Today I had the pleasure of playing around with the lineup of Meier Skis.
What the hell are Meiers? They are skis made in Glenwood Springs, CO, using 100% Colorado sourced wood, including a prominent use of beetle-kill pine.
Here's a video.
And here is a more in depth look at Matt Cudmore and the company.
And their website
I first met Matt in 2009 at Sunlight. He'd hang out at the base area with a handful of skis, many of which he had made that week in his garage. They all used the same topsheet and all showcased beautiful woodgrain. I had a lot of fun skiing various things that he had cooked up, and found most of his designs competent, but few standouts. Still, I really liked what he was doing, and thought it very cool that somebody was taking the tragedy of beetle kill pine and turning it into something beautiful.
The company has morphed into a successful indie- ski company. But- are the skis actually good, or is the success based on the gimmick of using local lumber?
Well, the skis are really, really good.
The hallmark of the skis- they tend to be light- very light, and tend to have very tight radius or very long, with little in between.
I ran the skis through their paces on a good spring day at Wolf Creek. Depending on aspect, conditions ranged from refrozen, dust on coral, chalk, soft, and full-on deep, sloppy advanced corn. The only snow conditions not available were bottomless powder.
I tried to get the skis on the conditions they were designed to be used on, but had some misses- like getting on dust on coral conditions WAY too early in the day, on some very fat skis.
For reference, this is the 2016 model line.
I got on this ski first, because I am looking for a big ~130 waist ski for deep days at Wolf Creek. Because the mountain has flat pitches, it is hard to go too wide, and I spend a lot of time on my heels floating the tips through minimal pitch stuff where a wider ski would allow me to get into a better stance.
The ski is full rocker, 132 waist, minimal sidecut with a 29m radius. I took it out on a line that is usually reliable chalk, and instead found coral- not something I really care to play on a 130 waist ski! Still, the ski did well at busting up the little iceballs and holding a good edge- a truly surprising amount of torsional stiffness. Competent on groomers but obviously not the tool for them. These skis didn't feel like planks, but definitely towards that side of the spectrum.
Did I like them? Hard to say being in the wrong snow conditions. I tend to prefer a more nimble, smeary ski rather than a straightline charger, but I was impressed with how well it handled inclement conditions. I would expect this to do well for people looking to bust crud at the end of a resort powder day, after floating in the fresh stuff all morning.
After seeing that things were not as soft as I thought they are, I traded in for a narrower ski. Meier Skis sell more of these than any other model. I was skeptical- I've rarely been impressed by boutique ski producer's narrower stuff. They tend to ski like little powder skis, with vague, muddy edge hold, slow edge to edge, and just not lively.
This ski blew me away. It has excellent edge hold, and that responsive, precise, rapier-feeling of a Volkl Kendo. A really light Kendo. Obviously, the all wood construction gives up a bit in dampness vs. the Volkl, but the ski is still really, really fun to drive fast. I got into firmish bumps and ankle-deep slush, and it handled it all very well, but this is a ski built to slay the groom.
This one felt different from the rest of the line. Most Meier skis are either ridiculously responsive and fast-turning, or charging long raduis planks. These are a solid middle. They felt surprisingly damp- at some points leading it to feel a little sleepy. It was competent to turn, handled slush bumps and soft snow well, was well mannered on the groom, but nothing really jumped out as "This is what this ski was built to do" like many of the others.
This is a female specific ski that was really too short for me- I took it out waiting for some of the rest of the Meier line to come back in. I like to see women's designs that don't pull any punches, and a 5 pt ski close to 120 underfoot with full rocker is very much that. However, 169 seems too short for this type of ski. It was lots of fun in slush bumps and well mannered on the groom. You could really get the wide point of the shovel to bite in well on turn initiation, and the 13 m radius brings the ski around smartly. I could see a smaller, lighter ripping girl being in heaven on this ski.
Named after Doc Holliday, who's final resting place was Glenwood. This is one of Meier Skis longest running models, and, well, I've never liked it. The combination of full-length sidecut and rocker puts the tip off the snow- and once you roll the ski over, that tip grabs in unpredictable ways once it hits the snow. Today I traversed into the bowls, where I tried to give it what it wanted- a few inches of powder over forgiving snow in a wide-open environment. The ski feels a lot like a 2010-era K2 Obsethed and other first generation rockered all-mountain skis- before they started tapering the tips back to the base contact point. In other areas, it handles much like you would expect a 108 waisted 21 m radius ski to handle- smooth, long radius sweepers from top to bottom on the hill.
Of course, they make and sell a lot of these, so I guess I am in the minority with my dislike for this one.
Mother. Of. God.
This is the best 5 point ski I have ever clicked into. A healthy amount of rocker with a nice big shovel, coupled with a tight radius make this an incredibly nimble ski. 5 points are fun to smear, but no smearing/rotation required on this one- just roll the ski over, and off you go- it feels like cheating. This ski is great in the bumps, great in the trees, great on the groom with an edge-to-edge quickness that feels like skis 30mm narrower underfoot. I found I skied technical terrain significantly faster and more aggressively knowing that these skis could thread the needle every time.
These are not terribly stiff, but they aren't noodles.
I couldn't stop smiling skiing these. There is nothing like these, except...
Big brother to the tour, and has the same chemistry. The additional width dulls some of the quickness, but the tighter radius helps keep that incredibly responsive feeling. The first time I skied this one, I had skied my legs to sleep during a 40" storm, just to come down and find the Meier tent in the parking lot for a surprise demo day. These skis were so easy to pilot I found myself charging harder over chop than I could manage on the untracked stuff when I had fresh legs. These stomped lines I had faltered on earlier in the day. Taking them out today, the Tours were obviously better suited to conditions, but these were still fun, and the Meier ski I would most like to own.