Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Changing Seasons

On Saint Patrick's Day, two weeks ago, I was skiing on perfect corduroy in Foster's Field, at the base of Flagg Mountain, in Mazama. Today that same field is brown ground. Spring has sprung.

With spring's arrival comes a change in schedule at Nordic Ultratune.

During the spring and summer, service work goes on as usual but on a more relaxed schedule. The shop will not have regular hours during the spring, and drop-offs and pick-ups should be arranged in advance (call - I'll be happy to meet you at the shop). You can reach me by email or leave a message at the shop (509) 996-4145 and I'll get back to you.

So, yes it's still a good time to pick a great grind for your race skis, and yes please do send skis for the 'end of season' grind and hotbox work - that's a great idea, in fact. And do email with questions or comments or requests.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hole-Ski Covers by Swix

As seen on the World Cup.

New Hole-Ski covers by Swix!

Industry insders report that a similar product will soon be available from Toko and Solda as well.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Weights and Measures

I've been testing some Atomic World Cup skis, and decided that I should check the weight.

These Atomic World Cup skis are - as advertised - the lightest ski on the market! The lightest was the 178 cm "Red Cheetah" World Cup skate ski that weighed in at 438 grams. That's about a quarter pound lighter than the competitors - per ski! That is really - no sh!t - significant. All three sizes of the World Cup skater (178, 184, 190) were under the 475 gram mark. Bravo!

The other "big 3" ski brands advertise their top model as being in the range of 500 grams per ski, and much to my chagrin they ALL test heavy.

I use an Acculab digital scale with 0.1 gram resolution, and it has plenty of accuracy and precision for wax absorption tests and the occaisional "weigh in" for new skis.

What's it mean? They're light. It's not everything when choosing a ski, but in a time when ski companies are doing crazy things to trim 5 grams ("hole ski", anyone?), a lightweight ski that gets it done with no caveats is to be commended.

Stay tuned for some on-snow reports for Atomic's skate and classic skis.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Short Report from Trond at NCAA's

I got an email from Trond Flagstad, head coach of the UAA Nordic Ski Team. Trond sent some last minute skis for a grind before NCAA Championships, and Ultratune shipped the skis directly to Rumford Maine, where they arrived the day before the skate race. A very last minute arrival of freshly stone-ground skis.

The following is a short excerpt from Trond's email :

Thanks a lot for the skis and the job you did - the skis were a pleasure to work with....

ALL three of our men used their freshly ground skis with the MVX grind in the 20km skate race - they had awesome skis.........They went 2, 3 and 5 in the race. We waxed with BD8 and with FC8x on top coated with helix warm. Sadie Bjornsen also used her newly ground MVX skis - she said they were fast!

You can expect skis from us in the spring,


Results for Men's 20K, click here. It's always nice to hear about the skis running well straight out of the box.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Atomic Proliferation?

Atomic World Cup skis and boots will be at Nordic Ultratune for the 2009-2010 season!

The Atomic World Cup skis are a super addition for us. The World Cup "red cheetah" skate skis are fast and stable. The World Cup classic skis kick easily and have excellent control in and out of the tracks.

In addition, the Atomic World Cup skis are super light - they're the lightest world cup ski on the market right now.

During the past season I've had a chance to work on a lot of the new Atomic skis, and have been very happy with them. The feedback I've gotten from world cup skiers on Atomic has been very good - they're happy with the new skis and excited about the new boots as well.

Here's a spy photo of the boots. The new Atomic World Cup boots will be available in two flavors: Red/White, and a sensible black version.
Keep your eyes open for more info, including a review, in the upcoming (mid-March) Nordic Ultratune Newsletter. Until then call or email with any questions, or to reserve a hand-selected pair or two for next season.

Ultratune will be flex testing all our skis in order to get a great fitting ski for you, and of course all of our new skis come with the base grind of your choice so the skis will be race-ready right away.

Monday, March 9, 2009

MV Winter Tri

Conditions were perfect for the Methow Valley Winter Triathlon, held this past weekend.

This triathlon favors a good skier. This year Leslie Hall was the women's category winner, and Sol Woras was the men's category winner. Both are local heroes.

Leslie is usually near the top of the overall results in every MVSTA skiing and running event. For her, training and racing are part of a Mazama lifestyle. It's all for fun and smiles, but she just can't help going very fast.

Sol Woras grew up here in the Methow Valley. This season he's dominated the XC series, winning the MV Pursuit and the Rendezvous races, and placing near the top at the Ski Rodeo and the Race of the Methow events. Sol was part of the MV Nordic Junior program as a teen, then took a break from skiing to focus on competitive cycling. He's returned to the valley, and he and his wife Brandi are starting a family.

Congratulations to Leslie and Sol! Well done.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Zeroes for Heroes

On Sunday, March 1st, three pairs of Madshus Zero skis found their way to the MV Nordic ski team practice - a classic interval day. New morning snow lay on top of the overnight grooming, and temperatures at 11:00 a.m. were just above freezing. The Zeroes quickly showed their worth as the J2 girls on the Zeroes were quickly passing their coaches on the uphills and the downhills.

(In the foto, the J1's and J2's are preparing to start their interval session, and appear to be wondering what's on their feet...)

If you're unfamiliar with Zeroes, they're a classic ski with a grip zone insert made of plastic mixed with cork and other additives. The insert is slightly rough, and in moist snow near 32F (zero C) these skis have grip AND glide. At 32F it's very very difficult to have grip and glide at the same time on a classic ski, so in these conditions the Zeroes are heroes.

Compared to old-style "hairies" which worked best in falling wet new snow at 32F, the new Zero skis have broader application, including glazed tracks, wet corn snow, and even fresh snow with high moisture content at temps in the mid-20's F.

The past week has presented perfect weather for using Zero skis. As March weather brings warmer days, the Zeroes may be the heroes more often.