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By Krista Crabtree
posted: 02/04/2005

The materials used in a ski's construction have a profound effect on the ski's performance, in particular its flex profile. Though most companies use similar materials (some even buy materials from common suppliers), it's the recipe-which specific materials are included or excluded and how they're layered-that creates a given ski's unique personality. The center, or core, of a ski typically includes some or all of the following: wood, fiberglass, foam, metal, carbon and. A graphite-composite base, sidewalls and a topsheet finish it off. After the ski materials are layered like a sandwich-starting with the metal edges- the mold is placed in a press, which heats the ski, literally cooking it. Some companies make their skis flat and then bend the tip later, while others use 3-D molds with the camber line-the bend in the tip and tail-built in. High-end race and specialty skis are usually assembled by hand, and very few can be made daily. Therefore, most production skis are assembled in a semi-automated factory and travel via conveyor belt to assembly machines. Whether skis are hand- or machine-made, employees such as Magali Galera, who laminates topsheets, and Stefan Obrknezev, who grinds ski edges, are integral at every step.

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