Postseason Ski Care and Grinding
by David Chamberlein
I have lived in Bloomington for over 8 years now and with all this winter’s natural snow I have had the pleasure of skiing new trails never open to skiers in past snowless years. For me, the magic of winter is fresh snow on the ground and in the trees, and this winter, we had many beautiful ski experiences. Yet with the end in sight, it is time to consider post-season service of skis.
The simplest service we can do for you is waxing your skis for summer. Several wax service options will condition and protect the base material through the off-season.
1) A basic summer glide wax that uses a wax that saturates the base material but also leaves the bases with a hard finish for protection.
2) RTS (Ready To Ski) is a more thorough base treatment using our hotbox. With the RTS we fully saturate the bases using a unique thermo hotbox wax meant to penetrate. After scraping and brushing the ski we iron in a harder wax. This final wax layer is left on the skin for protection when stored for the summer. Next fall or early winter the wax can be scraped and the ski can head straight out on the snow.
3) Our third option is Race Ready Hot Box. We offer an extreme saturation hotbox treatment using the same first step as our RTS but finishes with another harder coat of blue wax in the hotbox for a shorter duration but higher temperature. This final layer hardens the base material and sets the ski up well for race waxing. We also use a better-quality race wax for this treatment. It is a fantastic final step for skis that have been stone ground (more on that below).
We always start by cleaning the bases with a glide cleaner for all our wax options.
We now have a Triple Capacity Hotbox. Why is it exciting for both of us? The new heating element we use is much more consistent than other hotboxes and we have a ventilation system that maintains precise heat throughout the entire box. The new capacity allows us to be way more efficient to prep skis in big batches. We can move skis through our waxing processes and back into customer's hands extremely quickly. Lastly, we now have backup regulators that will keep skis safe no matter what unforeseeable malfunctions might occur in the system.
Stone grinding services. Stone grinding is a process that will re-flatten the base of skis, remove the top layer of polyethylene to bring up fresh base material, and press in the optimal structure pattern for the skis into the base.
We take stone grinding seriously at Gear West. We invest time into staying current with our grind menu, work process, and equipment. Skis that see a fair amount of waxing must be ground periodically to renew bases and allow for the ski to accept wax optimally again.
Over time heat can ‘seal’ the bases by melting the sintered polyethylene and closing off the pores. The flattening process peels micro layers off the base and removes that dead material. The bases will visibly look much better, but most importantly, will function the same as new.
Lastly, in the grind, we press a final structure pattern into the base material that helps the ski interface with the snow. These microgrooves in the base material manage the snow's moisture content and significantly improve ski glide.
Our structure menu offers you broad range of grinds which work great across many conditions and snow types. We have plenty of information on our website about our stone grinding process and are always happy to talk about grinding or grinds in the shop or by phone.
Which grind on which skis? Schedule a fleet analysis. Bring in your skis for evaluation this summer when we are not so busy. Reviewing how your skis flex underfoot will determine the type of ski you own and help us decide the best grind to optimize each ski. A stone grind paired with one of our wax services is the best way to rest your skis for the summer and prepare them for next winter. If you raced the Birkie this year you are a candidate for the types of performance gains that a stone grind can provide to your skis!
Our last order of business – the Gear West Summer Ski Picking Service! Are you in the market for a fast pair of skis? For a warmer pair? A colder pair? Just a fun pair? Call us or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Going factory direct allows us to choose from a huge stock of skis and make choices that will result in the Best Fit for YOU. There is no extra charge for our ski-picking service, we just request a $100 deposit which will go towards your ski when it arrives in the fall.
We had a busy season at Gear West and I am looking forward to spring. Putting away my skis is a mental ritual that helps me pivot and start thinking about my bikes, running shoes, and roller skis. Taking care of my skis provides peace of mind to know that my skis are conditioned and ready for next winter. We look forward to assisting you with the transition!