Ski Picking Trip #1

Ready for boarding

Ready for boarding

Amy and I are in terminal E at Logan Airport, ready to board a flight to Munich for our first ski picking trip of the year. Gunnar skipped school for the day to come down to Boston with us and meet Amy’s mom, who flew in to spend a couple of weeks with the boy while we’re off playing working.

For the past couple of years we’ve been making this first ski selection trip in May instead of June because the earlier trip works better with the production schedule at Madshus. This is our final scheduled trip to Norway of the summer, so now is the time to let us know if you need anything from Madshus! We’ll visit our other industry partners later in the summer, so there’s no immediate rush on those. But Madshus ski picking starts next Monday, the 23rd and wraps up that Friday.

We’ve never had a very robust ski order form set-up on our website. Our original web form proved to be an untenable security risk and opened the door for some hacking problems. For the past couple of years we’ve used a PDF form, but it only works on about 50% of our customer’s platforms. So – we’ve put a new system in place. Now you can visit http://shop.caldwellsport.com/skis/ to place an order and a $20 deposit on our e-commerce site. The deposit is fully refundable of things don’t work out. It’s mostly just there to assure you that you’re really initiating the ordering process. It seems more real than just sending a form out into the ether! It might take us a day or two to respond while we’re on the road, but we’ll certainly get the order and get at least the preliminary details onto our pick list.

New hardware!

New hardware!

The most astute readers out there might have noticed the fashionable black cast-looking thing on my right arm in the picture above. Well spotted! Those of you who follow us on facebook, or who are on our mailing list (you can sign-up below if you didn’t recently receive our Annual Report email) might have already heard my sad story. The short version is a broken Scaphoid, an ORIF (open reduction internal fixation) surgery, and a cast for the next seven or eight weeks. A bunch of people have asked the obvious question; how the heck am I supposed to pick skis with my hand in a cast? The short answer is that I plan to read some really good books and maybe ring a cowbell or offer other forms of encouragement to Amy while she picks skis.

The long answer is more reassuring. I do rely on my hands, a lot, to evaluate skis. When we’re looking at a bunch of skis from different brands, models, and production series, this is critical. I am not in good shape for doing fleet evaluations of existing skis. However, selecting new skis is different. We can take our time to evaluate the production series that we’re working with, and gain an understanding of material response using flex testers (we’ve brought our own portable one). After that we can lean heavily on factory measured flex values to index the strength of the skis, and more importantly, we can visually check very subtle differences in the camber, which will heavily influence the way the materials express on the snow (length of the pressure zones and shape of the transitions). 90% of our selection work involves selecting good cambers, and once we’ve got a strong understanding of the material response of a given production series, we can do really good work with measured values and visual camber inspection.

OK – that’s the current situation. Were gearing up for a short night of sleep followed by some stimulating Autobahning. Sign up for the mailing list below, and if we get enough new subscriptions maybe we’ll even do a mid-summer newsletter.

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HA! This is a trick form (at least on my browser). It won’t show me a “submit” button. But in the last year about 150 people have figured out how to use a previous version with the same problem. So it can remain a puzzle. Maybe it will work if you just hit “return”…?

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