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By Krista Crabtree
posted: 02/04/2005

After skis reach the end of the production process, they're subjected to a series of fine-tuning procedures. Each ski goes through a flex machine to calculate the precise amount of pressure needed to flex it. Although some companies make skis in pairs, most skis are paired later by matching skis closest in flex. Skis then pass through stone-grinding machines to tune the edges and structure the base.
Master tuners like Jean Christophe tune race skis by hand, often tailoring the skis to the specific requirements of World Cup athletes. Romuald Bouvier and Fred Beauquic test and scrutinize every race ski. Quality control extends through the entire process, and ski and boot samples face frequent durability tests to track the force needed to damage them. Machines that perform repetitive or extreme tests-such as unhinging boot buckles thousands of times or placing skis in a freezer and flex-testing them with hundreds of pounds of force-set warranty standards and suggest areas for future improvement.

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