Thursday, April 17, 2014

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New Grind Naming System

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We've broken down our stone grinding menus into a simple menu and an expanded racing menu.  We recommend our core grinds on the simple menu as the starting point for everyone. These three broad-range structures provide a solid foundation to handle every condition, whether you have one pair of skis or twenty.  The reality is that snow conditions vary wildly and sometimes we need structures to complement our broad-range core grinds.  The expanded racing menus highlight our core grinds in the middle, but you'll also find the rest of the structure that have proven themselves worthy of being in our primary repertoire.

Our Simple Grind Menu is based on how many pairs of skis you have in your fleet. Ninety-five percent of racers have one, two or three pairs of skis, and we recommend different mixes of our core grinds based on how many skis you have to work with. To find the right mix of grinds for your fleet, choose skate/classic and then pick the grinds that are highlighted for the number of pairs of skis you have.

Every region has unique snow conditions. Skiers in the dry Mountain West will want to adjust toward the colder end of the menu, while skiers in the Northwest and California should consider moving to the warmer end of the spectrum. We are always happy to consult with individuals and teams to make recommendations that keep your life simple but ensure you get the best we have to offer.

New Grinds

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2013-2014 Grind Updates

We added one new grind to our menu in 2013, the S0.3. This is an extreme cold grind that we feel is even faster than the S0.1 in many conditions. The S0.1 is still a go-to grind for extreme cold, dry snow, but if you are willing to try something new, we think the S0.3 may be better. A description follows.

S0.3 - The S0.3 is a dedicated extreme cold grind that has been beating S0.1 frequently in tests in all types of cold, low-humidity snow. It seems to really take off in snow that is a few days old and has gone through some grooming cycles, but it has performed well in fresh, falling snow as well as older snow. We don't have a ton of test data on S0.3 yet, but we are confident enough in its performance to put it on the menu as a viable alternative to the S0.1, which has been a fantastic grind. Its upper temperature limit is probably around -10C/14F and it requires low humidity, dry snow.

2012-2013 Updates

We tested a few new grinds in 2012-2013, but only one made it on to the menu for 2013-2014, the S0.3. We did change the stone we are using for our extreme cold grinds in 2012-2013. This new "green" stone is made of finer grains than our standard stone and makes finer, cleaner structures and seems to improve the performance of our grinds in the green temperature range.

2011-2012 Updates

We added many new grinds to our menu in 2011-2012 and they have become the standards to beat. The S2.2 and S0.1 are two of the highlights and are still on the top of our list for fast, broad-range grinds in their respective ranges. We continue to test and try to push development.

S0.1 (LS00) – The S0.1 is the dedicated extreme cold grind that has been missing from our repertoire. This very fine structure works well in extreme cold and dry conditions, especially in newer snow with sharp crystals.

S1.2 (S1-0x) – S1.2 is great in a narrow range of “blue” conditions, but can be a bit fickle. A great choice for a dry, cold, new-snow ski, but probably not if this is your only cold ski. We are still trying to nail down exactly when this grind runs.

S2.2 (S2-1x) – S2.2 had tremendous success in its debut season. It combines the free feel of CV0 with high-speed release. A very broad range grind that goes quite cold if there is moisture in the snow and quite warm if the snow does not get too saturated. Ideal conditions are freezing and below, with new to transformed (by grooming, not freeze-thaw) snow. Probably a good choice on a one-pair fleet.

About Stone Grinding

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Stone grinding flattens the ski base, removes burnt and damaged base material and provides important micro-structure.  Bottom line, it makes your skis faster and easier to wax.  We have simplified a complicated process as much as possible, but if your eyes glaze over with the information below, give us a call and we can help you choose what will be best based on your skis and the conditions they see most often.

We have cross-country specific machines that leave bases clean and hair-free, reducing post-grind base prep and giving you fast skis almost immediately.  These machines are numerically controlled, which means that the diamond cutting system and grinding wheel are digitally controlled and can give us highly precise, repeatable grinds.  Most stone grinding machines are made for alpine equipment and can not do the fine work required on cross country skis, which have softer bases and smaller surface area.  Our machine avoids the burning, smearing and overly-aggressive structure we see in a lot of skis that are brought to us from other grinders.

  

Stone Grinding Schedule

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10/28/2013 - Current Stone Grinding and New Ski Order Status

We have a giant fall stone grinding batch going right now that includes a lot of skis we are receiving from teams and individuals as well as the remaining skis that are trickling in from our ski picking trips over the summer. Everything has been running according to schedule, but unfortunately we've hit a snag with our feed wheel and we are waiting for replacement parts from Italy to be able to run final structure. Luckily, everything is still working and we are proceeding to prepare skis for the final step in the process, but in order to ensure the best results, we will wait to run final structure until we have made the repair and the machine is running perfectly.

This means that the grind batch of 200 pairs that should be shipping right now is still waiting on the rack for final structure. The next batch of 130+ skis that are waiting will be combined with the original batch and any skis that come in this week so that by the time we get the replacement parts, we will have 400 pairs of skis to run through final structure. Not an ideal situation, but luckily, final structure moves quickly and we should still be cranking everything out before the season is here in earnest.

We expect this super-batch to start shipping Nov 10 or earlier. When it ships, we will have completed ~97% of our outstanding ski orders from the summer and fall. There are a handful of skis we are still searching for, but we have notified all affected customers already, so if you placed an order and have not heard from us, expect your skis to be shipping in the next two weeks.

If you are heading to West Yellowstone for the Fall Festival/Camp, now is a great time to get your skis ground and save on shipping! As is our tradition, the BNS Mobile trailer will be in West Yellowstone for the Yellowstone Ski Festival November 25-30 and will be delivering grind skis to customers. Simply get your skis to BNS Boulder no later than November 10 and pick them up in West Yellowstone with no charge for delivery--a savings on shipping of $25 per pair!

Grind Schedule October-March:

The cutoff for our batches is Monday by noon with a target of completion Thursday at 4PM, including hot boxing.  Please be aware that the grinding process is often finicky and if we run into trouble, the target completion is just that - a target that may have to be moved in order to provide the best quality.  We would rather get you a great grind than buzz the skis out the door and make a deadline.  But we will make every effort to keep to this schedule.

Please do what you can to help us do a better job for you.  Please send in clean skis and include complete work order forms so we don't have to track you down to get information.  Also to ensure that you are not in a hurry - send in your skis over the summer or well before you need them.  The best work comes off the machine when we have time to cut the stone perfectly and dial in the structure just right.

Hot Box: Get skis in before 4PM Monday or Wednesday, receive your skis by 3PM Tuesday or Thursday.  We are also running a Friday HB now, with completion by Monday afternoon.
Grind Batch Cutoff: Monday noon

Grind Schedule March 15-September 1

The spring summer grind schedule is variable based on batch size and when it makes sense to run skis.  We are running batches through the spring and summer, but if you have a deadline before October, please contact us to verify that we can meet that schedule and we can probably make it work.  Please get your skis to us as early as possible - we do our best work in the summer when we are not rushed and then you get skis well before you need them in the fall, without any stress.

Chris among the skis

  
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