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Questions to the Epic Ski Crew on my new Skis!

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
How are all of you doing? I am a complete nube to Epic Ski and I hope I am posting in the correct category. I am aiming for some feedback on my first prototype skis that I handbuilt. I have had a busy season of building and riding. I have finally made some prototype skis for my first season as a new manufacturer of twin tip skis. I am based out of Frederick, MD and I hope that in the next few years I will have some really cool skis to show you guys and hopefully start selling to the masses. I have a website which is basically holding my spot on the web. www.mantisskis.com, This season I have been busy with a newborn daughter, and as she is my first, I have been very busy learning what the heck to do with a baby. I also hold down a day job as a construction superintendent so it has been hard to keep focused on ski production. I am aiming to start a fresh new company that is built here in the United States. I am very tired of ski companies that have decided to move to China. I would like to sell my skis through my local ski shops and help support them by offering better pricing. My main goal is to make my company profitable enough to stay alive and yet pump up the ski industry to what it used to be, and what it should have become. I really want a chance to give back to the sport that has made me so happy over the years.
I took my first pair of prototype skis out for a test drive this past week and they really felt great. These skis are called ,"The Czar of Gnar". They measure 118 tip, 104 mid, 114 tail. 173's. 100% Bamboo wood core with ABS sidewalls. 12mm thick core underfoot, with a taper to 2 mm with ABS tips and tails spacers. Custom graphics sublimation printed into custom topsheets. As you may be able to tell my topsheets slipped a bit in the press and went off center. I had a hard time keeping my core center lined up as well when pressure was put to the mold. These are all things that I know I can work out very easily on my next set.These were heat cured at 140 degrees for 30 mins. and then at 190 for 40 mins. Band saw cut and ground clean, then hit with the router at a 25 degree side bevel to finish the clean look of the sidewalls. I am pretty stoked that I can share with you my first set of skis out of the press and I look forward to showing you guys some more skis in the future. This summer I will try a reverse camber design and perhaps a mogul ski. Here is a link to the photos I have uploaded as well as the picture of the finished product I am trying to attach here in the post. Let me know what you guys and gals think. I would be glad to hear all feedback, as it will help me grow as a skibuilder. It will also help me decide on future designs and things I am sure I have not thought about. Here is a link to my photos that I have yet to put up on my website since finishing these skis a week ago. profile.imageshack.us/user/mantisskis/ Thanks for your time. I look forward to your input.
Czar.jpg
post #2 of 20
Thread Starter 
Wow. I am suprised I didn't even get one response on here. Was hoping to get some input on some designs that the market has yet to put out. Such as, perhaps a ski with a slight camber underfoot, then followed by flat 0 camber extended towards the tips, then a mini rocker with reverse camber at the tips. I figure this could improve rail grinding and stabilization throughout riding a rail. It could offer a lsight bit of sidecut with the minimal camber to set edges in hardpack and ice. Would help on the boxes as far as the flatness, but have the rocker up from to propel through pow and fluff. These are the kind of ideas I was hoping to hear from everyone. I really would like to build my skis to suit people on the east coast. It seems like the options out there are limited when it comes to the usual types of snow situations us east coasters see most of the season. This year has been a bit different. I tested these babies out in every condition known to skiers this year and they seemed to rock out just fine. Hope I et this lucky on the next set, everyones input would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks Guys and Gals.
post #3 of 20
I cant offer you any advice or suggestions since i neither make skis, nor do i ski freestyle skis, but I just wanted to say good luck and welcome to EpicSki!
post #4 of 20
There have been some pretty good efforts from small start-ups at bringing new designs and performance to a niche market.  Quality and consistency are some of the biggest challenges for the garage builders, and moving to the next step where a product is produced in sufficient numbers to be recognizable in the market is very difficult.  There are relative success stories (i.e. survivors) like Armada, Line, PMGear,  Praxis, Ninthward, Bluehouse and a whole slew of startups that just can't move past quality or financial issues.  With one pair of prototype skis out of the press, its kind of hard to get real stoked that this represents something new or innovative that will ever end up on enough skiers' feet to become known. 

