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WC level tuning with SKI MD... REVIEW !!!!!!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

After doing some research and reading here and there, I have tried to give SKI MD a shot..

 

There are several reasons for that, but the biggest one actually happened last season..

I had my other skis RC4 WC RC/almost new/ at the time stone grinded  and tuned from a local shop.

 

Besides the fact that the guy almost ruined my bases on skis that were used 4 times, the biggest surprise has yet to come... My very first trip to Vermont in early December...

 

After getting off the lift and going down, I fell like 2-3 times on relatively flat terrain... When I was trying to make right turn, the left/outside/ skis didn't want to turn - literally.. After talking with some guys from the local shop we came to conclusion that the bases were concave therefore the edges wouldn't be done right and this fact was making the skis unpredictable, really hard to ski on....

 

With that experience in mind I decided, that is worth to drive almost 400 miles to get the skis tuned by the guy who does that for a living...

Not to mention, that the cost of shipping of 2 pairs of skis was the same as gas I put in my car, BUT I was able to see the whole process with my own eyes.......

 

First a few of his credentials:

 

 


Mike de Santis founded, owns and operates SkiMD. His experience is unsurpassed at the retail level, allowing the beginner through expert or racing participant access to factory level service. 20 years of continual development has created an ideal refinishing system that works for everyone. 

While at Volkl, Mike was overwhelmed with the negative feedback on the company website from consumers in regards to their first “shop stonegrind.” The retail effort back then and now continue to be apathetic regarding the proper restoration and installation of tuning parameters. Realizing the need for someone in the ski service industry who could consistently deliver the proper finish to shaped skis and snowboards, is what prompted Mike to leave Volkl and develop the SkiMD Refinishing System.

Mike’s extensive background combined with 43 years in the sport of skiing, are instrumental to his success:


  • Graduate Stratton Mountain Ski Academy 79’
  • NCAA competitor UVM Ski Team
  • Physical Education Degree UVM 84’
  • 7 years World Cup Technician/ WC Race Director for Volkl
  • 4 years Product Development Manager for Volkl
  • Member Volkl International Test Team
  • Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in the fields of World Cup Service and Product Development for Volkl Skis.
  • Technical service consultant for Volkl, Blizzard, Dynastar and Elan skis


Mike created his own proprietary finishes for top athletes such as Hilary Lindh, the 97’ DH World Champion. Kate Pace, the 93’ DH World Champion. Katja Seizinger, the overall World Cup women’s downhill winner many seasons over. Other athletes include Picabo Street, Kristina Koznick, Heidi Voelker, and former U.S. Snowboarding Team athlete Rosy Fletcher, Olympic Bronze medalist. Working in tandem with Volkl Germany, allowed Mike access to some of the very best factory technicians in the world. Combined with deep factory knowledge of ski design and construction, the foundation was built to create a system that has such a broad level of success. This is what truly differentiates SkiMD from all the rest.

CALL SKIMD @            508 981 4608      


 

We never knew how much of a difference shaped skis made until Mike re-tuned them for us. The difference was night and day - easier to turn, much better edge hold, and great snow feel. At first we'd still occasionally let someone else work on them, usually when we were traveling. They were never the same until we took them back to Mike to be done correctly again. While Mike's work costs more than the $20 special near the mountain, his work lets us make the most of the $80 lift ticket. We don't let anyone else touch our equipment anymore.

Doug Abel 

>> More Testimonials 

volkl_sm12.jpg

 

 I am pretty sure most of you have read that already, but I wanted to be clear..

 

Having tuned the skis for athletes like H. Lindh; P. Street; H. Voelker and many others is  enough alone, but I want to mention, that  were most successfull in speed disciplines like DH and superG, where the skis have more gliding and sliding/or staying flat if you want/, compared to SL and GS...

 

This is where the base grind matters, besides the fact, that you'll need a flat bases to achieve correct edge angles.....

