Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How To Ship Your Skis

I’m continually asked for advice on the best way to ship skis.  Here’s how I would ship skis.

You can ship skis in a cardboard box, a plastic ski tube, or a ski bag.    If you don't have a plastic ski case or a ski box handy, then the easiest and quickest way to ship skis is to use your ski bag and some bubble-wrap.

FedEx will ship a ski bag without any problems. Before you worry too much about the skis being destroyed, let me assure you that the FedEx employees treat your skis better than airline baggage handlers. Just about the only “planning ahead” you’ll need is a trip to the hardware store for a roll of bubble wrap and a roll of packaging tape. A roll of bubble-wrap cost $3.45 at my local hardware store.
A roll of bubble-wrap costs about $4.

1) First, clean your skis! Use a scraper to remove any storage wax – and don’t for get the grip wax on classic skis.

2) Next, fill out a work-order form completely for each pair of skis. You can tape the work order to the skis. For multiple pairs (hey, why not!), you can put all the work orders in an envelope and tape the envelope securely to one of the pairs of skis.

3) For each pair of skis, rubber-band or tape the pair together. Don’t send your favorite ski ties, or they’ll become part of our growing collection.
Tape the skis together.
4) Next, tape the pairs of skis together into a single solid quiver. If you’re sending 3 pairs, for instance, you’ll have a solid bundle of skis that are easy to protect in the ski bag. Double check to make sure you’ve taped the work orders to the skis.

Mummy-wrap the bundle of skis.
5) Wrap the bundle of skis with the bubble wrap. Make sure you’ve protected the tails and tips of the skis. It doesn’t hurt to mummy-wrap the whole bundle, but take extra care to wrap the tips, tails, and bindings. The bubble wrap goes on the skis as a group, and not wrapped around each individual ski. Mummy-wrap the bundle of skis, and add some extra to the tips and tails.

6) Insert the bundle of skis into the ski bag and secure the bag with the buckles and straps. Stuff the ski bag, you can add extra padding if space allows.

Stuff the wrapped skis into a ski bag.
7) Taping up any loose ends, like straps, with some duct tape will help to keep everything in order. Tape down the loose ends with duct tape.

8) Take the ski bag to a FedEx shipping center. A lot of people are able to use the shipping/receiving department at their workplace, so that’s an option.

As noted, FedEx shipping will take your carefully packed ski bag without batting an eye. They have special hang tags to hold the shipping labels and will help with any questions you might have. FedEx has special plastic hang-tags to hold shipping labels, made just for items like soft luggage and ski bags.

If you’re not in a hurry, use the least expensive shipping method available (FedEx ground in most cases).

Keep in mind that Nordic Ultratune will usually return your skis in the packaging you send them in. Ultratune will send them back to you using FedEx. It’s easy for Ultratune to keep track of your ski bag, and easy for us to re-package your skis for safe shipping back to you in your ski bag, too.
Secure any loose ends.

Odds and Ends:
Some of you have hard-shell ski cases. Packing your skis inside of a hard-shell case is great! FedEx will ship it. No problem.

Boxes?  If you’ve already got a cardboard ski box that’s the right size, then that’s terrific. Use it! But there’s simply no need to pay for a ski box, nor to use an oversized box (an oversized box will cost more to ship).

Use a FedEx hang-tag for the shipping label.
Horror Stories? The most common horror stories are from customers who carry their skis (unpackaged) into a “UPS Store”. They ask for packaging materials and shipping. The clerk at the UPS Store then quotes them a price for a box, packing material (double whammy – they use the dreaded styrofoam peanuts!), and overnight shipping that can run up to triple digits for a single pair of skis!

Lots of skis?  You can fit a lot of skis into a big ski bag. Ski reps and racers send a dozen pair or more in a single bag.
There are 14 pairs of skis in this bag!

Let’s Summarize:
Packing skis in a ski bag is quick, easy, and inexpensive. FedEx treats them well, and a padded ski bag provides about as much protection as a cardboard box.

When they’ve been taped together and mummy wrapped as a group, they’re easy to protect.  Keep in mind that your ski bag might get a bit dirty and travel worn, but that’s what they’re for, right?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Autumn Masters Biathlon Camp

Casey picking up a fresh grind at Ultratune
Join nationally ranked biathletes Casey Smith and Raleigh Goessling for a biathlon training camp at Colorado's Snow Mountain Ranch.

Date: October 18-19, 2014
Location: Snow Mountain Ranch, Granby, Colorado
Cost:  $300
Ages: 20+
Online Registration: http://www.webscorer.com/register?raceid=27245

Equipment Needs:  Biathlon rifle, 500 rounds of ammunition, ski walking poles (i.e. downhill length ski poles), athletic footwear.

The purpose of this autumn dry-land biathlon training camp is to improve your biathlon skills while supporting biathletes Casey Smith and Raleigh Goessling.    Training sessions will focus on dry firing, live fire, training plans, visualization, dry land training and the individualized needs of masters biathletes.   Previous biathlon experience is required.

Space is limited so register early!   Contact Casey Smith.

Raleigh Goessling leads Casey Smith while sprinting for the title at Nationals.

Grinding Season is On

It's a good time to get your skis in for pre-season service work.

Precision grinding with the
Mantec Skinumericontrol 140
Before things get cold and snowy, you might want to get those skis in for a grind.   Whether it's a good pair of racing boards that need to be brought back to their best form after a season of waxing hot with powders and cold waxes, or a pair of skis with some nasty scratches that need to be cleaned up, it's a perfect time to get them serviced.

Pre-season service on your skis has the advantage of not being quite so time sensitive for YOU.   While the turn-around in the shop is normal, there isn't the looming presence of a big race to make a nervous time crunch for you.

Nordic Ultratune uses a six step process to assure that you get skis that are well prepared and ready to race.

So check out the grind menu, download a work order form, ship your skis, and then you can relax through the summer knowing that you're a step ahead of the game on preparing for next season.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Grinding Season - How much p-tex is removed?

People often ask how much p-tex is removed from the ski during the grinding process.

During the total ski servicing process, there is p-tex removed while steel scraping (before the ski ever goes through the grinder), and then of course during the grinding process.   MOST of the p-tex comes off during the steel scraping part of the process.   The steel scraping is where the bulk of the flattening and scratch removal is done.   (My educated guess is that 80% of the p-tex removal occurs during the steel scraping and the other 20% of p-tex removal is done by the grinder)

While working on a few skis today, I decided it would be a good time to make some measurements.
I collected the p-tex shavings from the steel scraping process for 20 pairs of skis.   None of these were new skis, and it was an assortment of Madshus, Rossignol, Salomon, Atomic, and Fischer skis.   Pretty much a random sample of skis in decent shape.

P-tex shavings from 20 pairs of skis.   About 2.35 grams per ski.
The photo shows a pretty scary big pile of p-tex shavings.   Note the 12 ounce coffee cup and office-sized stapler in the photo to provide a bit of scale.

From 20 pairs I collected 94 grams of dry p-tex shavings.    That's about 2.35 grams per ski.   For comparison, that is about the same weight as half a teaspoon of regular granulated white sugar.     If my estimate is close on the ratio of p-tex removed in the grinder, then about 2/3 gram is removed per ski in the grinder, with a total of approximately 3 grams per ski is taken off.