov 21st.
  • Skis in for grinding by Nov 25th will ship out on Nov 28th
  • Skis in for grinding by Dec 1st will ship out on Dec 5th.
  • Skis in for grinding by Dec 8th will ship out on Dec 12th.
  • Skis in by Dec 15th will ship out on Dec 19th.
Shop hours:
  • The shop s open from 11-5 on Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon every week.    Closed on Tues & Wed.
If you're in the Methow Valley, stop in and say Hi!  You can check out the selection of Madshus, Atomic and Rossignol skis and boots, and extensive supply of wax for glide or grip.

It's time for getting your skis ready for the season!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

On Snow in Washington State

A pretty significant dump of snow arrived mid-week in the North Cascades.    Two feet at Washington Pass is enough to get die-hard skiers out to do laps one a 1km loop!

I took the opportunity to try the new Madshus Nanosonic Intelligrip skis.    This is a lot lighter than their Terrasonic IGS, and feels like a real race ski on my feet.     Decent grip and glide for a "first day on skis" for the year; no complaints!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Ski season!

Snow has arrived in the mountains - two feet at Washington Pass with some basic grooming starting today.  With a little luck I'll get out to ski tomorrow morning before opening the shop;  skiing on Oct 22nd is a pretty decent start!

Ultratune has kicked into high gear, with a lot of new skis arriving in the past couple of weeks, and grinding work humming along.

Nordic Ultratune's grinding schedule will be as follows during the early season:
  • Skis in for grinding by Oct 20th will ship out on Oct 24th.
  • Skis in for grinding by Oct 27th will ship out on Monday Oct 31st.
  • Skis in for grinding by November 3rd will ship out on November 7th
  • Skis in for grinding by Nov 10 will ship out on Nov 14th.
  • Skis in for grinding by Nov 17th will ship out on Nov 21st.
Shop hours:
  • The shop s open from 11-5 on Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon every week.    Closed on Tues & Wed.
If you're in the Methow Valley, stop in and say Hi!  You can check out the selection of Madshus, Atomic and Rossignol skis and boots, and extensive supply of wax for glide or grip.

It's time for getting your skis ready for the season!



Saturday, March 12, 2016

Late Season Grinding Schedule

With the best snow in the Northwest that I've seen in a few years, and great skiing all over the west, and especially in the Methow Valley, things have been pretty busy.

While things are definitely turning toward
spring, with longer days and warmer temps, the skiing is still great here.

Nordic Ultratune's grinding schedule will be as follows during the late season:
  • Skis in for grinding by March 10th will ship out on Monday March 14th.
  • Skis in for grinding by March 17th will ship out on Monday March 21st.
  • Skis in for grinding by March 24th will ship out on March 28th
  • Skis in for grinding by March 31st will ship out on April 4th.
  • Skis in for grinding by April 7th will ship out on April 11th.
Shop hours:
  • The shop s open from 11-5 on Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon every week.    Closed on Tues & Wed.
If you're in the Methow Valley, stop in and say Hi!  You can check out the selection of Madshus, Atomic and Rossignol skis, and extensive supply of wax for glide or grip.

It's time for getting your skis ready for next season, or for just enjoying the great late winter conditions!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Brian Gregg earns WC start for Davos 30K

Brian got a call notifying him that he has been selected for a discretionary start slot at the World Cup 30K individual start.  

This notification came just a couple days after winning the 15K skate race at West Yellowstone on Saturday.

Congratulations to Brian Gregg!