Testing the Mr. Gripy
I first used the stand in ‘edge’ mode, using the deep grooves cut into the middle to support the ski sideways and allow for edge sharpening. Though the grooves are a fair bit wider than the depth of the ski (I guess to allow for cross country skis and those with structures on the topsheet – like older Salomons) they were stable enough to allow for one handed work without having to hold the ski for stability. This is useful if you want to hold back the brake (assuming you don’t have a clamp to do so) and you are less likely to have and injury causing hand slip. The grooves aren’t too deep to get in the way of the edge tool either, though on a skinny ski that might not be the case. I worked on two pairs of skis to test the stand, K2 SideSeths in 181 with a Salomon Guardian touring binding, 118mm waist and a decent amount of tip and tail rocker plus a pair of Armada TSTw in 174 with Tyrolia bindings, 101mm waist and tip rocker and odd tip dimensions, neither of which caused any compatibility issues with the stand.
After edging I lay the skis flat on the tops of the Mr. Gripy stands where a wide block of rubber and a cambered shape stops them from moving around. It’s very effective at keeping the skis in place, even under a bit of pressure when scraping the wax off later on. The blocks are only wide enough to do one alpine ski at a time, but can fit two Nordic skis, where it is probably more important to get your wax layers identically matched. I wondered about the durability of the rubber with hot wax and accidental iron swipes so in the name of product testing, left the iron sat on it for about 15 seconds, which impressively left no mark. Similarly, melted wax was easy to remove once it had hardened.
Because there are no ‘clamps’ like most ski tech vices, there’s very little that ‘won’t fit’ and the surface area of the rubber tops provides, what I would say, was a more solid support for the skis than traditional clamps, there's also nothing sticking up at the side for your edging tool, iron or scraper to catch. I’ve not had the chance to try it with a snowboard or skis with additional topsheet structures but for the former I think it should work fine though balancing it in the edge slots might not be quite as stable.
Using it on the floor was fine, and a marked improvement from balancing the skis on their binding or in my hand, but ideally, for the sake of you back, I’d advise using it on a table or other raised surface.
The only downside for me was that the stands are quite bulky. Although they slot into each other, I couldn’t see a way that they would fit in a double roller ski bag so would have to be taken in a large hold luggage bag if you wanted to use them while on a ski trip.
So is Mr Gripy better than a dedicated ski vice? Certainly the stands felt more stable than many of the screw-on vices that I’ve used in the past which also come with the downside of potentially damaging the surface you are clamping them on to (and needing a bench with just the right size of lip on it to clamp on to). I’ve seen and used some custom-built stands in the past that were fantastic, however they tend to have limitations for compatibility with odd shaped skis or bindings. The Mr. Gripy has the stability of the best stands and the flexibility to cope with rockers, odd shapes, most bindings and even Nordic skis which is quite an achievement. At €99 it is also price competitive with the traditional ski vices.
- Wide compatibility
- Good Value
- Easy to use and works pretty much anywhere
- Portability could be better, it is quite bulky but any smaller and stability may be sacrificed