Matt Liebsch travels extensively to hand picking Nordic (classic and skate) skis. (Click here to get on his pick list.)
A look at what is inside some skis, watch video HERE
Skis are all different, even within a pair there are differences since skis are made in single quantities, one at a time. The manufacturing process to produce a ski is still variable and the materials can change. The guts of most skis are still made of wood and there is variability in wood. In addition variability is introduced by pressing and molding cores into varying shapes for different conditions, weights, etc. Ski producers would like you, the consumer, to believe that every pair is good but that is simply not true. This is why Pioneer Midwest takes the time and expense to travel to ski manufacturers and warehouses around the country and world to pick the best skis for our customers and inventory. I pick skis based on 4 methods:
1) My hands and eyes. Rule of deliberate practice. I have touched tens of thousands of skis and I can quickly pick out the qualities and traits of a ski by sighting cambers and hand squeezing.
2) Flex board. This is a traditional ski picking method based on pocket and glide contact length. This is a tried and true method, although using secondary flex characteristics (pocket length) does not always give the most accurate indicator of performance.
3) Flex pressure mapping. This direct measurement of flex with a flex/pressure tester is our most important tool. Load cells and computers don't lie. This is a black and white measurement when it comes to quantifying quality and profile.
4) Flex tester. Our latest testing device. This is considered a standard in the industry. It measures a secondary flex parameter, pocket length and tip/tail splay. This machine allows us to test without you standing on the skis, super nice for over the phone/email customers... and no rocking/balancing required from customer. Plus, we can control the load 1/100th of a pound at a time to check varying load response.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or paste this link in your browser and fill out the ski request form.
The cost for skis is no different than the normal retail cost; $400- $750 depending on brand and model. Stone-Grinding and hot box treatment is $70. Fast skis are expensive but worth every penny of enjoyment :)