You're looking for feedback, but with one pair all we can do is comment on what we see on the internet without the benefit of on-snow experience or for that matter, looking at what is going on with the ski.  Not trying to kill your stoke or anything, but, most of us have seen pretty nice small fabricators disappear without ever putting out more than a dozen pairs. 

Hey! Wish you the best of luck, and keep us posted how your project is going.   What are you using for a press?
post #5 of 20
Well Jamie,

Many in our community would call this kind of thread spam. Given that you're not really in business yet, we cut you a break. Maybe moving this thread to the gear forum will help get you some feedback. You probably would have gotten more responses if you had asked people to "design a perfect ski for the East coast park rat" instead of what looked like asking  for oohs and ahhs over a hobby creation with few details about what they'd actually be good for.

My feedback on your skis is not going to help you very much. The only skis I use on rails are dead ones. I prefer carving skis for East coast skiing. I think twin tips have annoying rooster tails of snow (besides blades). And the graphics are unappealing. But I'm not at all like the people you are building your skis for. So none of that should matter.

My suggestions for you are:
1) to get some decent skiers on your skis to validate that what you've actually built performs like you designed it to perform. Right now you've got your cart in front of your horse and doing a lot of wishful thinking.
2) to get some marketing experience to better understand who you want to sell to, what it takes to get them to buy (e.g. how to package features and benefits) and how best to reach your target market. For example, Newschoolers and TGR are probably better bets than Epic or DC ski for reaching the kind of folks you are building for,
post #6 of 20
Jamie,

Those are a nice looking pair of skis! I'm also a garage builder, and have found most of my resources over at skibuilders.com. I believe if you post these up over there you would get a much better response, though I imagine you're already very familiar with the site. Good luck getting your business up and running. Also check out 333 skis if you're wanting some innovative ideas for production and local distribution.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Right on guys. Thanks for all the compliments, and comments ( positive or negative ). I love to hear them all. I will take the good with the bad and keep on trying to create something new and innovative. I have been talking with Kam from skibuilders and he was a great help when it came down to some of the finer details not listed on their site. As far as a press goes, I built my own steel press and routered out my own molds. I also built my own core profiler table as well. I have been using bamboo for my cores and I look to build some bump skis in the future as well. I think I got a hard knock against me here from Rusty. I really am not looking for ohhs and ahhs. These skis are hardly anything to ohh and ahh over. Plenty of people build skis as a hobby. The reason I was asking people on epic to comment on their ideas for a good ski is because I respect the die hard community that Epic Ski represents. Newschoolers and TGR tend to have a ton of kids on it and are not always intelligent in sizes and shapes of skis. They tend to go for graphics and steeze over performance. That, and whatever daddy buys them. I would love to offer some  of the same models I will build in a park rat graphic and a more conservative graphic for us older dudes. I have read a ton of posts elsewhere about people not liking a ski because the graphics were offensive etc. So hopefully that will be something that I can offer to people that other manufacturers don't usually cater to. Sorry if I posted in the wrong category as well. I am new to Epic and didn't want to piss someone off by posting in the wrong spot. That's why I apologized first in my post. This is probably one of the foremost reasons I never really like to post on-line. People take things out of context through text and read things with a harsher tone than what is really trying to be conveyed. In this crazy world of Internet marketing though, I would be a fool not to utilize the resources offered here. I realize that I am putting the cart before the horse, but I have spent over $5,000 this year alone in getting the press and all of the heating stuff and molds together just to make my first proto. Now is the step where I figure out what direction I head in and how to go about my marketing. I really am gearing up to start something new for east coast skiers. So any ideas would do. I am not opposed to building non twins either. I really thought that my graphics weren't too young or old looking. This was just something to throw on a prototype set to make them look better. I am waiting for a response from Never Summer on building about 50 to 100 sets with me so that I can keep the manufacturing here in the USA and to make sure that I can sell these to local mountains. I already have quite a few that I have been talking to and have seen my end product and they are very interested in trying to sell some for me. Liability insurance and such pending. I will  keep you all posted on how I am doing in my quest and I appreciate you all for taking the time to hook a bruther up with some information and props.
post #8 of 20
 How did you find working with bamboo? I have talked to some that had issues with its consistancy. 
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Grose View Post

