From the Chairlift

October 18, 2023

The “Cutting Edge”

We just spent a lot of money on a robot. I know that robots are common in the manufacturing of cars and that sort of thing. Lately, robots are getting more common in ski tuning, too. Starting at the factory level skis are getting built and tuned by machines instead of humans more and more. Robotic tuning is now the standard factory practice. As a shop, we have never had that type of machine. First, we did everything by hand. Then came the “stone grinder” which allowed us to pattern a ski the same way they did it at the factories. It was about the cost of a car. We bought one in 1989. We upgraded for snowboards and wide skis about 10 years ago. Another purchase that was like buying a car.

Now we have upgraded again. This time to state-of-the-art, factory level, automated machines that smaller manufacturers use. Wagner Custom Skis has the same one. So does Moment Skis. In California, we are the first to have this particular set up in a retail operation. This was a big commitment. This cost more than any car I have ever purchased. This cost more than my first house.

Why would we do this? Well first and foremost we have always prided ourselves on our tunes. We have always had state of the art tools and machines. We also have been lucky to have had exceptional employees. Martin Sulser was our head tuner for about 15 years until COVID. Martin was without peer. A legendary tuner of skis! Martin’s hand work, combined with our stone grinder, produced tunes that people came from near and far to have done.

Now, it has become impossible to match the best factory tunes without going to a computer-run, automated machine. These units do all the steps necessary to get a perfect tune all by themselves. Feed in a ski and the machine will pass the skis back and forth in a selected series of operations.

We had to have one. We negotiated terms and set a date. We had the USA tech here for the install. We also had the lead tech from the factory in Germany. We even had the owner of the company here to watch and help and thank us for entering into this partnership. Stephan Reichmann is the 3rd generation to be shaking hands with customers looking to grind skis. We had a great time with the crew. We are skiers after all. That binds us together. Stephan is also very mechanically technical like us, so he loved explaining all the little details about his machines. All the Reichmann staff are very smart and friendly.

So now we are all excited to tune our skis on this new wonderful machine. You can too! We are running the pattern you see above on tunes (called “fingerprint”). Our turnaround time on tune ups will be much faster. And every tune will come out like it was done by a master!

We had Stephan Reichmann sign the machines during a little ceremony.

We named the machines after Martin…