Take A Look Inside Peltonen, World’s Most Modern Ski Factory

…It’s almost impossible to believe that barely two months ago this part of the country felt as cold as the Finnish cold could ever be while hosting one of the most prestigious skiing competitions in the world: the Lahti Ski Games.

Today the Lahti region ( officically Päijänne Tavastia – and good luck pronouncing that correctly) is living through a scorching hot spring day and, judging by attire ( almost universal shorts for men, light dresses for women) the last thing on people’s mind is winter sports.

We are here, however, because of skiing ( and rollerskiing – more of which in a separate story)

Because today we visit what is branded as the “world’s most modern ski-producing factory”. Or, perhaps, the biggest of the smaller ski makers.

…The world ski production is dominated by large brands: Fischer, Atomic, Rossignol, Madshus, Salomon, sometimes collectively called as FARMS. Not a big secret that they make most of their money off downhill skiing ( or, in case of venerable Madshus, being owned by a large sporting goods conglomerate).

It’s FARMS’ products we get to see on TV and in the web photos: almost all top athletes use theirs skis via sponsorship programmes.

Smaller firms are fighting for the slice of the market, largely avoiding expensive sponsorship at the World Cup level

There is one notable exception we can think of: Nadine Fähndrich of Team Swiss. A 22 year old, widely considered to be one the most promising athletes of her generation, is doing her skiing on Peltonen skis.

Nadine Fähndrich and her Peltonen Supra WCR

Peltonen is anything but a new name – in the 1970s the Olympic Games and the world championships were won on the skis from ( then) Hartola, Finland

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Peltonen prides itself on being the first company to introduce dedicated skating skis during season of 1984/’85. 

In 2011 Peltonen has moved from its historic Hartola factory to the new one – in Heinola.

And here’s inside look into how the high-end skis are produced at the heart of Finland – and the people behind that fascinating but hard & skillful work.

Sidewalls birch tree,
core: Nomex ( type of aramid) for race skis and Peltonen-patented Aircell for everything else. “Nomex is a tiny bit lighter”
Timo Toikka, sales manager of Normark, parent company of Peltonen, inspects what would within an hour become a pair of racing skis
Modern top range skis are one of the very, very few products that could be described as “fully European made”. Consider this: spruce and birch tree from Finland get bonded with Germany-made aramid cores and P-Tex by famed Isosport from Eisenstadt, Austria. Add Swiss-sourced inks for printed designs – and you have who-is-who in European industrial might taking part in ski production.
Needless to say, all the resins, fibres and other materials are eco-friendly and
the specialists are adhering strictly to environmental manufacturing techniques ( you really would not want to try anything else in Finland, where environmental laws are among the world’s strictest)
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the fastest developing sector of the market, at least in the Nordic countries: skin skis
this plasma machine is responsible for making supremely accurate grooves for skin skis.
Price? astronomical. Top end equipment always, always costs
Marwe’s top range rollerskis also start their life on Peltonen production line. Their cores is virtually identical to Peltonen’s top range Supras and Infras
All skis are checked on Ski Selector for correct flex. Those of Racing Line ( Supra CR and Infra WCR) additionally undergo a matching test by a skilled operator. Difference in flex for those can’t exceed 2kg and Peltonen says nobody, even the most sensitive skier can tell the difference within those parameters
Asked to which of the FARMS skis Peltonen would be the closest in feel, Jarmo Pilli, Peltonen company’s production manager, answers almost without a second’ pause: ” to the latest Rossignols”
These gentlemen can afford a ( cautious) smile.
After years of decline & stagnation, the ski market is finally picking up with more and more people trying skiing and rollerskiing for sport and entertainment ( yes, entertainment!)
Left to right:
Pekka Korpela, CEO of Marwe; Timo Toikka, sales manager Normark,
Paul Fletcher, Media & marketing manager at Marwe; Jarmo Pilli, Peltonen production manager
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