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Custom Skis Anyone?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
All,

Long time watcher, first time poster.

I’ve read many posts about skiers trying to fit their skiing style to a particular ski.

What do you folks think about a ski fitting process that could determine the ski that fits your skiing style, ability, physique and skiing technique?

eSki1
post #2 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by eSki1
All,

Long time watcher, first time poster.

I’ve read many posts about skiers trying to fit their skiing style to a particular ski.

What do you folks think about a ski fitting process that could determine the ski that fits your skiing style, ability, physique and skiing technique?

eSki1
I like skis as much as the next guy/gear geek. Boot's are so much more important than skis. You will get more out of a 400.00 pair of boots and a 300.00 pair of skis, than a 300.00 pair of boots and a 400.00 pair of skis.
post #3 of 28

the basics in engineering!

Do you want it .... good .. cheap ... or ... fast???????

Pick two!
post #4 of 28
I think it's a good concept. Cost might be a disturbing factor to the idea though. Most of us already are using the ski we feel is the right ski for our individual styles an personal likes. To go a step further and actually design a ski just for my abilities and personal likes, graphics and other would be to my liking.

At this point in my skiing life, i'm not looking for the perfect ski to make me a better skier. I believe the skier makes the ski what it is. Not the ski makes a better skier. I just want a ski that allows me to do what I want for as long as I want, not beat me up. That's why I like the skis I have now. That's what I look for in a ski.
post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by eSki1
What do you folks think about a ski fitting process that could determine the ski that fits your skiing style, ability, physique and skiing technique?
So, I met with Eski1 and his partner in their CU MBA program. They are serious about considering the viability of a business using agile manufacturing and custom measurement and design systems to create a way of delivering custom skis to skiers of any level (similar to the way that custom golf clubs are done today). We had a long lunch and discussed their vision, the general state of the industry, and some of the challenges that I think that they'll face.

After our lunch conversation, they showed me a pair of skis that the Mechanical Engineer of the pair had built:

Attachment 369

These are 175 cm long, 134-104-117, GS style sidecut designed for fast, big turns in powder conditions. White-ash top sheet, maple (horizontal grain) sidewalls, maple and ash core, and aramid reinforced base and edges for added durability.

Anyway, these guys have some background in custom products (golf industry) and in skis (Scotty Bob telemark ski production). As such, I think it's worth a little conversation here in EpicSki.

What would you say to a system that would allow you to have custom-built skis in a way very similar to WC athletes?

What do you think would have to go into the information gathering process?

What would you want it to look like?
525x525px-LL-vbattach369.jpg
post #6 of 28
One of the key attractions to this forum is equipment reviews. The initial challenge is that of being a totally unknown brand. The few 'cottage industry' ski makers that exist don't get a lot of press here, personally I have no knowledge or motivation to consider them. They are of course a different animal than what eSki1 is proposing, but the 'unknown' factor is the same.

I also think it would be like buying custom no-name golf clubs. I believe the general public would be more comfortable going out an buying a set of Callaways, Taylor-made or other recognized brand. Clubs are a different animal; it's a whole lot easier for the golf shop to adjust length and lie than adjusting a ski (unless we consider various angle-edge tunes on par with club length=lie adjustments).

Perhaps if there were some recognizable brand or technology components to select from (analagous to a graphite versus steel shaft or a Shimano bicycle derailuier)?

However, for some niche customers, particularly those who exist at this forum who keep a 'quiver' of skis maybe there would be some interest.

Get Glen Plake or picabo or Bode or Mr/Mrs Name to ski on them. Better yet, get Gonzo.

Bla bla bla

P.S. somebody spell check this.
post #7 of 28

market niche

Let me just say that those are the best looking skis I have seen. That said, I think the ski industry makes skis a bit harder to choose than they need be. Length, sidecut and radius are great to know, but I would also like a relative measure of a skis flex, and the weight of the ski and binding. Boot flex is measured, why not ski flex? The retro look of the ski may lend itself to a higher end market. Sounds like a promising idea. Good luck.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by james
Boot flex is measured, why not ski flex?

Boot flex is measured by an arbitrary flex index number that varies from company to company. Ski companies do nearly the same thing with the numbers after the ski name- i.e., the Nordica SUV 12.1 is softer than the Nordica SUV 14.1.
post #9 of 28
That is one pretty pair of skis.
post #10 of 28
It would be interesting to know their competitive advantage (cost, turnaround, level of customization) compared to some of the other boutique manufacturers that will provide some customization. Prior skis in Whistler comes to mind - at least with their snowboards they will work with their customers on a specific architecture for a race board. I presume they do the same with skis.

