Monday, November 29, 2010

December Stone Grinding Schedule

James Southam has well prepared skis.  
Photo: Ian Harvey / Toko
You've been training 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 stone grind and hotbox service. At Nordic Ultratune, a stone grinding batch starts every Thursday and those skis are ready for shipping on the following Monday -- just 4 days later. Return shipping is FedEx Express Saver, which is 3rd day delivery. So, 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 events.
  • Skis in by Dec 4th will ship out on Dec 8th and arrive back to you by Dec 11th.
  • Skis in by Dec 11th will ship out on Dec 15th and arrive by the 18th.
  • Skis in by Dec 18th will ship out on Dec 22nd and arrive by the 26th (the 25th is a holiday).
  • Skis in by Dec 26th will ship out on Dec 29th and arrive by Jan 3rd.
You can see that there are still a few service batches scheduled before Christmas and the post-holiday races (including Sr Nationals!).     There is still time to get a fast grind on your skis before your biggest events! But don't delay... boards are a joy to ski on, and they're a real advantage.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Assessment and Preparation

The first days of skiing are in the log book now (hopefully!).

Whether you were at West Yellowstone, or Silver Star, or on the local 2 km Gerbil Loop, you've gotten a chance to put some km's on your skis. At this time of year it's important to assess the performance of your skis and prepare them for the next races.

Brian Gregg got a podium spot at West Yellowstone.
Photo Credit - Ian Harvey / Toko 
If you've got a few pairs of skis, you'll need to decide if your favorites have the stone grinding structures to match the skiing that you've got planned. If you're a competitor you have to try to match the skis with the conditions - this can require a bit of "crystal ball gazing" and guesswork.

If you have several pairs, then it's important to make sure you've got the majority of situations covered to get the maximum performance from your available pairs of skis.

In the first half of the season, especially in the Western USA and Canada, emphasis on good pair of skate and classic skis for cold/dry conditions is a must. At altitude and in dry climates, the fine structures perform much better than the universal grinds that come on new skis.

For cold new-fallen snow, high altitudes, and dry snow, the Nordic Ultratune S1 will run well and performs down to the FIS limit.    Try the S1 on skate or classic skis - it's very versatile in cold/fine conditions and has excellent top-end speed.  The S1 has already proven itself this season with top results in West Yellowstone SuperTour races.

The S2 makes an excellent cold climate all-around grind. If the snow hasn't been through significant thaw/freeze cycles and humidity is low, then the S2 will perform up into the upper 20's (F), with a bottom end near 0F.

Another tried-and-proven performer is the Ultratune XC02, which is a long-time favorite among skiers and is a great choice for anyone with a dedicated pair of "very cold" classic or skate skis.

Turn-around times on grind work continue to be fast. Skis arriving at Nordic Ultratune by Thursday will be shipped back out (or ready for pick-up) by the following Monday - just 4 days later.

Be ready for your big events. Get the skis up-to-speed now.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ultratune Duo in West Yellowstone?

Caitlin Compton & Brian Gregg of CXC Elite
I got an email from Brian Gregg of the CXC Elite team.

I like the pictures of you and Margaret up on the pass.  Just wanted to let you know there is another Ultratune duo out in West...

Looks like there's plenty of snow this year in West Yellowstone!  

November 2010 Nordic Ultratune Newsletter
A lot more than I can post here. It's a twelve page newsletter with lots of good information. Take a look (click here).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like...

It's beginning to look a lot like   SKI SEASON!

It began snowing at the shop today at about 10:30.    Tuesday the shop is closed, but I was in taking care of some skis.      When I looked up and saw the white stuff coming down I simply turned off the gadgets and headed for home.

There's about two inches so far, and there might be enough for some rock skiing before dark if it keeps on falling.

The picture was taken right behind our house where the ski trail heads toward the Goat Creek bridge.

There's nothing like new falling snow!

Stone Grinding Schedule
Use these dates to make sure your skis are ready for the start of ski season or your most important ski events.
  • Skis arriving at Nordic Ultratune for stone grinding by Nov 11th will ship out on Nov 15th and arrive back to you by Nov 18th.
  • Skis in by Nov 18th will ship out on Nov 22nd and arrive by Nov 26th (Thanksgiving is the 25th)
  • Skis in by Nov 26th will ship out on Nov 29th and arrive by Dec 2nd
  • Skis in by Dec 2nd will ship out on Dec 6th and arrive to you by Dec 9th
There are still one or two service batches scheduled before the Thanksgiving week training camps (and races).   There is plenty of time to get a fast stone grind on your cross country skis before the season really gets moving!     Why wait? here for workorder form download.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weights and Measures - Skis and Bindings

Last week I weighed some skis and bindings.

I used the "2nd largest size" in all the brands as a good representation.    These have different lengths listed by the ski manufacturer, but when they're on the rack they all are within about a centimeter of each other in actual tip-to-tail length.

The FIS allows skis down to 750 grams per pair, with no limitation on mass distribution.    None of the ski makers is anywhere close to breaking that rule.

The measurements are in grams, and were made using an Acculab VI-4800 digital scale (with 0.1g resolution), using actual skis.   Weights are for one ski, or one binding - not per pair.    All of the skis listed are skate skis, but both skate and classic bindings are shown.   In most cases I weighed 4 individual skis and averaged the results, rounding to the nearest gram.   All the skis are 2010/2011 models.

You can see that the Atomic World Cup FeatherLight is about 10% lighter than nearest other offering.    In fact the Fischer Hole Ski is 20% heavier than the Atomic.   That's significant.

But it is worth taking a quick look at the "ski + binding" combinations, since that's what we actually ski on.

This is where things turn upside down.   The lightest real world combinations is the Rossignol Xium WCS with the Xcelerator binding.    The Atomic FeatherLight with the NNN R3 (screwed down binding) is only a few grams more.  The Madshus Nanosonic with Xcelerator binding is close behind.

It's possible that you could skate on an Atomic FeatherLight with a ProPulse binding, and that would get you a total weight of under 600 grams for one ski+binding.     But so far I haven't seen anyone use that setup.   (Note:  I called Salomon in October to ask if they've got firmer bumpers for the ProPulse, they weren't able to provide an answer - it was clearly,  "I don't know...")    With or without a firmer bumper, the ProPulse might be a possible skating option.

The "Pilot + Wedge" option with any ski makes a relatively heavy choice.     And of course, the super-light Xcelerator binding will only fit on skis with an NIS plate.

Overall, you can get a ski+binding selection of a little over 1200 grams per pair if you're careful.    While none of the brands are anywhere near the FIS limit,  skis this year are quite a bit lighter than choices from just a few years ago.    It does make a difference.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rack 'em up.

It is busy at Nordic Ultratune in November.  Stone grinding is the best way to prepare your skis for specific conditions you'll encounter this winter.      The vast majority of the skis that arrive by FedEx and UPS right now are being prepared for the upcoming ski weeks at West Yellowstone and SilverStar, and for the early SuperTour and NorAm events.

There is still time to get stone grinding before Thanksgiving.    Check out the stone grinding selection guide.  Download a work order form (click here).   Skis that arrive by Thursday ship back out on the following Monday, just 4 days later.  Every week.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November 2010 Nordic Ultratune Newsletter

A lot more than I can post here. It's a twelve page newsletter with lots of good information. Take a look (click here).

And here's a shot of Brian Gregg, the 2010 USSA SuperTour Distance Champion, courtesy of E.A. Weymuller.