Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Picking skis in Utah

Howdy from Utah. I picked a pile of Atomic Featherlight skis Today.

The Atomic skis look super. As a group I am really impressed with the quality of the skis this season. There are about 1000 pairs of Atomic World Cup Featherlight skis here in the Ogden warehouse right now. I started the day by picking skis from the big racks, based on length and flex numbers. Then I unwrapped every single pair and did a couple of quick tests on a bench. I rejected fewer than 10 pairs of skis that I pulled down, and I'm very picky.

The first photo shows me and Atomic's Rick Halling inspecting a pair of skate skis.

Good timing. Rick Halling tells me that 200 pairs are being pulled tomorrow, so the selection would be somewhat diminished if I waited even a few more days. This afternoon we packaged up all the skis, and they're shipping out tomorrow to Ultratune. They should be in the shop by Monday.

The second pic shows some of the new Featherlight skis on the vertical rack at the Atomic warehouse. Note that they keep the skis stored standing in the rack rather than squashed in boxes; it makes picking the right skis a very straight-forward operation.

One thingis certain - I'd go blind working in the Atomic warehouse; the lighting is awful!

The third shot shows me hamming it up a little bit in front of the camera. I don't really "peepsight" the skis when I'm checking them out -- these look good, but I know the bases will look great after they've got an Ultratune grind.

All the skis were inspected by the shipping department, and then Rick packed them up to ship to Ultratune (foto 4). The cart in the foreground has our skate skis.

After finishing with the skis this afternoon, Rick H took me for a drive up into the mountains to the east of Ogden. The area around Snow Basin ski area. It’s absolutely gorgeous up there. Rick does a lot of road cycling and says it’s one of his favorite places to ride. The scenery is quite a surprise to me because this particular area isn’t dry – it’s covered with deciduous trees (oak, maple, aspens). Also it’s site for some of the xterra races. Very pretty. Ahhhh. Autumn colors.

Now I’m at the hotel, and I’m exhausted. Nothing to do but find some cheap dinner and crash until the a.m. flight back to Spokane, and then drive home. I printed my boarding pass here at the hotel, so I go straight to security and out to the concourse (no checked baggage).

That's it for now.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sorting out the race skis

Torin Koos has been training in the Methow Valley for much of the summer. Koos grew up just down the road, and he's very much at home here - living in Mazama and taking advantage of the opportunity to roller-ski, run, and ride in the area.

Torin has also taken the time to get his big bag of race skis sorted out and tuned up for the coming season. We've spent a few sessions flex testing skis, sorting and grouping the skis, and finally we've selected grinds for all the race skis. The goal is to have a logical matrix of flexes and structures to handle race conditions, and to keep it pretty simple and streamlined.

With over 30 pairs of racing skis, there are five grinds represented. With any flex grouping there are a few structure options. With any base prep, there are a few camber choices. It's all logical, relatively simple, and organized.

Whether you've got 4 pairs of skis (2 skate, 2 classic), or if you've got 40 pairs of skis, a simple and organized approach is best. Choose versatile grinds to handle the conditions you'll likely see.

Torin has enough smarts and experience to know that the time to get all the skis ready for racing is NOW. Why wait until the snow is falling to get the quiver of skis prepared for the races?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grinding Schedule Resumes

The first day of Autumn is this week. And with it, the normal winter grinding schedule resumes at Nordic Ultratune.

That means that I'll be running a batch of skis each week, and that turn-around on service will be fast. Skis that arrive by Thursday each week will be shipping back out on Monday by FedEx.

Granted, there isn't any new snow in the lower 48, but the days are getting shorter and you only need to flip a couple of calender pages to get to the first on-snow camps.

Get your skis to Ultratune for a grind and hotbox so they'll be fast when the snow arrives.