Like to go local? The check out these skis made in Colorado.
When the Discovery Channel wanted to show its viewers how handcrafted skis were made, they knew where to go. Colorado isn’t just home to some of the best skiing in the world, it’s also home to some of the best handcrafted ski and snowboard makers in the world – one of which was highlighted in a recent episode of the popular series, How It’s Made.
“I really don’t know how it all came about,” said Ted Eynon, owner of Meier Skis. “We just got a call one day that said they wanted to feature us on the show, and of course, we jumped at the chance.”
The show sent a camera crew out to Meier’s factory in Glenwood Springs last summer to film each step of the process of making skis by hand. They shot hours of footage, but when the segment aired, they were able to condense the entire process down to three short minutes.
“It was funny to watch because it made it look like you could actually make a pair of skis in three minutes,” Eynon said. “I wish it was that easy.”
In reality, the process is very long, very laborious and very painstaking. Because of the time involved, Eynon and the other handcrafted ski and snowboard makers throughout the state work crazy hours all summer to ensure that they’ll have enough inventory to keep up with demand during the ski season. Then, once the snow flies, they have an entirely different obstacle to overcome.
“The challenge at that point is one of logistics,” Eynon said. “You have to get the skis on the feet of skiers.”
Unlike the big brands that have distribution at all the major sporting goods stores and an advertising budget that puts them front-and-center in the consciousness of most power hounds across the country, small independent ski and snowboard makers have to bounce from one resort to another, and attend every skiing event they can get to in an effort to get new people to pound the pow on their handcrafted skis and snowboards. But once those precious turns are taken, it’s usually pretty difficult to get the skis off the feet of the person wearing them.
“It’s remarkable to me how many people get on our skis and they’re just blown away by the difference it makes,” Eynon said. “Once people figure that out, they’re hooked.”
And the fact that the skis are made around the corner from where they’re skiing is most definitely a huge selling point. From handcrafted skis and snowboards to custom bikes and craft beers, there’s a growing trend across the country – and especially in Colorado – of people placing a greater value on where things are made rather than how much they cost. But Eynon said that in this case, location isn’t necessarily everything.
“Being locally made is important. And it’s becoming more and more important to a lot of people,” he said. “But it’s also got to be high quality and high performance otherwise no one is going to buy it because it’s not authentic.”
That kind of authenticity is only possible when something is crafted with the kind of care and attention to detail that comes from making it by hand – a fact that was apparent in every second of the three-minute episode of How It’s Made. But that wasn’t the only thing that was crystal clear after watching the segment.
“I think it reinforced the fact that, just like the craft brews, the boutique handcrafted ski industry is for real,” Eynon said. “And it’s here to stay.”
Check out the segment here:
And the next time you’re in the market for a new snowboard or pair of skis, do yourself a favor and look into one of these companies that handcrafts skis and snowboards in Colorado. Also if you love Colorado Ski and Snowboard manufacturers, keep an eye out for Art of Winter this January and support their efforts to make the outdoor industry accessible to all and support Colorado companies. We’re teaming up with AoW again for their Colorado Ski and Snowboard Makers Gallery.
Company: Folsom Custom Skis
Description: Since 2008 we have manufactured custom skis for passionate skiers around the world in Denver, Colorado with locally sourced materials. All of our skis are created specifically for each customer including the shape, flex, camber, and graphics.
Claim to Fame: The most durable skis on the market.
What’s New for 2016: Our new SRC camber profile, revised Gambit powder ski shape, women’s Catwalk ski, and a new lightweight touring construction.
Company: High Society Freeride Company
Description: High Society is a global outdoor lifestyle company, specializing in high quality, high value, skis, snowboards, optics, apparel, accessories, and iSUPs.
Claim to Fame: Aspen’s only ski and snowboard company with major award-winning skis and snowboards.
What’s New for 2016: Four new snowboards are being added to the line-up including a new powder-specific ‘surf-style’ shape called the “Kahuna”, a new Matt Walker pro-model ski called the “UNSEEN”, and our iSUP line makes HS the year-round outdoor enthusiasts favorite brand.
Company: Meier Skis
Description: Meier Skis, based in Colorado, strives to be the world’s most eco-friendly high performance ski. Our skis are handmade out of locally harvested Colorado aspen and pine beetle kill, and we use a highly durable clear topsheet to show off the natural beauty of the wood which is complimented by eye popping graphics on the tip and tail.
Claim to Fame: Our skis are known for being light, poppy and bomber durable. With twelve models we have a ski for every type of terrain and ability.
