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Inside the Factory: Building Skin Skis

How do we build skin skis? Constructing the optimal skin ski presents a handful of added challenges compared to traditional skis.

Most importantly, you want to make a ski that makes you forget that you’re skiing on a skin ski. To do that, you want to make sure you maintain the properties of the ski and make the ski feel and behave like your waxableskis. So how do we accomplish that?

 

How do we build the IntelliGrip® skin skis? Photo: Ian Coble

How do we build the IntelliGrip® skin skis with perfect kick without sacrificing great glide? Photo: Ian Coble

Perfect kick and amazing glide
Madshus head of engineering, Bjørn Ivar Austrem, explains that one major challenge is that you need a skin that provides both secure and reliable grip as well as superior glide, and that is built like perfectly applied layers of wax. To achieve that, Madshus has developed a method to cut a pocket in the base that is deeper toward the ends of the skin, which in turn makes the skin protrude progressively toward the middle and taper to the ends – just like the perfect wax job.

The IntelliGrip® skins are set down into the base, rather than attached onto the base, to create smooth transitions between base and skin and ensure reliable grip without sacrificing glide.

“Progressive skin skis provide better grip than skin skis with a flat skin. When using a progressive skin, a ski that has a normal to high camber will provide better glide. So we found that by folding the skin into the base, we are able to maintain a high camber that keeps the skin off the snow when gliding while the skin is aggressive enough to make contact with the snow in the kick phase. Again, this is exactly the same principle as the perfectly waxed ski,” Austrem says.

A progressive skin that is set down into the base creates a better, more waxlike experience. Photo: Stefano Zatta

A progressive skin that is set down into the base creates a better, more waxlike experience. Photo: Stefano Zatta

The engineering conundrum
At the same time, this progressive skin construction presents a challenge, because the skin has to be folded into the base without compromising the properties of the ski, such as flex and stiffness. These key properties are a result of the thickness of the ski and the distance between the top and bottom layers of the fiberglass and/or carbon fibers that provide stiffness. Adding only a millimeter to the distance between the top and bottom layers of the fibers can make the ski significantly stiffer, and vice versa: placing the layers a millimeter closer can make the ski that much softer, Austrem explains.

“Once we cracked that code, we managed to construct a lively ski that’s stiff enough and fast enough to race.”

Of course, the actual skin matters as well.

“We use a blend of mohair and nylon on most of our models. The mohair provides great glide and reliable kick, while the nylon adds durability and prolongs the life of the skin. On the Redline IntelliGrip® , we use 100 percent mohair,” Austrem says, adding that the skin can easily be replaced if it gets worn out or damaged.

More skiing, less waxing, and still perfect kick and glide. That is the IntelliGrip® skin difference. Photo: Stefano Zatta

More skiing, less waxing, and still perfect kick and glide. That is the IntelliGrip® skin difference. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Time to Play

Spring skiing at Beitostoelen. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus
Spring skiing at Beitostoelen. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

Spring skiing at Beitostoelen. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

Some of the best skiing is yet to be had this season! Are you ready?

With longer days, lots of sunshine and a whole season’s worth of accumulated snow pack, now is the time to head up high and take advantage of your fitness and technique base!

Spring can bring about some of the best skiing of the year. Benefit from early morning crust skiing: cover some serious distance just cruising across the gift of the night frost. Skate or classic – your choice! Or, if you’re lucky enough to have consistent grooming in the late season, make sure to take advantage of the last tracks.

However, the combination of cold nights and long sunny days can also offer some of the most challenging waxing conditions for classic skiing. But instead of tinkering with klisters and soft wax, which tend to ice up if you hit fresh powder or drifted snow, try the new Madshus Intelligrip skin ski concept. Choose between the skin ski model Terrasonic Intelligrip Base, which comes with a mohair/nylon skin in the kick zone and ready for any track or trail right from the box, or the removable Intelligrip skins. Unlike traditional removable skins, Madshus Intelligrip fits any ski, from the skinniest race skis to fat backcountry boards.

Madshus new skin concept is the most versatile skins known to man, offering grip and glide you’ve never experienced on skins before.

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The new Madshus Terrasonic IntelliGrip Classic ski features a brand new, innovative skin made from mohair and nylon in the kick zone, eliminating the need for traditional kick wax while still maintaining exceptional glide - and makes classic skiing easy as pie.

The new Madshus Terrasonic IntelliGrip Classic ski features a brand new, innovative skin made from mohair and nylon in the kick zone, eliminating the need for traditional kick wax while still maintaining exceptional glide – and makes classic skiing easy as pie.

The exceptional performance is the result of combining mohair in the kick zone for grip and polyethylene, which is the same material used in the Madshus racing bases. This not only secures unmatched glide, but also helps avoid icing, a common problem with traditional skins.

The whole setup is so small it easily fits in your pocket, a drinking belt or a daypack. Madshus Intelligrip are easy to put on whenever they are needed, and work both on groomed trails as well as in the backcountry. And they can even be applied on top of grip wax! How smooth is that?

Madshus Intelligrip fits perfectly in your pocket when not in use. Photo: Madshus.com

Madshus Intelligrip fits perfectly in your pocket when not in use. Photo: Madshus.com

 

Spring: The Best of the Season

Spring is a great time for exploring terrain that might not be open other times o the year, such as Ottlaugkampen in Rendalen, Norway. Photo: Inge Scheve
Spring is a great time for exploring terrain that might not be open other times o the year, such as Ottlaugkampen in Rendalen, Norway. Photo: Inge Scheve

Spring is a great time for exploring terrain that might not be open other times o the year, such as Ottlaugkampen in Rendalen, Norway. Photo: Inge Scheve

Long days, lots of sunshine and a whole season’s worth of accumulated snow pack can bring some of the best skiing – time to explore!

Head for the hills and the mountains, and roam terrain that might not be open other times of the year. Spring offers some of the most magnificent skiing opportunities.

But the combination of cold nights and long sunny days can also offer some of the most challenging waxing conditions. Enter Madshus Intelligrip, the most versatile skins known to man: monster grip and glide you’ve never experienced on skins before.

And unlike traditional skins, Madshus Intelligrip fits any ski, from the skinniest race skis to fat backcountry boards.

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Madshus Intelligrip fits skinny racing skis as well as traditional backcountry skis. Photo: Madshus.com

Madshus Intelligrip fits skinny racing skis as well as traditional backcountry skis. Photo: Madshus.com

Madshus Intelligrip fits perfectly in your pocket when not in use. Photo: Madshus.com

Madshus Intelligrip fits perfectly in your pocket when not in use. Photo: Madshus.com

The exceptional performance is the result of combining mohair in the kick zone for grip and polyethylene, which is the same material used in the Madshus racing bases. This also helps avoid icing, a common problem with traditional skins.

The whole setup is so small it easily fits in your pocket, a drinking belt or a daypack. Madshus Intelligrip are easy to put on whenever they are needed, and work both on groomed trails as well as in the backcountry. And they can even be applied on top of grip wax! How smooth is that?

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