I don't know much about the ski industry other than the small manufacturers stay small. Do they want to run this company by themselves for the forseeable future, or do they envision an exit strategy with something grander? Can they scale up to large numbers, or will each pair be a labor intensive build? Can it be franchised, or does it require a central manufacturing site?

I guess I'd start by looking at the segmentation of the ski industry, how many high end skis are sold, and the challenges of distribution faced by small companies.

They are beautiful skis!
post #11 of 28
They have some expertise in agile manufacturing, allowing them to turn around a pair of custom skis in a matter of a few days.

As I understand their need to know the market, they would like to know who would be inclined to consider custom skis (all parameters would be customizable: length, geometry, flex and tortion, materials, graphics, and so on). From my perspective, the idea of giving consumers access to the same equipment options as are available to the top athletes is intriguing. If such skis could be made available for approximately the same cost as a typical pair of off-the-shelf skis, would skiers be interested?

"Ping" skis?

FWIW, that picture doesn't even do those skis justice. They are gorgeous! They feel like they'll be snappy in the tail, while soft enough to float nicely in the fresh. I'm looking forward to seeing/hearing if they ski like I think they will...
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by james
and the weight of the ski and binding.
I am curious about this as well. How do they compare weight wise with current skis of similar dimensions?

Probably way more ski than I need, but no denying they are beautiful. Wonder how it would look in a nice black wood stain. :


Glenn

"I know you can fight, it's our wits that make us men."
post #13 of 28
I never quite worried about weight for the simple fact that they way nothing while standing on them. Swing weight is overated and an ounce or two shouldn't upset your balance. If it does make you more tired at the end of the day, something else is wrong.

I like what these guys are trying to do and have been in contact with them.
post #14 of 28

Lars.....

It is more out of curiosity on my part than anything else. Just trying to placate the gear/specs geek in me.

I am guilty of buying way above my ability in my other hobbies and am trying to be a bit more realistic when it comes to my skiing. I will buy better gear as I progress as opposed to buying high end/top shelf stuff before I can utilize it properly. I am not even close to good enough to justify having skis this nice. Maybe in a few years, but not now.

I applaud their efforts as well and hope they are still around when I AM good enough.

Glenn

"I know you can fight, it's our wits that make us men."
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
They have some expertise in agile manufacturing, allowing them to turn around a pair of custom skis in a matter of a few days.
How many skis can they produce concurrantly? If two people can make one ski in four days, that's going to be one very expensive ski... If they can do fifty in the same time period, the labor costs will decrease dramatically.

Any idea what the price range will be? I suspect anything over $1000 will leave you in a niche market, which despite high potential profitability, have extremely limited volume potential.
post #16 of 28
They are in the early stages of this business, so they are asking more questions than they have answers. They aren't trying to sell those skis I posted earlier (P's going to ski them!), but they are a proof-of-concept.

Their goal is to be able to provide custom skis at competitive prices for all level of skier. The customization could be as simple as the top sheet appearance or as complex as a completely custom ski. They want to understand what people would like to be able to customize, too. So share your thoughts about what you'd like to "tweak" on skis.

It's possible that they'd be able to emulate other skis that you like, and tweak the feel a bit, too.

What would you like to be able to do?
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn
I am curious about this as well. How do they compare weight wise with current skis of similar dimensions?

Probably way more ski than I need, but no denying they are beautiful. Wonder how it would look in a nice black wood stain. :
Those skis were at the lighter end of the spectrum (this from a guy who skis at the heavier end right now! ). They flex very smoothly, with the tail a bit stiffer than the shovel.
post #18 of 28
for the uk, if they could get a massive sidecut, (125+ tip , 65- waist), nice thick edges, with a very custom material base, and very stiff torsionally I could easily get numbers up to 100's per year sold.

The uk has a dry slope market, in which the exisiting skis are plainly not designed for. A much harder base, with a higher melt point is incredibly important, and would win races. instant publicity (albeit in a small market).
post #19 of 28
paul, who'da thought that? Very interesting!
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
paul, who'da thought that? Very interesting!
The dry slope races are an extreme version of slalom. very quick feet, decent offsets, but minimal vertical distances. The slopes are relatively easy, such that the majority of the time the better races are capable of going faster. Skis need to be carving basically the whole time.

I think we have the only racing where less than 6m is sometimes used in setting vertical gates. Under 10m vertical offset for gates is the norm. Most male racers still use a 150-155cm ski, some even were using 140cm.

It comes down a lot in many races as to who has the best base, given equal ability. The race stock skis usually do best, but are expensive to essentially wreck by use on dry slope. The slope dull the edges so fast, that on race days the file comes out after every run!