What’s New for 2016: The Madam is an incredibly light pow ski specifically designed for the ladies to slay the pow and soft snow. Big Hoss is a big ski designed for people that like a longer ski that turns effortlessly when you feel like carving and floats to the top on those epic pow days. We’ve been designing and building snowboards every year as our founder Matt Cudmore was a boarder before he was a skier (shhhhhh!), but this year we’ve decided to go into production and let ‘em loose in them thar hills! Much like our skis, these boards are light, poppy and an absolute blast to play on.
Company: Never Summer Industries
Description: Never Summer has been designing and building quality snowboards since 1983. Each board is handcrafted in our Denver, Colorado factory to precision tolerances. We continue to work closely with the world’s top raw materials manufacturers and engineers in order to bring the public the most durable and high-performance boards in the market.
Claim to Fame: Pioneering the use of p-tex sidewall and tip and tail protection. Haven’t had one crack or break since 1991!
What’s New for 2016: Expanding on the performance enhancing Rocker Camber Ripsaw profile. The profile provides a surfy and playful feel while maintaining superior performance and versatility. We have three new models including the Aura for women, the West, and the super playful Funslinger. Additionally to commemorate owner Tim and Tracy Canadays’ early roots of riding in the Never Summer Mountain Range we have a new powder surfer Swift board.
Company: OZ Snowboards and Splitboards
Description: OZ Snowboards hand crafts custom top of the line snowboards and splitboards from aerospace grade triaxial carbon fiber, USDA certified bio resins, and full length wood cores in our 100% wind powered factory in Wheat Ridge, CO.
Claim to Fame: Custom snowboard designer app at www.customOZer.com and top of the line full carbon fiber snowboards.
What’s New for 2016: More custom options, lighter snowboards, new original art from local artists, and a new top-secret splitboard connection systems that will rock the industry.
Company: Powder Factory
Description: Precision designed and expertly crafted high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Powder Factory skis combine American craftsmanship with the finest materials available. Bulletproof and featherlight, Powder Factory skis are the perfect blend of locally sourced hardwood, aerospace-grade carbon, and the beefiest edges and bases available.
Claim to Fame: Helping to revitalize the historic mining town of Silver Plume, Colorado, all Powder Factory skis are locally built, in a state-of-the-art studio powered by the wind and sun. Located only minutes from some of the highest peaks and best ski terrain in the country, Powder Factory remains dedicated to Colorado’s skiing community and the future of the sport.
What’s New for 2016: New for 2016, Powder Factory skis is introducing their latest creation, the Delilah. This ladies specific, carbon-wrapped beauty is the newest addition to Powder Factory’s AT Series. Weighing in at just over 3 pounds per ski, the Delilah offers exceptionally light and nimble backcountry performance. While the progressive radius allows for even quicker response edge to edge than most carving skis, the Delilah provides confidence inspiring stability guaranteed to bring your skiing to the next level.
Company: Rocky Mountain Underground
Description: Founded by friends with a passion to build a better ski, Rocky Mountain Underground serves as a solution for skiers who want the most from their skis. Years later, RMU is now employee owned and spans across the globe but the original idea has stayed the same – friends with a passion to continuously innovate and build a better ski.
Claim to Fame: Lightweight, yet extremely durable skis. Check out the Carbon Apostle!
What’s New for 2016: Rocky Mountain Underground is now manufacturing out of Carbondale Colorado. We added a ski to the line, dropped a ski and revamped two skis to better fit the needs of all skiers in all conditions.
Company: Romp Skis
Description: Romp Skis are handmade in Crested Butte, Colo. Each pair is custom made for the individual to maximize skiing fun.
Claim to Fame: Custom American made skis that are priced to compete with traditional manufacturers.
What’s New for 2016: The Romp Skis 115 model is completely re-designed for lighter swing weight and easier turn initiation, making one of Romp Skis most popular models even easier to ski.
Company: ScottyBob’s SkiWorks
Description: ScottyBob’s builds skis on demand for one customer at a time so that we can provide a custom ski for less than a production price.
Claim to Fame: The BobTail patented asymmetrical ski design.
What’s New for 2016: Always something. . .
Company: Unity Snowboards
Claim To Fame: Unity has been building some of the world’s finest snowboards in the heart of the Rocky Mountains since 1995. Using input from team riders, friends and customers we focus on durability, performance and pushing board design in a creative direction to produce one-of-a-kind boards.
What’s New for 2016: The Kapow model is a totally new shape that gives the turning ease of a short board with the float and all-mountain ability of a long board. The elongated tip and tail make for smooth, quick turns. Ride it in the snowboard park as well as the back bowls.