Thursday, December 27, 2012

Is it too late to stone grind for the Birkie?

by Tony Mommsen
See our Stone Grinding Services

7 weeks to the  Birkie
You forgot to get your skis stone ground last fall. Last winter you thought they were looking a little scratched or not quite flat. You know “Flat skis are fast skis”. But you also know after stone grinding it takes time to build up wax layers needed for fast skis.

 Why stone grind
Skis get beat up. Rocks can scratch, irons can glaze or concave the bases. Fluoro and other materials can clog-up your bases and reduce their ability to accept new wax. Our first pass through the stone grinder is to remove these irregularities and give you clean, flat bases. The second pass we add micro-structure for the conditions (temperature) the skis are to be raced in. Structure controls the adhesion or cohesion also called suction or friction. For cold conditions we add less structure, for warm conditions we add more. 

If your skis are needing some love,
check out our stone grinding services

Grind now or wait until summer
Look at your ski bases today and if you see problems you should grind them soon or wait until the season is over. Grinding now will give you time to saturate your bases with wax and give you fast skis for the Birkie.

Race day for the Birkie (or any race) can be any weather condition: new snow, hard pack, cold or thaw. If you have more than one pair of skis, each pair should be assigned to the temperature range where they work best. You may have a cold, medium and warm skis. Grind them to match: cold skis will have less structure, warm skis will have more. During the season wax each pair for their temp range. A week before you should have a pretty good idea of the race day conditions and be able to focus your efforts on one (or two) pair of skis.

Step One - Select Race Skis
From on-snow experience, designate skis for cold, medium and warm conditions. We suggest cold and medium grinds. If weather is warmer on race day racers you can add more structure with a hand riller. Aggressive, warm weather grinds are difficult to remove the days before a race. Bring these skis to Gear West, we will confirm you made the right selections, and determine if stone grinding is needed.

Grind plan for two pair of race skis
a. Cold grind
b. Uni2 grind

Grind plan for three pair of skis
a. Cold grind
b. Medium - Uni 2
c. Warm - Uni 3

After the Grind
Hot boxing is included with all grinds -- this gets ski bases fully saturated.

Hot Boxing
Hot boxing is free with all stone grinds. We apply a layer of special soft wax to your newly ground skis and place them in a box where they warm for several hours. While in the box the wax penetrates the base.

Hardening off the base
Post hot box you should apply four to five layers of hard wax (like blue). These layers is called Hardening off the base and will make the base is more resilient to wear. 

The right company
The best knowledge! The best equipment! The stone grinder of choice for Gear West
is the Montana Crystal SR producing a superior structure that is fast the first time
you put it on snow.

Gear West Stone Grind Services
Stone Grinding - $59.99 pair.
Learn about our grinds below - bring your skis in and we will help select the right grind.

Cold C1
The Gear West C1 Grind is our coldest structure pattern. The ultra fine broken linear structure is designed to effectively ride over the sharpest of snow crystals (often seen on dry, fresh fallen flakes) at the expense of moisture management that "warmer" grinds provide. We suggest it for temperatures below +10F when the humidity is below 20%

Uni U2
The Gear West U2 Grind is the best all-around ski grind in the Midwest. While it won't perform quite as well in either very dry and cold conditions or exceptionally warm and wet ones, it's modest broken offset structure truly excels in "typical" conditions. It performs best in fine, transformed snow, which often occurs when temperatures are between 5 and 20F when the humidity is between 20 and 80 percent.

Uni U3
Providing some additional moisture control over it's sibling, the U2, the Gear West U3 Grind is an ideal all-around grind for high-humidity areas or for dedicated warm-weather skis. It runs best on old corn snow (which often exists when the temparature is between 20 and 30F and the humidity is above 40%), though it does not run as well in finer or fresh fallen snows.

Wet W40
The Gear West W40 Grind is designed to channel moisture and provide maximum break away speed in the wettest conditions. It's wide and aggressive open linear structure allows for remarkably fast skis in melting or moisture-dense new snow, though it may struggle in fine-grained or new snow.