Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

What day is it?
Christmas is a great day to get out and ski!   This year I tried something different - skiing a trail system I've never been on before.    It's not a long drive to Leavenworth, and I've never skied on the LWSC Icicle Fish Hatchery trail system.    

Skiing somewhere new is always an adventure, whether it's solo or with friends or family.   New terrain, new views, new people.

Okay, it's widely known that I live in the Methow Valley, which is without a doubt the best ski location in North America, but sometimes it's fun to try skiing somewhere new.

Dec 24th on Cougar Mountain.  10 minutes from the shop.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Northwest has been getting back-to-back-to-back snow storms for the past 10 days.    About 30 inches of new snow has fallen here in the past week.    Beautiful.  

Morning light on the Cascades.
On the 24th I got out with friends for early a.m. snow fun before opening at Ultratune at 11.   It really doesn't get any more spectacular than this.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday Morning Classic Skiing in the North Cascades

The standard iPhone shot.
Early morning skiing here in the Methow Valley.    Classic striding on START Blue hard wax, temperature of about 18F.    There's about 2 feet of snow on the Pass Highway and classic tracks set from Silverstar Gate to well beyond Cutthroat Creek.  

Music, coffee, and views on the commute to the trailhead.

Some alpine touring skiers are using this section to access the high country, so there are a few of their skidoo tracks nearby, but they're good neighbors and aren't wiping out the set classic tracks.

From Lone Fir looking up toward Washington Pass.

Ski Service and Schedule Note

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 by Nov 30th will ship out on Dec 3rd and arrive by Dec 6th.
  • Skis in by Dec 6th will ship out on Dec 10th and arrive by Dec 13th.
There is still time to get a fast grind on your skis before the season kicks off! But don't delay...   ...fast boards are a joy to ski on, and they're a real advantage.

Note that I'll be at the World Cup races in Canmore providing ski service for Slovenia in mid-December, so there will be a one-week delay on grinding service during that time!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Skiing in the Methow Valley

Plenty of snow at the Methow Valley's Washington Pass. 
Skiing on Rode Super Blue.  Snow falling...
I was caught in the act:  applying grip wax in falling snow in a parking lot.    Good conditions for classic skiing; skating is a little soft but not too bad.      Using good skis?   You bet!

Monday Update:    Washington DOT is closing Washington Pass today.    30 inches of snow there now, and another foot expected today.     There should be grooming closer to town... 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bluebird Ski Days at Silver Star

Sovereign Lake Nordic Center at Silver Star Mountain
I got a quick report and a couple pics from Sam Naney (Methow Olympic Development) today.     Sam went to Silver Star early to get some solid training days on snow, and then he'll head for West Yellowstone races if they get enough snow there to hold the events.

Here's what Sam has to say:

Hi Mark, 
Conditions up here at Silver Star are great, especially as compared to the rest of the country. I've been skiing about 3-4 hours per day at Sovereign Lakes Nordic Center, on race skis, no less! The snow is nice, dry packed powder and my S1 skaters and XC02s on the powder classic skis are running GREAT. There's more snow predicted for the next few days and I'll be here until Monday morning so there's plenty of time to log some kilometers before heading to Montana and the unknown conditions thereabouts.
Meanwhile, it's quinoa and dried fruit for sustenance, and lots of reading (Canadian cable T.V. ain't the finest). 
Hope all's well with you, 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Greggs in Bozeman / Bohart

Brian showing the Ultratune love.

I got a short note from Brian and Caitlin.   They're skiing at Bohart Ranch near Bozeman, MT.    Conditions are great there, but to the south at West Yellowstone things aren't quite ready for prime time.   Hopefully, West will get a bit more snow in the next few days.

