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How many ski factory folks on EpicSki?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have been curious how many people here have or are now working in ski factories. What manufacturer do/did you build for, when did you work there and what was your specific job? I'm sure there are some good stories out there. Let's hear about your experiences.

post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

Nobody? Are you kidding me? I'm all alone in this virtual world. :(

post #3 of 10
Patience obi wan. Sooner or later someone will be here.
post #4 of 10

Occasionaly Scott, the owner of ON3P will pop on here. He goes by Iggyskier.

post #5 of 10
I worked at the Phoenix Ski factory here in Aspen for several summers in the 1980's. We built foam core wet wrap torsion box telemark skis.
We did an incredible amount of hand fabrication, from bending the edges to molding cores cutting side walls.

I did virtually everything except silk screening. R and D, warranty, molding, finishing, part production etc. Having toured several large ski factories in Europe, I was surprised how similar the process was.

One of my least favorite tasks was cutting off the excess top sheet after the skis came out of the mold. You stood there at a bandsaw and fed the ski through, up one side and down the other.

It was boring, but with a fairly high degree of risk, so you couldn't get complacent.

At the Dynsatar factory in Salanche, I was quite impressed with the amount of automation, but the skis were set in the mold by hand, just like we had done. I felt like I could have stepped right in and done it.

And there at the end of the mold room stood a guy at a bandsaw, cutting off the excess abs from the top sheet.

Only at this factory they make 350,000 pairs of skis a year!



jl
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
 

I worked at the Volant factory in Wheat Ridge CO. for several years until it closed in 2001. I was the Parts Preparation supervisor. We milled the cores on a CNC mill, cut and profiled base material, roll formed the steel caps and embossed the logo in the top, did base inlays, bent edges and preassembled them on the base, cut and profiled bottom steel and audited the "kits" before they went to the mold room. We were sending 400 pair a day to the warehouse. Not bad for such a small operation. Over the years, I had a few chances to help out in the engineering lab doing destructive testing, on snow testing and mounting up skis for the Chilean Army. In addition to being the back up machine operator when one of my guys called out sick, my particular job included managing and training a crew of 20, staffing assignments, tracking production and scrap rates, quality assurance, maintaining materials inventories, budgeting, employee evaluations, material handling and machine maintenance.

 

As chaotic as that may sound, it was the most fun I've ever had at a job. We had such an amazing group of people getting together every day to build something we were all passionate about. I even met my wife in the factory. She was the Finishing supervisor. I got to ski with Hank Kashiwa, Shane McConkey, Phil and Steve Mahre and a very young Tanner Hall when we were looking to sponsor him. Good times for sure.

 

I hope to hear from other factory Bears. Maybe we could crowdsource some ski designs.

 

Peace

Mike      

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by offpiste View Post
 
 

I worked at the Volant factory in Wheat Ridge CO. for several years until it closed in 2001. I was the Parts Preparation supervisor. We milled the cores on a CNC mill, cut and profiled base material, roll formed the steel caps and embossed the logo in the top, did base inlays, bent edges and preassembled them on the base, cut and profiled bottom steel and audited the "kits" before they went to the mold room. We were sending 400 pair a day to the warehouse. Not bad for such a small operation. Over the years, I had a few chances to help out in the engineering lab doing destructive testing, on snow testing and mounting up skis for the Chilean Army. In addition to being the back up machine operator when one of my guys called out sick, my particular job included managing and training a crew of 20, staffing assignments, tracking production and scrap rates, quality assurance, maintaining materials inventories, budgeting, employee evaluations, material handling and machine maintenance.

 

As chaotic as that may sound, it was the most fun I've ever had at a job. We had such an amazing group of people getting together every day to build something we were all passionate about. I even met my wife in the factory. She was the Finishing supervisor. I got to ski with Hank Kashiwa, Shane McConkey, Phil and Steve Mahre and a very young Tanner Hall when we were looking to sponsor him. Good times for sure.

 

I hope to hear from other factory Bears. Maybe we could crowdsource some ski designs.

 

Peace

Mike      

Hey man, my Fat Bastards got bent.  Can you help me out with that?

 

 

Seriously though, nice thread.  I hope we get some more input.

 

 

 

 

.....and... I'll bet @volantaddict would dig this post. 

post #8 of 10
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpfreaq View Post
 

Hey man, my Fat Bastards got bent.  Can you help me out with that?

 

 

Seriously though, nice thread.  I hope we get some more input.

 

 

 

 

.....and... I'll bet @volantaddict would dig this post.

I know you were sort of joking, but where are they bent and how badly? Can you post a pic? I skied directly into a stump and bent one of my Chubbs and was able to tweak it back with a creative jig and some tender persuasion. It skis normally, I just don't think it will take another direct hit like that again without a delam. Boy, I haven't heard that name in a while. Volantaddict and I have had some lengthy discussions about Volant in the past. He knows a lot about the product. Thanks for the reply and see if you can post a pic. I might be able to give you some input.   

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by offpiste View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpfreaq View Post
 

Hey man, my Fat Bastards got bent.  Can you help me out with that?

 

 

Seriously though, nice thread.  I hope we get some more input.

 

 

 

 

.....and... I'll bet @volantaddict would dig this post.

I know you were sort of joking, but where are they bent and how badly? Can you post a pic? I skied directly into a stump and bent one of my Chubbs and was able to tweak it back with a creative jig and some tender persuasion. It skis normally, I just don't think it will take another direct hit like that again without a delam. Boy, I haven't heard that name in a while. Volantaddict and I have had some lengthy discussions about Volant in the past. He knows a lot about the product. Thanks for the reply and see if you can post a pic. I might be able to give you some input.   

Heh, I was totally joking =)  I skied plenty of bumps and trees on my FBs and especially my Chubbs but both pair were passed on long ago in pretty good shape...er..well... at least not bent.

 

Thanks for the offer though...mighty kind of ya.

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