Custom Ski Grinding
In the search for the fastest skis, the base structure or "grind" is very important. These structures are typically produced using a stone grinder and they have two functions:
- They reduce suction caused by water films. If you spill some water on a smooth table surface, put a flat glass plate on the water and try to slide it on the table, you will find that there is resistance to motion. This same type of suction effect can cause bases to "catch" on the snow surface, slowing them significantly. Creating peaks and valleys in the base -- through base structures -- prevents the formation of continuous water films.
- They reduce the contact area between the base and the snow. The snow surface is not flat and the base slides on snow crystal points called asperities. With the right structure, we can reduce the contact area between the base and these asperities and minimize friction.
Base structures can be linear or cross hatched (diamond-shaped). The spacing of the lines can be wide (coarse structures) or narrow (fine structures) and the lines may deep or shallow. Linear structures are usually faster and better for wet snow, but they can make the skis difficult to turn. Cross structures improve the maneuverability of the skis but may reduce top speed.
Factory structures are based on average European snow conditions and the needs of recreational skiers. So what does a guy in France or Austria know about the snow in the Northeast or the Rockies, or about the events you participate in?
There are many variables in choosing a good structure that will match your needs. A very deep linear structure will work very well for a 220 lb downhiller, but will make turning the GS skis of a 120 lb girl difficult to turn. These are the factors we consider in choosing the best structure for you:
- Snow type -- This is a general description of the snow as wet, dry, hard pack or ice.
- Discipline - Technical or speed?
- Ability -- Are you just starting out, or are you an experienced racer?
- Weight -- It's important because it determines how much heat is generated at the base.
- Base material -- Black, clear, hard or soft? This will show us how long a structure can be expected to last.
Working together, we'll develop the ski quiver that works best for you. For example, we'll grind your new racers and turn them into a pair of rocketships, and we can bring your trainers up to race specs so you'll have a fast backup pair. How 'bout your old racers? As edges get filed thinner the skis become softer and easier to flex, making them good terrain skis. We can put a new snow structure on them, giving you the right tool for the job in new snow with lots of ruts.
Preparing Newly Stoneground Bases
A base that has just been ground will be dry and hairy and both of these conditions make it slower. To get the benefits of a good structure, the base must be saturated with wax and the microhairs polished off.
Note: The following procedure takes time (two to four hours of actual work time depending on how fast you are) but the results are worth the elbow grease. These bases will be race ready after you are done.
After stone grinding:
- Spray the base with Holmenkol Reiniger Base Cleaner and rub with Holmenkol Fiber Fleece. Let dry for at least half an hour. (The Basic stops here)
- Scrape 2-3 times using a sharp Holmenkol Plastic Scraper. Wipe with lint-free Holmenkol Fiber Fleece.
- Iron Holmenkol Betamix into the base. If you can put the skis in a hot box at 150F for two hours or in a sauna at 200F for an hour after ironing, wax penetration will be a lot better. (The Racer stops here) If you don't have access to a hot box or sauna, try leaving them base up in the sun till you see the wax turning liquid and leave them there for an hour or two. While the wax is still soft, scrape carefully with a Holmenkol Metal Scraper or with a sharp Holmenkol Plastic Scraper.
- Brush aggressively with a Holmenkol Oval Bronze Brush. Wipe with Fiber Fleece, then set the base and side edges. (The Master stops here and gets a coat of travel wax)
- Buff using a green Holmenkol Pad by hand. Wipe with Holmenkol Fiber Fleece.
- Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 one more time (you can skip the hot-box treatment this time) to saturate the base with Holmenkol Base Wax, remove the P-tex microhairs and round off the structure. Wipe the base with Holmenkol Fiber Fleece.
- Sharpen the edges, since Holmenkol pads dulls them.
- Iron in a Holmenkol Base Wax - hydrocarbon wax. Now you can either store for travel or wait for at least an hour, scrape and brush. The base is now ready for race wax. (The World Cup stops here)
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