"Bluebird day at Bohart Ranch in Montana today. Perfect kick. The tracks are a few days old, but the skate platform was all rolled today. We skied in the fresh dusting of snow in the tracks. Enjoying training on good skis. Keeping it easy and feeling more comfortable by the hour."  -Brian Gregg

Are you heading to ski at Silver Star or West Yellowstone?   Are your skis ready?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

First Valley Snow

Monday morning in Mazama, WA.
Monday morning was greeted with our first snow on the valley floor.    A blanket of 4 inches covered the Methow Valley pretty uniformly from Lost River to Elbow Coulee.  

There's not enough to ski yet, although there are groomed tracks a half-hour away at Washington Pass.

Keeping a pair of "rock skis" in the shed is a good idea if you've got a passion for skiing; some old skis with trashed bases that allow you to satisfy the urge to ski even though you know that there's not enough snow on the trails.

This early drop really gets everyone wired for the imminent ski season.      It's too late to start roller-skiing now;  it's time to get out there in the snow!

There will be groomed tracks soon.  Are you ready?   Are your skis ready?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Stone Grinding Schedule for November

You've been training this summer and fall 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.

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 by Nov 8th will ship out on Nov 12th and arrive by Nov 15th.
  • Skis in by Nov 15th will ship out on Nov 19th and arrive by the 23rd (the 22nd is a holiday).
  • Skis in by Nov 22 will ship out on Nov 26th and arrive by the 30th .
  • Skis in by Nov 30th will ship out on Dec 3rd and arrive by Dec 6th.
  • Skis in by Dec 6th will ship out on Dec 10th and arrive by Dec 13th.
You can see that there are still a little time before the big Thanksgiving week training camps (and races...). There is still time to get a fast grind on your skis before the season kicks off! But don't delay... ...fast boards are a joy to ski on, and they're a real advantage.

Download a work order form here.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Skiing at Washington Pass with Caitlin Gregg

Here's a clip of Caitlin and Brian skiing at Washington Pass, here in the the Methow Valley.

Caitlin sent this note:

Hi Mark,

Yesterday was the earliest on snow skiing for me in 5 years. It was awesome!!! Dave Ford set some tracks around the Washing Pass overlook road. There was only about 6-8" total but it firmed up for some nice skiing in the afternoon. I started on fish scales but quickly switched to waxable skis. Next time I will bring my good skis. I am excited to be testing grinds with you again this year. Super pumped to now have the S1 on my favorite pair of skis. Here is some video of the first ski of the year. We were so excited to ski that we didn't get many pictures.

Thanks, Caitlin


Are you looking for some new skis?     Check out our available new skis from Atomic, Madshus, and Rossignol.

The hand picked ski program continues for the 2012/13 season.   You get the skis you want, selected for you, from the best possible selection.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

October Stone Grinding Schedule

You've been training this summer and fall 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 typically 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 races.
  • Skis in by Oct 11th will ship out on Oct 15th and arrive back to you by the 18th.
  • Skis in by Oct 18th will ship out on Oct 22nd.
  • Skis in by Oct 24th will ship out on Oct 29th.
  • Skis in by Nov 1st will ship out on Nov 5th.
  • Skis in by Nov 8th will ship out on Nov 12th.
  • Skis in by Nov 15th will ship out on Nov 19th.
You can see that there are still service batches scheduled before the big Thanksgiving week training camps (and races...). There is still time to get a fast grind on your skis before the season kicks off! But don't delay... ...fast boards are a joy to ski on, and they're a real advantage.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Ski Selection Trip to Ogden

Getting picky while picking.
Last week I took a quick trip to Ogden, UT, to pick skis at Atomic & Rossignol.  Ultratune has a lot of beautiful new skis on the way.   The first stop was Rossignol, working with Ryan Green, on the 7th, and things went really smoothly.     I didn't get all the skis I wanted for inventory, but all the pairs I picked are very nice.    I picked all pairs to be matched within 1 kg.  

On Thursday, I picked skis at Atomic's warehouse.    This year Rick Halling was out of town, so I worked on my own to pick through the huge inventory that they've got in the facility.    I've done the trip to the Atomic warehouse a few years in a row, and apparently they're confident that I won't mess anything up.  

