You might know me as a Mountain Guide and backcountry whittler of words, but way back in the day I actually studied industrial design to degree level. 

While I may have turned my back on that career, I still love the whole design process, so when a product like Happy Norwegian’s Mr. Grippy ski tuning stand comes along I’m as keen to learn about the concept and design itself as I am to find out whether the end product really works! 

So intrigued was I that I sat down with Espen Hinsch – the CEO of Happy Norwegian – to find out more . . .

The brain child of Espen and his friend and colleague, Brage Eriksen, Mr. Grippy is a pop-up ski tuning stand designed to offer a space-saving, affordable solution to the expensive business of ski servicing.

Being true Norwegians, Espen and Brage were practically born with skis on their feet, keen on both cross-country (XC) and alpine skiing from the start. Fast forward to 2016 when they were both students, studying economics and entrepreneurship, of all things. They were living in small apartments, with precious little space to service their skis and no work bench in sight.

They were looking for a portable solution, having been frustrated that you could blow over €200 on expensive vices that might wreck your table and still wouldn’t really work for both kinds of ski.

And so the first wooden prototype of Mr. Grippy was born. 


Like all the best ideas, the concept is refreshingly simple. Mr Grippy is basically two blocks (like stools) that support either end of your ski, on any flat surface. 

The end product may be minimalist and straight-forward, but the journey to production was anything but. 

To begin with, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Getting the right combination of materials took a while. They had every kind of production problem. Bonding the rubber to the composite structure was a nightmare… But in the end their struggles have been our gain.

The latest stands are robustly moulded from a sturdy composite material, with the oh-so-grippy rubber layer melted (thus firmly bonded) onto the composite moulding later. The rubber is unbelievably grippy and tacky and the more pressure you apply to the ski, the more it grips. 

They also experimented with size and the latest iteration is perfect for servicing a single alpine ski at a time, or for waxing both your XC skis together for a perfect match. Having been rigorously tested by the Norwegian freeski team, they are confident that they will really last the distance.


Cleaning the bases is a doddle, with the ski sitting flat on the stands. To sharpen your edges, simply roll a ski onto its side into the slots provided. This is where it gets clever – as your slim tip and tail will easily slot in, then you slide the stands together until the slots grip on a wider section of ski (although don’t go too nuts with this, or you will struggle to release them afterwards). 

Your ski is now well and truly clamped and will take any amount of pressure as you file your edges. I was slightly concerned about the metal filings getting stuck all over the grippy rubber surface, but a quick rinse or wipe with a damp cloth nailed that pronto. 

All good so far . . .

With the stands clean, flip the ski to work on the base. This is where I discovered a double bonus, as you can put the stands anywhere you want. This meant I was able to put the ski across my stove and under my extractor hood to P-tex the bases (yes, I know, I should get a P-tex gun – but I usually do this on the road!). Back on the worktop, waxing was super easy. I had to experiment to shift the stands under the optimal point on the ski, but this is so quick and easy. In fact, once again, it is better than a fixed position ski vice.

With rubber grips on the feet as well as the deck, scraping the wax off the length of the ski was no drama – nothing budged at all. Just get the Hoover out quick before the other half gets home! Seriously though, any cooled wax just chipped off the stands after use, and cleaning up was a doddle.

This is where Ms. Tidy comes in.

As the ‘female’ in the partnership, she’s obviously the ultimate cog in the wheel that makes the whole process efficient and practical.

Ms. Tidy is an optional clip-in extra storage tray that allows you to slot the stands together, bundle all your ski service kit into the tray, giving you a single block to keep all your kit together to store neatly away.

Overall I was suitably impressed and convinced this is a serious solution. These now have a place in the van for all my alpine road-trips, as I will be able to service my skis in any boot room, hotel room, alongside at the quay or out the back of the van on the roadside if needs be. 

On the down side, at 33 x 26 x 17cm when stacked, they are a bit too big and bulky to fly with, but for all other trips they are the answer.

Having been adopted by the Norwegian ski team, they have been super well tested and developed. Espen and the team are understandably proud of their quirky product – deservedly so, in my opinion. 


Affordable, practical and proven – a truly excellent solutionfor ski servicing on the move.

Where to buy
Happy Norwegian