Testing skis is a science. Peter Blom at work during a test camp at Sjusjøen in April. Photo: Stefano Zatta
The snow may be melted, but the Madshus test crew never stops testing. Check out how they pick the perfect skis.
This time of the year, Peter Blom and his fellow Madshus test-crew members are testing and selecting over 1000 pairs of skis for the upcoming World Cup season.
“We have been testing extensively since this winter but the spring and early summer months are particularly intense. That’s when we go out with the national teams and try out many of the new models and bases that we have been working on, and try out the different grinds that we offer and find which run better in various temperatures and snow conditions,” Blom explains.
The extensive testing and data collection not only helps Blom and his crew pick the perfect skis for the World Cup racers. This also benefits skiers at all levels.
“There is really no difference between the skis we pick for the World Cup skiers and the skis you can buy at your local retailer. We pick from the same stock, all made right here at the Biri factory. Sometimes we try new prototypes on the World Cup circuit, just as a part of the testing, but everything that performs well will be available to the consumer market as soon as it has been proven perfect,” Blom says.
Story continues below
Madshus racers are actively taking part in the testing processes, like here at Sognefjellet. Photo: Madshus.com
Picking a thousand pairs of skis
The Madshus test crew selects skis for all the different national teams and elite skiers who order directly from the factory.
“We just finished picking skis for Russia, the Czech Republic, the Baltic countries and Japan and are shipping those to the distributors in the various countries. Earlier this spring, we selected skis for the elite Norwegian racers and several of the other national teams, so I estimate that we have picked about a thousand pairs so far. Once we have made the selection, we send the skis down to Roger Dahl in the grinding facility at the factory. He is the one who makes sure the skis get the correct grind according to what the teams have ordered,” Blom says, adding that only rarely do they get skis returned from the teams.
“We pick out skis based on the information the teams send us, and based on what we know about the skiers. We often meet them throughout the winter at various races and events, so over time, we get a good idea about which skis and models might be a good fit for the individual racers.”
Story continues below
Yet another set of test skis waiting. Photo: Stefano Zatta
Blom explains that selecting the perfect skis is part science and part experience.
“There are a lot of theories out there on how to pick the right skis, but it’s not so easy to see which ski is the best just by looking at the stats for a certain ski model. Ultimately, it comes down to getting test skis on the snow, trying them in all kinds of conditions, making meticulous notes and keeping track of different skis, bases and grinds over time.”
Accordingly, Blom and his men ski a lot. They ski in sunshine and snow and rain, in cold and warm conditions, on dry snow and wet snow, at high altitudes and at sea level and everything in between.
“I ski at least a few times every week from August until the end of June. So when I go on summer vacation in July, I try not to ski,” he says with a laugh.
Svein Ivar Moen (left), Haakan Nordbäck and Peter Blom comparing their findings during a test camp at Sjusjøen this spring. Photo: Stefano Zatta