I think I got a hard knock against me here from Rusty.
Mind you I'm one of the guys and gals that looks at these posts and passes judgment as to spam/notspam. "Let this one go without comment" was the judgment. Then you really asked for it. BTW - I give a hard knock to every small business person I advise. The real world is brutally harsh on small businesses.
post #10 of 20
And welcome to epic ski huh Rusty?
post #11 of 20
 its cool your making skis but so is everyone else!!

if you ever come up here to northern vermont id love to try them. sounds like REALLY straight short ski.
post #12 of 20
Welcome!
Impressive.
I am not at all digging the colors, but thats just me, otherwise they look great...the Van Gogh on the tops might look cooler IMHO.
I like the names.
....cant say anything else without trying them.

Goog luck!
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Grose View Post

I respect the die hard community that Epic Ski represents. Newschoolers and TGR tend to have a ton of kids on it and are not always intelligent in sizes and shapes of skis. They tend to go for graphics and steeze over performance. That, and whatever daddy buys them
Ohh My

If you do get into the ski building biz?  thats gonna leave a scar

_________________________________________________________________
They measure 118 tip, 104 mid, 114 tail. 173's

When are you going to make a mens version
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Sorry if you were reading my post wrong Rusty. I don't mind people being critical at all. I really enjoy good feedback. It's all good, and thanks for letting the post go through. I did get some pretty good feedback none the less. As far as the bamboo consistency, I had no issues. The worst part is that the stuff splinters up when using a router to get it down to about 2 mm at the tips was a bit scary. I had to really take it slow. The best thing about the bamboo is that it really gives the ski plenty of pop and bounce. It is also really stiff. If you were to use bamboo to make a ski you have to be careful how much camber you make your mold with. Usually the ski should lose its camber by about 8 to 10 mm after taking it out of the press. These only lost about 4 mm. I was worried it would be an issue having too much camber. I do have to work a bit to make them turn on a dime because I went with 12mm thick underfoot as well. The best part is that they cut through the east coast melt down slop that I have been skiing in the last two trips out.
As far as my post about TGR and newschoolers, sorry. I am a member at newschoolers and TGR and I shouldn't have been so harsh. I just believe that I get more amounts of valuable information over here looking at Epic. That seems to be the reviews I have heard from countless others as well. The twin tip market is a bit crazy due to the amounts of kids buying them and looking at graphics. I really would like to break that trend and offer something for adults, children and the regular market ages as well. I guess my knock on TGR and newschoolers was out of line. But hey, if people will continue to buy skis made in China by companies that have sold their ski souls, then I doubt that my little post will end up having much influence. LOL.
 I would like to know what would classify as a men's version then? I would have liked to make them around 176 to 180, and another version in a 185. Would that qualify? As far as the width of the ski, it is pretty fat for an east coaster. I usually get laughed at when people see me on my K2 brewskis, one patroller asked me if I was water skiing, and the other instructor asked me not to hurt myself on the east coast granular on those monsters. Clearly they didn't have a clue as to how well that ski does in almost all conditions for me.
I am making a reverse camber ski for out west, with way wider dimensions. I just have not set my parameters on dimensions yet. Testing the reverse camber ski was not on my list for this season though, as I didn't expect to finish the press prior to our big dumps of fresh that we received. Hell, who knew that was coming for the east coast anyway? It's been like 13 years since we had this much snow all at once. Truly a great east coast season this year for us.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Grose View Post

TGR tend to have a ton of kids on it and are not always intelligent in sizes and shapes of skis. They tend to go for graphics and steeze over performance. That, and whatever daddy buys them.
You really don't know, do you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Grose View Post

 I guess my knock on TGR and newschoolers was out of line. But hey, if people will continue to buy skis made in China by companies that have sold their ski souls, then I doubt that my little post will end up having much influence. LOL. 

