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Inside the Factory: Skin skis are coming to the World Cup

World Cup skiers testing Redline Intelligrip skin skis prior to the Lillehammer World Cup in December. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Product developer Svein Ivar Moen expects to see skin skis at the World Cup level. Photo: Stefano Zatta

“I suspect that we will se skin skis on the World Cup in not too long,” says Svein Ivar Moen.

The former Norwegian national biathlon team wax tech, personal wax tech for Ole Einar Bjørndalen and product developer at Madshus, is certain that we have only seen the start of the skin ski revolution.

“As product developers, we always assume that the product we are working on will be used at the absolute highest level,” Moen says, explaining that many of the World Cup skiers already have and use skin skis.

With more than 20 years experience as a wax tech, Moen knows that things can get quite hectic in the wax room if conditions change right before a race.

“At this point, most of the World Cup skiers use their skin skis as a backup. They may bring them to the venue as a last resort if conditions change radically right before the race starts and there is no time to prepare another pair of skis. In those cases, the skin skis serve as a safety option. However, I am pretty sure that the skin skis will evolve to a viable race day option,” he says.

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Heidi Weng with her Reline Intelligrip skis at the Lillehammer World Cup in December. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Heidi Weng with her Redline Intelligrip skis at the Lillehammer World Cup in December. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Amazing progress
Moen points out that the progress in skin ski technology over the past few years has been mind-blowing, and that skins are now available on the top racing ski models including Redline. At Madshus, the engineers and testers are constantly working on optimizing both the ski construction and the skins themselves.

“We are always working to optimize the camber and flex, and the actual skin composition, the materials used in the skins, the length of the skins, as well as the length and stiffness of the hairs in the skin. This is an area where we are currently working on a lot of different projects,” Moen says.

The bindings will expand the use
Moen points out that the new binding system MOVE, which allows the skier to move the bindings forward and backward on the NIS binding plate without stopping to take the skis off, will make the skin skis even more attractive. These small adjustments can make a huge difference in the skis grip and glide properties.

“Moving the binding backward will improve the glide. Likewise, moving the binding forward will improve your grip. So if you know that you are headed into a section of sustained climbing, you can move your binding forward for better kick, and when you see a long downhill you can move the binding backward. This added flexibility will dramatically widen the use of the skin skis both for elite racers and recreational skiers,” Moen says.

Related: Behind the scenes: A passion for innovation

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The new MOVE bindings allow the skier to move the binding forward and backward on the NIS plate without taking the skis off. Photo: Stefano Zatta

With the new MOVE bindings, skiers can move the binding forward and backward on the NIS plate without taking their skis off. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Skin skis are a game changer
While the experienced wax tech primarily works on providing the World Cup racers with those marginal competitive advantages and mostly on traditional waxable classic skis, Moen considers the skin skis a game changer for cross-country skiing.

“At the end of the day, what really drives and motivates me, is building skis and equipment that fuel that passion for skiing regardless of level – fun experiences every time. Skin skis contribute to lower the barriers to getting started with skiing, and they make it easier to get out on busy weeknights. With skin skis, it’s just as convenient to go for a quick ski as it is to reach for your running shoes and go for a jog. And I’m pretty sure we will see the skin skis on the World Cup as well,” Moen says.

Svein Ivar Moen (far left) discussing test results with fellow Madshus product developers. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Svein Ivar Moen (far left) discussing test results with fellow Madshus product developers. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Optimizing the Skin Ski

The all new Madshus Redline Intelligrip with MOVE system binding allows Photo: Madshus

The all new Madshus Redline Intelligrip with MOVE system allows skiers to adjust the binding forward and backward without taking the skis off. Photo: Madshus

With the Madshus Redline Intelligrip ski and MOVE binding system, the skier can adjust grip and glide on the skin ski by moving the binding backward and forward on the binding plate without taking the skis off.

While Rottefella bindings have been movable since the launch of the NIS system more than 10 years ago, the new MOVE concept adds a whole new dimension to adjustable bindings.

“Now the skier can adjust the grip and glide on their skis on the course to match the terrain and changing snow conditions,” says Per Wiik, Global Marketing Director at Madshus.

“For instance, if you are skiing a course, whether in a race or just touring, you can move the binding forward for better grip on long climbs, then once you get to the top, you move the binding backwards for better glide on long descents and for double-pole sections, then forwards again for the next sustained hill, all without ever taking your skis or even gloves off,” Wiik explains.

The MOVE binding is a part of the new NIS system from Rottefella, and consists of a dial on the front of the Rottefella Pro Classic binding and a new NIS plate that is pre-mounted on the ski. Using the dial, the binding can be moved into four different positions on the plate for a total of 48mm, which significantly changes the properties of the ski from one end to the other.

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The new binding system is built on an all new binding plate, which lets users adjust the binding forward and backward by turning the dial. Illustration: Madshus

The new binding system is built on an all new NIS integrated binding plate, which lets users adjust the binding forward and backward by turning the dial. Illustration: Madshus

The MOVE binding system is based on a brand new NIS plate, but the MOVE dial system can be added to the Rottefella Pro Classic binding, and for the 2018-19 season and onward, the MOVE system will work with with all NIS-compatible bindings. The MOVE system is approved by the International Ski Federation (FIS) and is legal to use in all sanctioned competitions.

A limited prelaunch of the new Redline Intelligrip skin skis will be available with the new MOVE system this fall through selected retailers.

The all new Madshus Redline Intelligrip with MOVE.

The all new Madshus Redline Intelligrip with MOVE.

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