 

Now onto the tuning...

I brought to Mike 2 pairs of skis. Both were race skis: SL and GS...

The tune I chose was WC tune.


SkiMD WC Race Prep Finish: 120.00 SL or GS / 135.00 SG or DH
Specialized "Lightning" technical and speed ski base strucures that have actually "won" World Cups, World Championships, and Olympic Medals! Designed to restore or prepare new race skis to perform to maximum potential, includes all base work, Ceramic Disc Race Edge set, Waxjet Hot Wax finish. Dominator Graphite Wax impregnation for all speed skis.

 

According to Mike this is the same tune that he prepared for WC racers...

 

For the sake of companies I will not mention brand names.. The SL skis were brand new/in plastic/ and the GS skis were skied on like 4-5 times and were base grinded and tuned by another local shop which actually did the job very well....

 

The skis were stripped  form bindings, plates, etc; to become perfectly flat surface, cause otherwise you wouldn't have equal pressure, when grinding them, period... Then he started measuring the flatness with a true bar..

 

Even on brand new skis bases weren't flat and those edge specs the companies give you are nothing more than paperweight/mostly  due to poor bases prep/.......

 

 Each ski then went back and forth to the grinder like 4-5times.. Base flatness was measured after each and every grind..

After achieving perfectly flat bases,

Mike did on each ski his signature base finish texture...

 

Then we went to the next step: edges...

Setting the edge angles on highly computerized  Wintersteiger machine  with ceramic disc/ which leaves nice finish to the edges/, was nothing short of spectacular..

The skis were looking so good and sharp, that I wanted to put them on and ski down the street over the asphalt/ although I am pretty sure the edge would hold stronglysmile.gif/..

 

After all that the skis were waxed and bindings put back ON... One more thing to mention:

On some brands the heel and toe pieces stand at a different height.. It is totally worth to pay just a few more dollars to get that fixed. It feels like it is easy to initiate the turns to me, especially with a big ass >27m. radius GS skis..

 

There is no detuning of and kind.. Edges are nice and sharp from contact point to contact point.

 

Skiing this season on both types of skis is just the best..

I never had a better more secure feeling.. You know your edges are there.. Initiating the turns is easy, smooth and predictable. Besides waxing the skis/which is more for base protection/,  I really feel that my skis are faster, because of the speed grind Mike did...

 

Overall experience, excellent. Mike de Santis is easy nice going guy who brings the joy of skiing to a regular folks like me and you.. Some people would say is a little expensive...

 

If you look around most of the qualified shops that do speed grinds are about the same price..For me the most expensive part is shipping, that why I drove there...Buying brand new skis is way more expensive.. I think now is perfect time for most people to get skis tuned like that, so you will have perfect ski the rest of this season and probably for the next season too/ unless you ski every day/........

 

I am not connected, paid, or affiliated with SKI MD by any means..

Just doing this review, because I wanted to pass to  fellow skiers my excellent experience with SKI MD services, so they can enjoy it too...

 

Why, it is simple:

we all love the sport of skiing..

 

Best regards to all....... Andy smile.gif

post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 

If anyone has any questions, I would be glad to answer...

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Bttt......

post #4 of 15

We are finding the same problem here in Australia, maybe more so than in other countries as we rarely get powder so it is way more noticeable when a ski is tuned badly on groomers.

 As a ski tuner for over 30 years both by hand and also by various machines, I first noticed this problem at my own shop when I purchased a new Wintersteiger snowboard grinder (Micro71) which was supposed to do both skis as well as snowboards, I have a degree in Mechanical engineering so when the skis I tuned became virtually unskiable after a tune on this new machine I spent a serious amount of time trying to find out why, as I had previously used a Montana stone grinder for skis and had a huge following for my tuning services.