This year's Atomic skis look particularly good.    The introduction of the new hard track skate ski the Atomic SDS Classic ski gave added reason to take a careful look at the ski picks.

The Atomic warehouse is quite tidy and well organized - for a warehouse - but the lighting is still a little dim.  

I start with a pick list, then make preliminary selections from a huge rack of skis that are sorted by model and size.  Each of these pairs is then unwrapped, tested for a few key parameters, and repacked.   The pair is either saved or returned to the rack.  This process makes sure that I get the spectrum of flexes that I need, and also screens out a few pairs that I don't find satisfactory.  

Some of the Ultratune picks.
It's not particularly exciting work, at least not after getting through the first dozen pairs or so, but very worthwhile. Careful measurements for sure, and reassuring to know that I get exactly what I want for the pre-ordered skis and also for the shop inventory.

After picking all the skis, they get checked by warehouse staff, then packed for immediate FedEx shipment to Ultratune. With a little luck, they'll arrive at the shop before Oct 11th.

Check out Ultratune's new ski program, and let me know if you'd like a pair selected for you!  Send an email with questions or to be added to the pick list.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ready for the new season

The pace has already picked up, but I'm ready. This autumn is busier than ever at Nordic Ultratune. Service work is in full swing NOW! It's a good time to tune up the skis.

I'll be flying to Utah to select the new Atomic skis at the Ogden warehouse, and Rossignol skis just down the street, during the first week of October.  Madshus skis come from Seattle, and I work closely with the folks there (Jeremy, Peter and Van) to get the right skis for Ultratune.

All the new skis require sorting and inspection and testing so that pre-season ski orders can be filled. The new skis are picked and prepped well in advance of the coming season. Fast skis for everyone! But it takes careful work.

If you'd like to get onto the pick list for a new pair of skate or classic skis, it's not too late!   Email me right away so that I can get details (height, weight, preferences, etc) needed to pick you a great pair of skis.

Here's a profile shot of one of the Rossignol WCS skate skis (on the flex tester). You can see the wedge-shaped profile, which lowers the heel by a few millimeters. Others are using plastic wedges mounted beneath the bindings to achieve the same thing - but Rossignol's getting it done without adding gadgets and weight.  Rossignol's new boots have a lowered heel to further increase the effect.  Nice.

The Nordic Ultratune shop - the windows and doors and walls and merchandise - is almost ready to open for the fall and winter. Officially, the store will resume the normal fall and winter hours on Thursday, September 27th. Shop hours are 11 - 5 on Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun & Mon. I'm often in the shop much longer than that (most of the grinding work is done when the shop is not open).

Although we don't get snow in the Methow Valley until November, things are busy enough to require my full time attention well in advance.

Today its sunny and warm at home, but with smoke from the eastern Washington forest fires (it's in the news all over, I guess). But I'm already thinking about snow. The picture to the left is the big meadow (Foster's Field) near my house.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


In Italy there's a specific word for "grinding stone".    It's "mola".     In Italy (and much of Europe) the history of the past couple thousand years has had a need for terminology for milling and grinding equipment, mostly mills for grains and olives.

A new 350mm diameter grinding wheel.

A new grinding stone and diamond cutting tips arrived this week from Val di Fiemme.     It's the same version of grinding wheel I've used for the past couple seasons, and really it will be placed in line for use (I try to keep at least 2 "very good" stones in the queue).      The diamond cutting heads are of two types, and the recent shipment includes a couple of additional new style cutters to try out.

Grinding work has really picked up since early August.     Even though "official shop hours" don't begin until the start of October, grinding work is being done for any client skis that are shipped in.    Work continues!

Hearing protection in "goofball position".
The grinding schedule is more relaxed and service work gets done as a decent size group of skis accumulate - typically every other week instead of weekly.  FedEx and UPS continue to make normal deliveries every day, so no worries about shipping skis to Ultratune -- they'll get here.