You wanna make a bet.

First lesson in business: Don't piss-off your clientele, specially the ones that know more about it than you.
post #16 of 20
While those look pretty nice for being made in your garage, I would change the name.  If you're going to call something "The Czar of Gnar" it had better be something really special.  There are about half a dozen skis out there with similar dimensions, and while they are all good skis, there is nothing different really between theirs and yours.

I like the graphics, and from what I can see the fit and finish are both really good. 
post #17 of 20
Dude, anyone that thinks this is spam has CBS!  The guy made his first ski, has mentioned a interest in building skis in the future.  This isnt about his company (can't even remember the name) but about him making his first prototype. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

Well Jamie,

Many in our community would call this kind of thread spam. Given that you're not really in business yet, we cut you a break. Maybe moving this thread to the gear forum will help get you some feedback. You probably would have gotten more responses if you had asked people to "design a perfect ski for the East coast park rat" instead of what looked like asking  for oohs and ahhs over a hobby creation with few details about what they'd actually be good for.

My feedback on your skis is not going to help you very much. The only skis I use on rails are dead ones. I prefer carving skis for East coast skiing. I think twin tips have annoying rooster tails of snow (besides blades). And the graphics are unappealing. But I'm not at all like the people you are building your skis for. So none of that should matter.

My suggestions for you are:
1) to get some decent skiers on your skis to validate that what you've actually built performs like you designed it to perform. Right now you've got your cart in front of your horse and doing a lot of wishful thinking.
2) to get some marketing experience to better understand who you want to sell to, what it takes to get them to buy (e.g. how to package features and benefits) and how best to reach your target market. For example, Newschoolers and TGR are probably better bets than Epic or DC ski for reaching the kind of folks you are building for,
post #18 of 20
TGR has an incredible number of insiders, people that make movies, skies, pro skiers, etc.  Now they don't exactly sign up with their name, so a couple of years ago you wouldnt see "SHane_Mcconkley", but you might end up in a argument with someone and that someone was Shane.
NS, there are some pros reading, but there are a large number of 12-16 year old male boys.
I honestly have no idea who Jag is, but he could be a insider as well (and he posts at tgr)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jag View Post



You really don't know, do you.


You wanna make a bet.

First lesson in business: Don't piss-off your clientele, specially the ones that know more about it than you.

 
post #19 of 20
Jamie, how many interviews have you made with skiers using skis like the ones you are trying to make? 
I'm very serious, in your place, I would spend my time talking to skiers, trying to gather as much information as possible. Hundreds of skiers, from different places, using different gear for different purposes, different ages, different ski levels, etc, etc. I would gather tones of information. After that, you will spend more time to really understand what different segments really want (or they think they want) and the job will become much clear or much confusing...You will understand what I mean after making several hundreds of interviews.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
I am not sure who Jag is and nor do I really care. I can't please everyone all of the time. When I talk with contacts that I have within the industry, I never have had any issues and the people in the biz are really awesome. Great points of view on life and a perspective that I wish more people on this planet shared. I appreciate the input on everything. It seems the more I post the more people take my words harshly. I don't mean to harsh anyone's mellow. I just wanna get some input.One thing you will notice is that I work under my real name. It may sound stupid to some, but you will always get my honest opinion on things and you will know who I work for. Myself. I wont hide behind a screen name and possibly have ulterior motives. I will always be truthful and upfront.
I know I will do way better on the mountains. I have had a few guys give me input on these. My local ski shop liked the setup and was very nice to give me comp binding mounts and the base grind and to grind out my virgin edge metal. I will hopefully talk with more kids and people at the local resorts and see what they want in a ski. I will also let them ride on these to see how they like them. Hopefully I will get different shapes and sizes made this summer and I will get some out for people to try on demo days and such. It is gonna take quite a few years to get this rolling 100%. I just have to see if I want to invest a couple hundred thousand in going full force.
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