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How can I tell if my skis need stonegrinding?

Stonegrinding is not something that is necessarily needed each season. In fact, just because a base may look “battle scarred”, that doesn’t mean it should be immediately stoneground. If the skis are still fast, don’t grind them. With that being said, I wouldn’t wait to grind any longer than a couple maybe three years at the most. In the upper Midwest, our winters are hard on your ski base. Frequent cold temps (below 32°F) abrasive natural and man-made snows dictate the need for hard glide wax application. Abrasive cold snow and higher temps required to melt these and fluor waxes conspire to scab your ski base resulting in poor wax adhesion.

Other times when stonegrinding is appropriate:

  • New skis — Some skiers prefer to start a new pair of skis with a stonegrind, while others will use them “as is”, preferring to see how the ski performs first before deciding if they might need a stonegrind. Should you decide to grind a new pair of skis, iron in a few coats of wax and if possible ski them in.
  • Custom grinds for a quiver of skis — structure to specific snow conditions — cold dry to warm wet.
  • There are some brands/models that experience excessive localized base swelling from the waxing process. In some cases, grinding can eliminate and in other cases only minimize the convex base. A ski base consists of a limited amount of polyethylene. Careful grinding is required.

A stonegrind will not improve the performance of an improperly fit ski.

If you suspect your skis need stonegrinding, bring them into the shop. Our expert Tom Novak will check them out.

Do your skis match the conditions?

Do your skis match the conditions?

Given the radical swings in temperature and snow conditions we are experiencing in the upper Midwest this season, it is time to reevaluate your race ski quiver.


Tom’s Musings – Musings #9

January 9th, 2019 

Since the 2015/2016 season I’ve been able to shed some of my store responsibilities and work exclusively at stonegrinding. Back to my roots. In my college days back in the early 70’s, I worked seasonally at an alpine ski shop tuning skis initially by handfiling and in subsequent years with various dry/wet sanders . Downstairs in the shop all by myself, me and my tools. So it’s a gas to be working only on skis again. And going from hand files to sophisticated computer driven grinding machines is a dream.

In the previous month I’ve had shoulder and knee surgery. My stonegrinding has been limited or nonexistent. But this speed bump has given me a chance to work with fellow store grunt, Devin Arenz, on learning grinding skills. In addition to being really tall and incredibly busy and being the stores go to guy doing everything , he’s got good hands. And he’s a quick study.

I will be back to grinding in a few weeks in time for all big races coming up in February. With the erratic snowfall this season, our new grind testing guys are slowly getting out and testing a variety of new skate and classic grinds I produced before my surgery. A new concept diamond bit has been involved in some of those new grind ideas, too. I am very anxious to finish vetting the new grinds and getting the success’s on our grind menu.

— Tom Novak, Head Stonegrinder at Finn Sisu

Tom’s Musings – Musings #8

January 9th, 2019 

Thoughts about the past 2017/2018 season.

Depth, line spacing, texture, frequency, linear, broken linear, bias and compound. Grind characteristics that xc techs explore. We explore them to determine whats fastest for broad and narrow range use in the myriad snow conditions mother nature or manmade throws our way. We continually explore to upgrade, amend or delete grinds. Ideas and observations are continuous. What works? Well, all, some or none. That’s why we test. And test. And test. Besides, the guys like getting out of the store. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of testing. Especially with the variety of snow types that we now ski on – real, manmade and mixed. So when snow changes, when sun angle and sun duration changes, and all that other temp stuff changes, we get out and test.

One last thought – I can’t emphasize enough how fortuitous it was to recognize the need for 2 stonegrind machines. Or more to the point, 2 different stones. An aggressive aggregate stone for prep work and a finer aggregate stone for finish work. This setup efficiently speeds up the grinding process. AND, offers the chance to dedicate a different diamond bit to specific use on a specific machine. Life is good.

— Tom Novak, Head Stonegrinder at Finn Sisu

Gear Talk: A Little Goes a Long Way

After skiing for a number of years, the need to purchase additional gear – whether it be ski equipment, waxes or clothing – can ebb and flow from one year to the next. One season may find us trying or adding small things here and there, while others are notable for big purchases such as new skis, boots or poles.  This time around, I made a few additions/substitutions to my skiing toolbox that while relatively small, were key and worthy of passing along. (more…)

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