So if you'd like to get your skis serviced now, so that you'll have your skis ready and fast when the snow arrives in the fall, you can send skis any time.

Okay, here's a picture of Mark in a lighter moment in the shop this summer (hearing protection in "goofball position").    My 52nd birthday is this week!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Atomic 2013 SDS World Cup Classic Skis

New Graphics!
A pair of 197cm Atomic SDS World Cup Classic skis arrived at noon on Feb 10th, by FedEx.     A client was in the shop, but was happy to pause while I opened the box and immediately took the skis to the flex tester to give them a quick check.     Bingo.   These were right on target for a skier in the 125 pound range.

I basically dropped everything, and within 90 minutes had a fresh i5 grind on the skis, wax pocket marked, and race wax on the skis.

There was a carload of local hotshot ladies heading to Canada at 2 p.m. sharp (well, as "sharp" as a carload of our local hotshot ladies can be...), and these brand new skis made it into their rocket box with no time to spare.   It was a ladies' weekend, with a little 30km classic race tossed into the mix for entertainment.   In the Methow Valley, the women are strong and good looking and all the children are above average (except for math and science, where I think they might lag a bit).

The instructions were to give them a try.   Test them with the other race skis, and if they were the best, then by all means feel free to race on them.  No pressure, no favors, no special requests - "Only use them if they're the best."

And so, the new Atomic SDS World Cup Classic skis were on the top of the women's podium the next day, setting a new course record for women (waxed with Start N-series glider and SF30 Powder, and with Rode Weiss grip wax over Toko Green binder).     The short report was, "These were better than any of the other skis - easy to kick but with a nice pop!    The glide was great, I could double pole and keep up with the elite men!"   This coming from a reliable ex-olympian who knows a thing or three about skis.

It wasn't until the skis returned home to the shop that I had enough time to really get a look at the skis, to carefully check out how the SDS camber worked, how the skis flex and close easily.     Then, at that point, I was pretty happy with everything.    They can make the cut as race boards, but they also measure-up nicely on the bench.
 The Atomic SDS World Cup Classic ski on the flex bench at Nordic Ultratune

By now you may have heard some of the details, read about them on some Atomic infomercials with Rick Halling or Roman Toferer.      A new camber with a special lay-up schedule and materials, to allow the kick zone to stay up off the snow until crunch time, then  - Bam! - drop down with perfect kick, etc.       If you read about it and were a bit skeptical, well who could blame you.      Others have made similar claims...

Easy to read flex info, and very closely matched wax pockets on this pair.
But ahoy!   These actually seem to do the job!     Now, I'll issue a caveat by saying that I've worked with a grand total of ONE pair of these SDS skis, but they're exactly as advertised.

The magic inside is, naturally, inside and thus not visible.   What is visible to see are the strips along the edge on both sides of each ski that help maintain some uniformity of the kick pocket - they keep it from sagging in the middle, I think.    So when the kick engages, it drops-in relatively uniformly on a section about 50cm long.   The whole section engages smoothly and with good solid contact.     These skis have grip and also some pop - they feel like you're gliding smoothly until it's time to kick and then they're ON.

Hairsplitting details:   The skis weigh 562 grams each.   Add 120 grams for a ProPulse binding, and you're up to 682 grams for ski+binding.    That's 1.50 pounds for Americans.   About 75 grams per ski heavier than last year's ski, but still light by current standards for a 197cm classic ski.    Good.    The klister pocket (0.5mm high at the ends) is about 40cm long, while cold hardwax can go about 55cm long.     Camber height max at half-body-weight is about 1mm, which is great for hardwax skiing.   Some experimenting with klister will be needed to see how thick that can go without being draggy (on this particular pair, of course).

