Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Big Wildfire - Back up and running...

You might have heard that there has been a big wildfire here in North Central Washington, in the Methow Valley.  

On Monday, the 14th, lightning storms set off a few fires in the area.    One of them (at "Cougar Flats") was about 2 miles from Ultratune as the crow flies.

The Cougar Flats fire, part of the larger Carlton Complex fire, grew within a few days at an alarming rate to merge, expand, and consume 250,000 acres (about 400 square miles) as well as destroying over 300 homes.

During the worst of it, flames were visible from my house for 4 days straight, just about 2.5 miles east.    I was very fortunate that my little house is upwind from the fire and not downwind.   Fire moved at up to 3 mph during hot, dry, windy evenings and was an absolute firestorm.

Power, phone, internet, radio and TV were all out for about 8 days.

Everyone is helping friends and strangers alike.    We'll get through it; that's what we do in the Methow Valley.

The air here is still a little smoky (smells like bacon!).    There are over 3000 fire fighters camped here in the area fighting the fire and getting things under control (as of today, it's about 70% contained).    Helicopters, water bomber airplanes, a DC10 dropping retardant.   Maybe 1000 wild land fire vehicles.  

Now the power is back on at Ultratune.   Email is working.   The web site is up and running.  The phone works.      No damage at the shop, and everything is fine.  

There's nothing like hot, dry, smoky weather to make you dream of skiing!

If you've got skis that need service, send them any time.   FedEx & UPS are delivering, and I'm back in the shop catching up on grinding!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Have you noticed that the days are already getting shorter?

It's approaching the 4th of July holiday, and time for die-hard skiers to turn their gaze toward winter.    Summer fun certainly doesn't need to be 100% ski focussed for competitive Masters age group skiers and recreation skiers, but it's not hard to add some ski strength to the mix.     Roller skiing, hiking with ski poles, ski bounding, paddling - all these are great ways to get the upper body involved.     The closer it is to real skiing - as specific as possible - the more benefit it will bring to you ski season.  

Meanwhile the skis need to be taken care of.   So spend some time thinking about that.    Did you bother to clean the skis and put storage wax on them?     Did you think about getting the bases cleaned up with a fresh grind to bring them back to their best speed?     Now is a great time for that.

During the summer, Nordic Ultratune has a more relaxed grinding schedule, but the service work keeps on going.     There are no set shop hours for walk in traffic, but I'm happy to meet customers on a "by appointment" basis.      Email or call to work out details.   It's a good time to tune up the skis.

You can beat the autumn rush by sending skis for service early!      A grind and hotbox waxing service will have the skis ready to fly when the snow arrives.