 

A few basics here are, Wintersteiger machines use a much softer stone than a Montana machine, so Wintersteiger stones cannot come into contact with any metal edges, so edge base bevelling has to be done prior to any stone grinding, Wintersteiger snowboard grinders like the Micro 71 come with a very wide belt running over a hard rubber wheel, when a snowboard is run over the belt pressure is applied to the top of the snowboard which presses the board into the belt so belt places a bevel of around 1 degree along the base edge, this works well for snowboards as they are relatively the same width from tip to tail and even if the narrower waist gets pressed in further than the wider contact points, it is hard to tell that the board has more base bevel in the narrower area.

 

Take a modern carve ski which varies significantly in side cut, and then for foam core skis most have a concave base, this sees the pressure applied to the top of the skis while running over the bevelling belt, place a bevel of all sorts of weird angles most of them fairly disastrous to ski with, most shops in Australia now use a Wintersteiger Micro 71 or the equivalent for tuning both skis and snowboards, while it does a fantastic job on snowboards it really is incapable of tuning ski base bevels, yet very few people know this until they get their skis tuned on one.

Where a ski is widest it gets the least amount of bevel, where the ski is narrowest it gets pressed further into the belt and so gets way more bevel, now if the ski is at all concave, this sees the ski get pressed in even further, seeing as concave skis are usually at their worst at the widest points, this can see a huge bevel placed at the tips and tail, I have measured bevels in excess of 8 degrees in skis that had a really concave base and were wide, while using the same pressure the edge bevel under foot was correct at 1 degree.

The answer appears to be use a ceramic disc edger, problem with this is if the ski has been over a base over moulder it has to go over the belt first, so even if then placed on a ceramic edger to get the 1 base bevel, if the bevel is already at 3 – 8 degrees a ceramic beveller is not going to do anything to change the angle back, and that ski is fairly unskiable and certainly does not want to turn.

I have found the answer is to avoid shops that tune skis on a Wintersteiger snowboard grinder, if you need any serious base repairs.

post #5 of 15

Thanks for the info on that one.  The only time I ever take my skis in to be touched by a shop is for base grinding, then I re-tune and edge them at home.  Now I know to check first to minimize the re-work at home.

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 


I am not an expert, just a customer like you guys..

After each grind skis were checked for flatness with true bar, also I mentioned that the skis were stripped completely of bindings, plates, etc. to become perfectly flat.

 

Paulski;  He uses Wintersteiger machine/don't know which one, but the edge beveling was done after the grind...

You must be doing something different, cause  I don't know  how you are going to bevel the edges if you don't have perfectly flat base... The way his machine for edge beveling is set/bases run flat on rollers and ceramic disc cuts base and side edge.....

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Thanks for the info on that one.  The only time I ever take my skis in to be touched by a shop is for base grinding, then I re-tune and edge them at home.  Now I know to check first to minimize the re-work at home.



This isn't your average ski tuning shop........

post #7 of 15

That was not a comment on SkiMD, but most of us aren't going to ship our skis off to be tuned, hell the shipping would be more than I'd pay for a tuning, so if there's an issue with a tuning machine, I'd like to know about it. 

 

As for dropping them off at SkiMD, this is a bit of a trip for me....
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by andy4g63 View Post


This isn't your average ski tuning shop........

post #8 of 15

Last year I had my skis tuned at a local shop. Just standard tune and wax. Next time we went skiing they were virtually unskiable. Completely unstable even on easy green groomed terrain. Took them into the resort shop, the tech took a look and said the edges had been essentially ground off. He didn't know if they were repairable. A friend recommended SkiMD. Basically said that if anyone could fix them Mike could. And if he couldn't he wouldn't. Mike did his magic and the skis skied better than ever. We went back this fall to have go back over my skis and have him give my wife's skis a complete tune. Both of us were really happy with how the skis performed. A fall trip to see Mike will probably become an annual ritual. Highly recommended.

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Sibhusky, I understand your point... And there are no issues with the machine whatsoever.......