Let's summarize.  Overall I'll say that these SDS World Cup classic skis are very nice.    They do everything a good hardwax classic ski is supposed to do.       Are they a complete game-changer?   No, you still have to ski with good technique and you still need to get a pair that's fitted well and prepared well.   Naturally, I'd like to see NIS plates on these skis, the NIS plates would make them better.   But, even with screwed-and-glued bindings they're going to be very easy to select and prepare as go-to classic skis.   As I saw in February, they can easily go straight to the top of the test results - even among your favorite classic skis.     And that says a lot.   Very nice.

I'll definitely have a bunch of these in the shop at Nordic Ultratune in the fall of 2012.    If you'd like a pair reserved, you can drop me a line any time.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spring Skiing in Switzerland?

I got a note this morning from Brian Gregg, of the CXC team, and right now traveling with the US Ski Team in Switzerland.
From: "Brian Gregg"
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2012 7:11 AM
To: "Nordic Ultratune"
Subject: M1d

Hey Mark,

59F at the race venue for this weekend's Swiss cup. My skis didn't make it off of the plane with me. Super psyched when they came during breakfast today. It is freezing at night and the m1d is soooo good in this transformed snow. So happy to have the m1d in my fleet. Races start at noon (ladies first) so structure is going to be key.
Brian Gregg in Switzerland

I guess it's getting to be spring skiing time in many parts of North America (and Europe), but this morning I got up to find new snow, fresh grooming, and 18F !    I was out the door with yesterday's grip wax before I had a chance to eat breakfast.    It was super!  

It continues to be an amazing winter here in the Methow Valley, and I think we're pretty close to 100 consecutive days of grooming now.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Birkie Notes

I've been getting phone reports from the American Birkebeiner this morning.

Congratulations to Caitlin and Brian Gregg - Caitlin was 2nd in the women's race and Brian was 3rd in the men's event.  Brian and Caitlin both felt that they were skiing on rockets; both were on Ultratune grinds today, as is normal for both of them.

I also talked to Laura McCabe right after she finished her race.   Laura is an incredible dynamo, and she pulled off a big race to finish 4th in the women's field.     Laura was super stoked with her i5 grind today and said she had great skis.

Conditions were typical for the Birkie - cold at the start and warming through the morning.    This puts a premium on versatile cold grinds that can ski up into the teens and low twenties without getting draggy or sticky.

For a low snowpack year, the snow was fast, firm, but not icy today.    Great conditions for a ski race!

How was your race?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Understanding Variables In Base Structures

Working with machine structures on skis, there are only a few variables that can be adjusted to influence the performance of the ski. Primarily these variables are depth, spacing, interruption, and patterns.

The structure on the ski base is primarily a closely spaced lengthwise pattern of micro-grooves. Depth of the grooves varies from about 0.01mm to 0.05mm or more. Spacing of the grooves can be anywhere from 0.25 mm line-to-line and wider.

Some structures, such as those prepared on the Mantec Skinumericontrol 140, can have line spacing and depth that vary from the edges toward the middle.

Depth of the micro-grooves is critical, and can work for or against the speed of the ski. In large-grained and transformed moist snow, deeper grooves resist propagation of moisture and help to prevent the sticking due to adhesion. However, in dry fine-grained snow, deep grooves create opportunities for increased interlock friction - the fingers and features of the fine snow grains catch in the grooves. This type of friction can be imagined as being like velcro - it can be a noisy and slow experience when deep patterns are used on fresh, cold, dry snow.

Less obvious is the influence of interruptions in the micro-grooves. Interruptions in the long length-wise grooves are important to minimize capillary propagation of adhesive layers of water. In addition, the interruptions help to keep the ski from “tracking” into the snow, and help with release of the ski; this is especially noticeable on skate skis, but at the same time is more subjective and harder to quantify.

Pattern in the structure is typically the result of interruptions (also referred to as interference, or cancellation) being organized in a predictable and orderly way. Often these patterns can be visually seen as diagonal bands or chevron shapes on the ski sole. Some structures that have varying line spacing may show a curved interference pattern. Although the patterns may be at an angle, looking closely you’ll see that the bands are comprised of cancellations or interruptions in the lengthwise grooves, and are NOT diagonal cuts in the ski base.