I'm not trying to hijack the thread, but there are some niche markets out there, with a genuine need and no "real" solution.

as an example, when the hyper carvers first came out (SL skis were quite a time lag behind) the winning racers all took the "punter" novice/intermediate aimed at ski. The ski performance itself was secondary to the features they had. The newer SL skis make up for this with proper performance and good bases to go with their big sidecuts.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
aramid reinforced base and edges for added durability.
When I first read this, I admit I thought they had a fiber-reinforced Ptex.

Custom-flexed skis at a moderate price point are proven possible by Odyssey skis among others:
http://www.odysseyskis.com/Custom-flex.htm

Notice this sentence:
Quote:
Originally Posted by odyssey skis
Of course, if you are an aggressive advanced or expert skier and weigh over 190 lbs, there are no mid-fats under 185cm flexed for your weight offered by any of the big manufacturers. This is a shame because this is the prime efficiency performance area. So you now have an option to purchase a pair ODYSSEYS custom flexed just for you.
Now, the table presented there is a fairly one-dimensional table, with no regard to sidecut or length as that has been previously constrained.

It seems to me ESki1's crew has to develop performance envelope modeling in 4 dimensions (hopefully avoiding intellectual property pitfalls) with a minimum of prototypes.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the other venue for custom flex: nordic racing.
post #22 of 28
Beautiful skis, interesting idea BUT it may be a solution for which there is no identifiable problem. Skis, like golf clubs, are already available in a wide variety of shapes sizes and performance criteria. If the main line industry was trying to push a one size fits all product on the market there would be a real opportunity. The market actually offers so many choices that we devote hours trying to pick the exact right length, width, shape, stiffness and even color. There is so much variety available now I think the future will bring fewer choices and less variety - not more, or infinite, variety. OTOH, if they can make a ski that looks that good at a reasonable price they will certainly sell some. I doubt that most skiers push the design envelope of their skis design so it is probably easy to provide a functional product.
post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the posts. Glad you like the look of the ski, one of the custom parts of our skis will be the skier’s ability to choose their own graphics. It could be the white ash like you saw, a picture of your kids, a laughing Buddha, Grateful Dead, etc… It is really endless.
The level of customization we are going to offer will be beyond anything we have seen out there. The flex pattern will be optimized, shape, graphics, construction materials, etc…
We are setting up a prototyping shop in the next month and will keep you posted on our progress.
eSki
post #24 of 28
There is a website with some really cool homemade skis. Lots of experimental boards. The site has photos and descriptions as well as a how-to page. It is neat to see the do-it-yourself ethos is alive and well.

I need to clear out my basement and get to work.

http://www.skibuilders.com/gallery/
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner
Beautiful skis, interesting idea BUT it may be a solution for which there is no identifiable problem. Skis, like golf clubs, are already available in a wide variety of shapes sizes and performance criteria. If the main line industry was trying to push a one size fits all product on the market there would be a real opportunity. The market actually offers so many choices that we devote hours trying to pick the exact right length, width, shape, stiffness and even color. There is so much variety available now I think the future will bring fewer choices and less variety - not more, or infinite, variety. OTOH, if they can make a ski that looks that good at a reasonable price they will certainly sell some. I doubt that most skiers push the design envelope of their skis design so it is probably easy to provide a functional product.
Interesting, Steve, but I think that Ping disproves this. Also, the current expectation is that consumers will pay for customized product, and an organization's ability to serve the individual needs of each customer goes a long way towards developing the all-important core customer set.
post #26 of 28

Remember Igneous?

Custom skis are a great dream idea, but you need GREAT designers and builders to realize the dream. Very few people have the skills to produce the skis they hope to. Big manufacturers have the luxury of matching skis AFTER they are produced to correct to variation. The little guys just have to hope the get it right. In my experience, the Very Rarely do get it right. K2 or Atomic's race room, yes. Most everybody else, no.
post #27 of 28
Well, that's not the question. Methods are getting better all the time.

The question is: if you were offered an opportunity to get custom skis, what would you like to be able to specify? Under what conditions would you consider them?
post #28 of 28
Great looking skis.

just to add to the question will people pay the money and do people want custom stuff.

Know anyone with a Harley?
Every seen two Harlies that are the same?
Did the Harley owner really care how much it was?
How much effort did he put into "customizing" that bike?

I beleive if you build it they will come. Especially in this day and age where alot of people want the "custom" or "one off" package.

Perhaps even just having the phycological advantage of knowing you have a pair of skis made for you is enough to give some that added edge.

I say it's worth a shot. Who know the Hoolahoop would be what it was? Who knew this ski thing would be what it is?
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