 

I know shipping is a expensive, but I think SKI MD have had some specials/on shipping/ during off season/ like $45 or so 2 way Fed Ex shipping which for skis is pretty cheap...

 

I especially feel the difference on my FIS legal men's/R>27/ GS skis.... Basically you make your old skis  better than new.........

 

RISkier, thanks for mentioning your experience...

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by andy4g63 View Post

 


 

Paulski;  He uses Wintersteiger machine/don't know which one, but the edge beveling was done after the grind...

You must be doing something different, cause  I don't know  how you are going to bevel the edges if you don't have perfectly flat base... The way his machine for edge beveling is set/bases run flat on rollers and ceramic disc cuts base and side edge.....

 

 



You can still bevel edges if the base is concave or not flat so long as it is not convex as the reference point will be the edges on both sides of the ski that the rollers sit on, not the ptex base.

I am no expert on every Wintersteiger machine out there, my comments are based on the ones I am familiar with, which are snowboard specific stone grinders which are supposed to do skis as well, they Micro 71 in particular, they came with a soft stone which gives a great base pattern, but as the stone is so soft, if it comes in contact with metal it will slightly damage the stone and the pattern set by the diamond dresser, this now damaged stone will transfer that pattern to the base of the board or ski, the only way to avoid damaging the pattern the dressing diamond puts in the grind stone is to avaoid contact with the metal edges by bevelling the base edge prior to the final stone grind, on a Micro 71 this is done by using a belt over a rubber wheel while weight is applied from above.

It is possible to buy harder stones that can grind metal like the Montana machines use, and maybe this guy has done that, or maybe he uses a ski specific machine like I do at my shop rather than expect a snowboard grinder to tune skis well.

I might add this only becomes a problem if the skis have had base overmoulding, I am thinking yours maybe hadn't so would not have required belt grinding.

post #11 of 15

Due to adhesives curing, skis no matter how high quality will often bow across the base, this is even more prevalent/noticeable on the wider skis.   Out of the box I noticed on my iM88s that there was some concave areas at the widest points...I haven't bothered to correct this since it really does not seem to affect their performance, but for race skis used only on track surfaces it is said to make a big difference.   Fortunately my race skis are nearly perfectly flat except at the very tips.   

post #12 of 15

 

If I'm reading this correctly,  have you tried exchanging the wheel for one of a significantly harder rubber, or reducing the weighting pressure?   Or is the % variation still too great?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulski View Post

 Wintersteiger snowboard grinders like the Micro 71 come with a very wide belt running over a hard rubber wheel, when a snowboard is run over the belt pressure is applied to the top of the snowboard which presses the board into the belt so belt places a bevel of around 1 degree along the base edge, this works well for snowboards as they are relatively the same width from tip to tail and even if the narrower waist gets pressed in further than the wider contact points, it is hard to tell that the board has more base bevel in the narrower area.

 

Take a modern carve ski which varies significantly in side cut, and then for foam core skis most have a concave base, this sees the pressure applied to the top of the skis while running over the bevelling belt, place a bevel of all sorts of weird angles most of them fairly disastrous to ski with, most shops in Australia now use a Wintersteiger Micro 71 or the equivalent for tuning both skis and snowboards, while it does a fantastic job on snowboards it really is incapable of tuning ski base bevels, yet very few people know this until they get their skis tuned on one.

Where a ski is widest it gets the least amount of bevel, where the ski is narrowest it gets pressed further into the belt and so gets way more bevel, now if the ski is at all concave, this sees the ski get pressed in even further, seeing as concave skis are usually at their worst at the widest points, this can see a huge bevel placed at the tips and tail, I have measured bevels in excess of 8 degrees in skis that had a really concave base and were wide, while using the same pressure the edge bevel under foot was correct at 1 degree.