Interruption or cancellation profiles that cross the ski horizontally and repeatedly (perpendicular to direction of travel) are a negative influence on performance. Thus, designing an organized interruption pattern is important in optimizing the glide properties. Pattern angles of 30 degrees or less are almost never seen. Also, the repetition rate of the interruption pattern affects the performance of the ski (rep-rate can be measured in spacing across the ski).

Nordic Ultratune uses the Mantec grinder . With the Mantec the variables of spacing, depth, interruption and pattern are analyzed with built-in software features. The Mantec offers unmatched precision and control.

Each winter, designing and testing structures is an integral part of my work. Within the limits of each variable, there are infinite opportunities for optimizing the structures. Testing the structures on snow is the biggest limiter in developing effective new grinds. At Nordic Ultratune, designing structures with varying spacing, depth, and groove interruptions is the key to building a set of grinds that will work in a broad range of snow conditions.

The key to fast skis is to have base surfaces prepared with with structures that are fast and versatile enough to handle a broad range of conditions.

Stone grinding work continues weekly through the whole season.   Ultratune provides same-week turn-around during fall and winter.   Skis that arrive by Thursday will be ready to ship back to you on the following Monday.

Pick a grind, fill out a work order form, and ship your skis.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Report from IBU Euro Champs

Casey Smith, earlier in the
season at Canmore.
Casey Smith is a young local guy who has been pursuing biathlon since he was in Jr High.    All along the way he's been working with Ultratune to get good skis and service.      Casey isn't just a client, he's almost family for us.      Casey's had great results all through the early season in domestic events, and now he's in Europe racing in a much deeper field of talent.

In addition to having a lot of skill and talent as a Biathlete, Casey is a great resource for ski and grind feedback.   He's got a good feel for the snow and is very objective.

Here's a note from Casey after the first race at the IBU European Championships.

      Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2012 07:45:46 -0800
      From: Casey Smith      
      Subject: Euro Race 1
      To: Mark Waechter 
Hey Mark,

I'm sure that you have found the results already but things were fairly
solid. I was 31st shooting 1,1. I felt pretty consistent in both my
shooting and skiing so I was happy with that.

I skied on the 14u's (ed. note:  14u is an Ultratune prototype grind)
It was a tough pick between them and the i5's,  the snow
was pretty hard and it was -14c this morning. The snow is fairly
transformed and all natural. The i5s were running better in the sunny
spots and the 14u's better in the shade and most of the course was in
the shade so I went with them and they were equal or better then anyone
who I was skiing with.

Just in case for some odd reason you have not been able to find the
results yet they are on biathlonworld.com


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wax of the Day

I've added a link to the WOTD from this blog.
Look for the link on the lower right
For the past few seasons I've been doing daily updates for the Methow Valley's grooming report to provide wax-of-the-day information.

On most days it's a relatively straight-forward proposition:   a reasonable glide wax recommendation, and a decent grip wax recommendation.     But, here in the Methow Valley, there are 200km of groomed ski trails and they vary in altitude by nearly 2000 vertical feet, and range over an expansive area of well over 30km from one end to the other.    Ecosystems change from dense fir/pine forests to shrub-steppe grasslands.     It's a big area.    And wax conditions can sometimes be pretty varied.

Although the area is expansive, and space on the daily report is limited, an effort is made to make a worthwhile set of recommendations, and every once in a while there's a little local commentary to go along with it.

If you haven't skied in the Methow Valley, this might be the year to drop everything and head to the Northwest.     It's been a banner year for skiing here.    Groomed trails opened up before Thanksgiving, and the snow has been consistently excellent.      Right now there's well over 4 feet of snow on the ground and the groomers are busy keeping 120 miles of trails manicured.

