I make the skis from a craftsman’s perspective.
Making fine skis is like preparing a dinner for two. The better the ingredients, the better the quality of the meal.
Fine dining restaurants usually use the highest quality, freshest ingredients available, attracting a limited clientele for a 'higher end dining experience'. While at the other end of the market, Fastfood chain restaurants use lower end, cheaper product in order to achieve mass sales at low prices.
The fine dining restaurants attract those who appreciate better quality food, paired with fine wines, matched to their preferences; while the quick service restaurants provide food for the hungry.
This is similar to the ski market.
The 'custom market' works by offering a 'base' ski made from 'basic materials' and then allows the customer to upgrade to better quality bases, cores, edges, and colourful tops of any design. Custom made skis usually run between $1,800 to $3,500 or more, depending on the materials the customer would like used. An outstanding option for those that can afford it.
The mass ski producers on the other hand maybe gross only $400 to $500 per pair. As a result, they tend to use cheaper materials in order to mass produce and feed a large market. Mass producers typically use protruded soft plastic base material, standard thick and heavy edge materials, and reduce core material by inserting plastic in the tips and tails of skis, and construcing sidewalls out of plastic or similar materials. The skis are good for sure. I have skied on them for 60 years; but after buying few custom pairs myself, I fully understand the difference that high-end materials make to a skis performance.
So I am trying to bridge the gap – and I think I can, because I am not a mass producer nor am I a bespoke ski maker. I am a hobbyist!
I have access to the same high quality materials as bespoke custom ski makers, but because I am not making them to order, I can offer them at a more reasonable price.
I certainly do not make a ‘race ski’, but by using better quality, custom designed cores, base material and light weight hardened racing steel edges, I can produce a ski that slides and tracks well; and is a joy to ski.
For those interested - here's my approach:
I use full ‘edge-to-edge’ integrated bamboo wood cores that are custom made to my specs. I do not use plastic nor synthetic sidewalls.
- By extending the bamboo through the sidewall to outside edge, the skis provide more direct and powerful edge control, over those that use the traditional transition through plastic sidewalls.
I use bamboo cores that run from ‘tip-to-tail’; allowing the ‘fully integrated wood core’ to enhance the skiing experience.
- Most production manufactures use ‘plastic fill’ in the tips and tails of their skis in order to reduce weight and cost. However, they also give up the natural ‘pop’ that a ‘fully integrated wood core’ brings to the skiing experience.
I try my best to spec environmentally friendly materials.
- I use predominately bamboo cores due to its light weight, natural spring, unconventional longitudinal strength and eco-friendliness.
- I attempt to use environmentally friendly epoxy compounds made from predominantly plant based materials.
- I use a hardened tungsten steel lightweight racing edge to ensure the highest quality, sharpest and strongest edge.
- This is a hardened edge that is not as susceptible to damage from rocks and other obstacles.
All skis (unless otherwise noted) are made with a high sintered base. I currently use Isosport IS NHS Race 7816 sintered race bases featuring a graphite mix, making it super-hard and super-fast.
- Production skis are typically made with a softer extruded base material (that is comparable to a 2,500 sinter hardness) meaning a softer base that goes slower and more easily damages by rocks and other obstacles one might encounter.
- These bases are so slippery that last year I did not have to wax my skis until the spring.
- I use a wood veneer top sheet on all skis.
- I like the feel and authenticity of a wood finished ski, over the current plastic offerings and they are more eco-friendly.
- I burn the Waist Deep logo onto the ski by hand
- I notate on the ski tail the following: the ski length, shape, and radius; composites used; number the ski; and sign it (they are my art)
- I hand sand and hand varnish three-to-four coats of finish on the skis with a soft sanding in-between coats.
I handcraft each pair of skis from bamboo and other high-end source materials. As each piece of bamboo has unique characteristics and markings, much like a snowflake, each pair of skis will also have unique markings and characteristics. This is not a flaw but rather a benefit of using natural fibres.
My goal is to make some really fun boards for skiers who like to carve and ski deep snow.