Race Ski Selection

The undeniable benefits of proper ski selection and maintenance has been known in other countries for a long time; however, its acceptance in Canada has had slow uptake.  Fresh Air Experience has been at the forefront of Canadian ski selection, ski testing and base grinding methods for almost a decade. As of today, in Canada, the science has reached a widely accepted level and it is espoused by all, including by our governing body Cross Country Canada.  However, there remains few retailers with the full range of service offering and expertise to be able to implement best practices.  We pride ourselves as one.

At Fresh Air, we can confidently interpret the results obtained through each of the varying tests to select the best ski for you, given the conditions and skier ability.

“There are a variety of ways to test and select skis including using your hands to squeeze the skis together, reading the factory data off the ski, performing a bench test, or by using a ski testing apparatus that tests one ski at a time.”

The following describes our specific tests.  Each is performed by an experienced professional.

Fresh Air Classic Ski Selection

Identification of ski conditions: As a starting point, we consider your preference for hard track skis, kilster/wet conditions or soft/new snow conditions.

Review of Factory Data:  The factory data marked on the ski and the related online manufacturer tables are used to narrow down the initial population of possible skis.

Assessment of Mid-Flex:  Mid-Flex is the force in kilograms (analogous to body weight) required to compress the ski.  Mid Flex is tested precisely by Fresh Air using a pointer machine (an apparatus typically only found in specialty Nordic shops).  The pointer machine results are vast improvement over manual methods, such as the “paper test”. Whereas the paper test can only be assessed and full and half body weight, the pointer machine allows us to assess the characteristics of the ski at a full range of pressure weights, and to learn how the ski closes through the range.  The results are compared to your identified body weight and ski ability.

Assessment of Wax Pocket: As a starting point, and consistent with best practice, the font pocket is marked while 50% body weight is applied to the ski.  The back pocket is marked with 66% body weight applied.  Again, this is done using the pointer machine, which allows minute adjustability to body weight.   We mark the sides of the skis for your future reference.

Assessment of Residual Camber (the area of the ski that does not flatten):  We guarantee that our skis have no or very minimal residual camber, and it can be managed though proper wax application.

On snow Assessment: Sorry, we cannot test the skis on snow.  Once you try out your skis on snow for a limited time, if you are not completely satisfied, please phone the store and ask for the Ski Manager.

Fresh Air Skate Ski Selection

Identification of ski conditions: As a starting point, we consider your preference for packed (groomed)/new snow, hard packed, moderately hard, or soft conditions.

Review of Factory Data:  The factory data marked on the ski and the related online manufacturer tables are used to narrow down the initial population of possible skis.

Assessment of Mid-Flex:  Mid-Flex is the force in kilograms (analogous to body weight) required to compress the ski.  Mid Flex is tested precisely by Fresh Air using a pointer machine (an apparatus typically only found in specialty Nordic shops).  The pointer machine results are vast improvement over manual methods, such as “paper test”. Whereas the paper test can only be assessed and full and half body weight, the pointer machine allows us to assess the characteristics of the ski at a full range of pressure weights, and to learn how the ski closes through the range.  The results are compared to your identified body weight and ski ability.

Assessment of Pressure Zone and Pressure Distribution (the surface area on which the ski is gliding):  This is important in determining which snow conditions the ski will perform optimally.

On snow Assessment: Sorry, we cannot test the skis on snow.  Once you try out your skis on snow for a limited time, if you are not completely satisfied, please phone the store and ask for the Ski Manager.

Have a Question? Need Some advice?

If you’re not sure what to buy and you would like our staff to help you choose the correct ski for you, please complete the contact form on this page to provide us with some basic information. We’ll find a few ski options for your specific needs and then contact you to choose the right one together.