When we started in the ski grinding business, ten years ago, the North American market was far from convinced that aftermarket grinding had a great deal to offer. At the time Nat Brown was the only dedicated ski grinder in the country, and Finn Sisu was one of the only shops putting grinds on skis that didn’t make them slower. In spite of the fact that specialty grinding had been widely accepted in Europe, and completely adopted by the World Cup field for a decade, most US and Canadian domestic racers never thought of having their skis ground. Conventional wisdom, at the time, was full of misconceptions about hairy bases, hundreds of layers of wax required to make skis fast, and so on.
How times have changed! These days the racers who don’t get their skis ground are as rare as the one who did get them ground used to be. The market is much more sophisticated than it used to be, and the demand for excellent ski service is higher than ever. These days I seldom have to explain the grinding process, or the benefits. I don’t have to reassure people that we don’t slow skis down – a new grind will make their good skis better.
For good measure, I’ll provide the run-down for old-times sake:
The number of times a ski can be ground depends on how much material needs to be removed to reach a good starting point. If the skis are badly damaged or warped then a lot of material will need to be removed, and it may only be possible to grind the skis four or five times. If the skis have been well cared for, then very little material is removed and the skis can be ground twenty or more times.
Grinding can extend the life of your skis by returning them to a state where they are easier to wax, and therefor less prone to damage while waxing (which is when most damage occurs).
In peer-reviewed studies it has been shown that:
Grinding in the Fall makes it snow sooner
Grinding in the Winter makes you race faster
Grinding in the Spring helps with tax returns
Grinding in the Summer is a waste of time, and besides, we need to take a break.