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


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... 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
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.