Growing up I was an off the shelf ski connoisseur, by that I mean I had a pair of skate and a pair of classic skis that I was handed once and not told much about. Of course as my ski career continued and became more serious, knowing more about my skis and what conditions they worked best in was more and more important. I began to order skis through ski shops instead of buying off the shelf and even had many skis picked specifically for me from warehouses in europe. While these skis that I was receiving were much more tailored for myself and my skiing style than the skis I had previously owned I still only knew as much as my ski rep would tell me, "soft ski with a warm grind, use in slushy snow." With this is mind this specific pair of skis, in my mind, was only good for that one condition. Now that I am working with GearWest I have access to their knowledgable staff and flex testing machine that can not only confirm or deny what my skis are good for but also tell me if they would be better suited for a condition they weren't initially intended for
The machine at GearWest tells you exactly how your weight is distributed over the skis, letting you know if the ski is flexed right for your body weight, what conditions it will work in best, and where exactly to apply your kick wax to insure that you will have optimal kick without unnecessary drag. Jenny first had me stand on my skis while she slid a business card under them, this is the quick and traditional method to find where your weight is being distributed by the ski. during this initial test Jenny marked where the skis were lifted from the platform with half my body weight on one skis and then with all my body weight on a ski, making quick marks on my skis showing where the bases met the wood. After these measurements were made my ski was placed in the machine and my body weight was applied slowly via a corkscrew that pushed on my bindings. With 55 pressure sensitive nodes under my ski a graph was produced that showed force applied to each node, therefor revealing where the weight was being put on the bases. With the nodes being very close together Jenny was able to edit her previous marks as to where my kick pocket should be with either hard wax or klister.
Having never had access to a tool like this before, my kick zones were always decided my myself or my coach squeezing my skis together and making a rough estimate as to where my skis met. While this (luckily) worked out for me I did often question whether my kick zones were correct, as it is easy to over apply kick wax, leaving you with great kick but possibly unknown drag that will be slowing you down all day. I am now entering this years season with a fleet of skis that I feel confident I could match with any condition. All in all the process at GearWest to flex test my skis was extremely simple and made easy with the help of the amazing staff there. Jenny talked me through the entire process, explaining each step and what it was for. Having skis flexed is certainly something I will do with every new pair of skis that I get from here on out!
-Posted by Zane Fields on Jan 23rd 2020