Stone Grinding Schedule

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 Jan 26 will ship out on Jan 30 and arrive to you by the Feb 2nd.
  • Skis in by Feb 2 will ship out on Feb 6th.
  • Skis in by Feb 9th will ship out on Feb 13th.
  • Skis in by Feb 16th will ship out on Feb 20th and get to you by Feb 23rd
You can see that there are still a few service batches scheduled before the big Marathon races (including the Birkie!).     There is still time to get a fast grind on your skis before your biggest events! But don't delay... ...fast boards are a joy to ski on, and they're a real advantage.

Download a work order form here. A description of some of the grinds is here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Methow Valley "Backyard Ski Day"

On January 27th, skiing will be free in the Methow Valley.    It's the Methow Valley's "backyard ski day", and there will be no trail passes required on the 200km MVSTA trail network.     Local rental shops will have free rental skis for beginners or anyone who needs some skis to use.   There will be free baked goods at trail heads.   And free shuttles for point-to-point skiers.

Grass-roots programs that introduce people to cross country skiing are a key to the development of the sport.     Do your part and encourage your friends to try skiing.    Better yet, take someone skiing!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012-13 Nanosonic Skate Boot

The new Madshus Nanosonic skate boot.
Some 2012/13 Madshus Nanosonic skate boots passed through the shop yesterday, and they happened to be my size, so I got a fit check, and nabbed a couple pictures while no authority figures were looking too closely.  

The boots weren't with a rep, but are being tested by young gun (biathlete) Casey Smith, who stopped in to say farewell before heading to Europe for World Jr Championships and the IBU European Championships.

The new Madshus boot feels slightly more padded, but otherwise has approximately the same fit.   Very nice.    Graphics have become a bit brighter, with less black and more white.     There are some white slashes on the sides of the boot that seem like Maurice Sendak inspired "monster with an underbite"teeth!

Madshus has maintained the simple approach:  no clicky buckles or speed laces, instead opting for velcro and regular shoe laces.    I liked those features in the past, and like them on the new version, too.    The fit is great for my feet, but all feet are not created equal, so trying on boots is always the decider.
The new Madshus skate boot.   That's my foot!

Overall, I like the update.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Thunder Road

I don't know what went down in the Sprint Finals so I won't weigh-in on the DQ question, but for certain Torin had great skis and Torin was clearly the fastest man on the course.

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
From:    "Torin Koos"
Date:    Sun, January 8, 2012 2:23 pm
To:       xcgrind@ultratune.net
Raced the i5 all day today - for what it's worth.
This shot has been all over the web - for a good reason - it says it all.
Photo:  Ian Harvey / TOKO

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Koos Wins

Torin Koos skiing from the front.  
Photo by Ian Harvey / TOKO
I got a quick note from Torin Koos after today's sprint event in Rumford:

Rocked the Rossignol NIS2.  Grind was Ultratune S2 with Toko Red Structrite Over Top. Wax:Toko Blue/Red Streamline Block.   The skis were incredible! -Torin

Sunday, January 1, 2012

40 days...

The ubiquitous one-handed photo
This season the Methow Valley in Washington has had good snow.    It arrived before Thanksgiving and we've had great uninterrupted skiing through the past 7 weeks.

For me, the daily skiing typically consists of a very early dash out the back door at around 7 a.m. in order to get everything to sync-up with the schedule at the shop.     Sometimes it's only long enough to compare some test skis, or a loop around Foster's Field with a headlamp, but I feel fortunate to get out there every day.

Today, though, it's a holiday (HNY!) and I got the chance to ski at a very reasonable 9 a.m. from the Cub Creek trailhead.      Classic skiing today was as good as I've seen this season.    Four layers of hard wax and grip was rock solid, with easy release and free glide.    So nice.  

I enjoyed a mix of striding with kick-double-pole up to Rendezvous Pass and returned on a slightly different route.     I had fun seeing several 'locals' out on the trail and stopped for a Hello a few times.

It's hard to believe that the ski season is 1/3 done; that I've had 40 days of skiing already.