The answer appears to be use a ceramic disc edger, problem with this is if the ski has been over a base over moulder it has to go over the belt first, so even if then placed on a ceramic edger to get the 1 base bevel, if the bevel is already at 3 – 8 degrees a ceramic beveller is not going to do anything to change the angle back, and that ski is fairly unskiable and certainly does not want to turn.

I have found the answer is to avoid shops that tune skis on a Wintersteiger snowboard grinder, if you need any serious base repairs.

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post

 

If I'm reading this correctly,  have you tried exchanging the wheel for one of a significantly harder rubber, or reducing the weighting pressure?   Or is the % variation still too great?
 



That may see it tune skis well but not snowboards, but I still doubt any machine that uses a constant pressure from above will put a consistant base bevel due to the fact that as the surface area varies so much with skis the pressure would vary accordingly and therefore the edge angles, a ski that is greatly concave suffers the most, high quality wood core skis that are flat are close.

Obviously I tried reducing the weighting pressure amongst a lot of other things, reducing the weight only sees less bevel where it was greatest before, and also less bevel where it may have been correct before, and we are talking about the belt here that is used to remove the overmoulding material, reducing pressure so much that the bevel is almost correct would see very little plastic removed by the belt.

I can imagine if a very firm rubber was used under the belt, this could work but then hand finish the edge bevels, I know guy here has done that and got reasonable results with a micro 71

 

The Micro 71 can be used for skis if the skis are base edged first either by hand or with something like a ceramic edger and that way not run over the belt at all, I found this worked for me until I purchased a dedicated ski stone grinder.

post #14 of 15

Mike may not have needed to remove steel from the base edges of your skis if the base was already too high.  Using the stone grinder on a flat ski or one that is railed is a recipe for disaster (for the stone...would require way too many major stone dressings); I think he belt sands if this is the case, removing enough steel that he can grind the base to flat with the base edge.  I can't speak to the Micro 71; it sounds like there are issues that can't be easily remedied by using the same belt sander/contact wheel for both skis and snowboards.

 

Having previously tuned skis by hand and using Wintersteiger machines, albeit not as tricked out as Mike's, I can honestly say that his tunes redefined what a "good" tune means to me.  His base grind is blazingly fast, and the edge prep and geometry are beyond compare.  To be clear, this isn't a weekly tune we're talking about here, it's a yearly tune in the absence of major damage.  After the base geometry is set, all you really need to do is sharpen the side edges and wax (again, barring major damage).  For me and lots of people like me, it's an unbelievable steal to get your skis tuned by Mike and returned in better-than-new condition.  It doesn't hurt that he's a stone's throw away from me, either, but he's so good that I'd send them to him.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by andy4g63 View Post


I am not an expert, just a customer like you guys..

After each grind skis were checked for flatness with true bar, also I mentioned that the skis were stripped completely of bindings, plates, etc. to become perfectly flat.

 

Paulski;  He uses Wintersteiger machine/don't know which one, but the edge beveling was done after the grind...

You must be doing something different, cause  I don't know  how you are going to bevel the edges if you don't have perfectly flat base... The way his machine for edge beveling is set/bases run flat on rollers and ceramic disc cuts base and side edge.....

 

 



This isn't your average ski tuning shop........


 

 

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilikebeer View Post

 

 

Having previously tuned skis by hand and using Wintersteiger machines, albeit not as tricked out as Mike's, I can honestly say that his tunes redefined what a "good" tune means to me.  His base grind is blazingly fast, and the edge prep and geometry are beyond compare.  To be clear, this isn't a weekly tune we're talking about here, it's a yearly tune in the absence of major damage.  After the base geometry is set, all you really need to do is sharpen the side edges and wax (again, barring major damage).  For me and lots of people like me, it's an unbelievable steal to get your skis tuned by Mike and returned in better-than-new condition.  It doesn't hurt that he's a stone's throw away from me, either, but he's so good that I'd send them to him.

 


 

 


That is what I've been trying to explain......... Thanks.

 

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