I’ve just wrapped up a four-day visit to the Madshus factory in Biri, Norway. It was a multi-purpose trip, like all factory visits, and as usual the most important part of the visit is the opportunity to work with the people who design, build and support the skis. This is where we get an inside look at the concept and direction behind the skis. And, of course, we picked skis as well. Erik Nilsson met me in Biri, and together we picked skis for CS customers and inventory, and a handful of Madshus sponsored skiers and biathletes.
Getting a look inside the skis from time to time is important to help maintain a perspective on the materials that make up the ski. To understand what we’re looking for in the skis, and to understand the adjustments being made continually by the racing department, we need to understand the balance between materials and shape, and how the design of the ski can change and evolve. Each time I’ve been to the Madshus factory we take a quick tour, and each time I’ve got new questions. I’m pretty sure I want my own ski factory!
The design process is continuous for all ski manufacturers. Madshus is no less active than any other company chasing different concepts and ideas. During this trip Per and Haakan rushed two pairs of an experimental new cold skate ski through the final stages of production so that I could carry them home and prepare them for Noah to test in New Zealand. He’ll be the first guy in the world to have these new skis on mid-winter snow, and the guys in Biri are really eager for the feedback. Being involved at this level is a real kick, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Erik and I picked a great looking inventory of skis over the past several days. There were no huge changes to the models this year; just a slightly adjusted layup to the 118 model skate ski that will make it a bit more supple. But the quality of everything looks excellent. Madshus continues to demonstrate astonishing control of their materials and process.