Geek out on gear: Local ski and snowboard companies outfit your shred sessions
Special to the Daily
it’s time to get your wax on and maybe to update your quiver. Check out some of the newest and most exciting additions to the local ski and snowboard equipment scene.
Glenwood Springs resident Matt Cudmore started Meier Skis in 2009 out of his one-car garage. The skis are made from Colorado aspen trees and pine beetle-kill wood.
“For a boutique brand, I think people will be surprised to learn that we now have 12 models to choose from, so we really cover the gamut,” said Ted Eynon, co-owner of Meier Skis. “We have designed skis for jibbers, front-side carvers, all mountain, side and backcountry, touring, tele and, of course, big pow days.”
Meier’s most popular ski is the Quickdraw ($695), which at 88 millimeters underfoot is “lightning quick edge-to-edge, yet has a big shovel for some nice float on the pow days,” Eynon said.
Their new women’s ski, the Madam ($750), is ultra-light, wide and rockered — designed to float on big powder and slide through soft snow.
Buy it: Ski Haus (254 Bridge St., Vail Village, 970-476-3332); Base Mountain Sports (616 W. Lionshead Circle, Lionshead Village, 970-476-7476); or online at http://www.meierskis.com.
Liberty Skis co-owners Dan Chalfant and Jim Satloff won the money for their first production run at the craps tables in Las Vegas during a big ski show, and the Vail-based company has been rolling ever since.
“Liberty builds our own skis in our own factory, unlike many small ski companies, which affords us the freedom to use the best materials and production methods, regardless of the cost or difficulty,” Chalfant said.
Liberty is the only ski company to use bamboo, a very light and strong material, in all of its skis.
“The Origin ($699) features a hard-carving midsection with a rockered tip and tail,” Chalfant said. “Quick and easy turning from the rocker and carefully matched multi-radius sidecut, the Origin is light and easy to pivot but retains stability and edge grip.”
The Envy ($599) is a women’s ski and comes back this year even lighter with a new core. With its stiff style and cambered mid-section, it’s made to carve and float through any snow conditions.
Buy it: American Ski Exchange (225 Wall St., Vail Village, 970-476-1477); Buzz’s Boards (302 Gore Creek Drive, Vail Village, 970-476-3320); Charter Sports (multiple locations, 970-479-6971); or online at http://www.libertyskis.com.
Now based out of Vail, Hart Skis has mogul, all-mountain, park and pipe and big-mountain styles. Local Olympian Heidi Kloser recently signed on with Hart, displaying how the historic brand is planting some modern roots.
The Attack ($749) is a versatile choice for groomers and hard pack, as well as heavy stuff and heavenly powder. Freestyle skiers will like the Hart Fusion ($805), which is slightly narrower at the tip and tail to give response in the bumps and lightness in the air.
For mogul lovers, the Boss mogul skis ($699) are light and narrow for maneuvering. And kids can get in on the bump fun, too, with the junior Javelin Rocket WC ($599).
“They have kids’ mogul skis, which is something that we did not have when I was growing up,” said Kloser in a recent interview with the Vail Daily. “It’s really cool to see a company that’s putting an effort into bringing mogul skis to kids and also having really good equipment for my age and wanting to promote the sport.”
Buy it: Vail Ski Base (610 W. Lionshead Circle, Lionshead Village, 970-476-5799); or online at http://www.hartskis.com.
Fin Doyle, founder of Bomber Industries, designed the original telemark ski binding in the early 2000s. In 2014, Dave Bombard took on sole ownership of the company and moved it to Edwards, updating the binding design and launching the Bishop 2.0 in 2014.
“The Bishop 2.0 Telemark Binding ($495) is engineered using bomber stainless steel and aluminum for greater control and reliability when charging hard downhill,” Bombard said. “Whether beginner or expert, the adjustable thru axle and switch-plate technology transitions easily from neutral to an active position with one simple adjustment. You can adapt to snow conditions or your own free-heel style.”
Bishop Bindings have a patented sliding plate that transfers energy to skis for stability and lateral control. You can also swap the 2.0s among other skis with the switch plate.
Buy it: Alpine Quest Sports (34510 U.S. Highway 6, Edwards, 970-926-3867); or online at http://www.bishopbindings.com.
Rocky Mountain Underground
Rocky Mountain Underground, aka RMU, skis from Breckenridge have a “backed for life” warranty. They’re built tough and made for the backcountry.
“We have followed what started as a hobby into working for our dream jobs and, in the process, have tried shaping our company and our products into something different that we believe in and can be truly proud of,” said Mike Waesche, founder of Rocky Mountain Underground.
The Apostle ski ($799) has won more than 15 awards and is RMU’s best-seller.
“With multiple radius and multiple dimensions, this product acts just like a Leatherman — one ski to do it all,” Waesche said.
Buy it: Base Mountain Sports (616 W. Lionshead Circle, Lionshead Village, 970-476-7476); and Gorsuch (263 Gore Creek Drive, Vail Village, 970-476-2294); or online at http://www.rockymountainunderground.com.
The Weston Snowboards Minturn location gives the company plenty of acres for shred-inspired research.
“We chose Minturn because we like to be connected to the community in a meaningful way,” said Barry Clark, founder of Weston Snowboards. “It’s great to be in an area where there is easy access to world-class backcountry terrain, which is important because we can get that immediate feedback from riders.”
Clark said the Big Chief Split ($899) is the board Weston is really excited about this season. It can hold a big rider, but it’s also light and responsive, with the benefit of backcountry access.
“Our team riders are out there often with that board and are loving it,” he said, “so that’s really what we love is that the locals are on it and loving it.”
Weston also has a special edition 10th Mountain Division model out ($899), which is a Colorado-made collaboration with Venture Snowboards out of Silverton.
Buy it: Weston Snowboards (106 Main St., Minturn, 970-827-4060); or online at http://www.westonsnowboards.com.
This winter marks the 20th year of business for Unity Snowboards, and they are still riding strong out of Silverthorne. Unity uses a custom, highly toughened epoxy system, as well as a special combination of maple and aspen wood cores.
This season, check out the Whale boards ($599), completely redesigned for 2016.
“The sidecut has been lengthened to give more effective edge in front of the front foot,” said Pete Wurster, owner of Unity Snowboards. “This gives the new Whales more edge control.”
The new rocker design on the board gives it full camber set back toward the tail. Unity has also added a float zone before the nose rocker starts, giving riders more precision with every carve.
Buy it: Pioneer Sports (842 N. Summit Blvd., Frisco, 970-688-7105); or online at http://www.unitysnowboards.com.
Bomber Alpine Snowboard Outfitters
Formally known as Bomber Industries, this company out of Basalt is all about hard boots and plate bindings.
“About 95 percent of what Bomber does is online, currently,” said Jim Callen. “But we purchased the business back in May with the goal of bringing alpine snowboarding to the masses.”
The TD3 SideWinder ($499) is the most recent binding. It’s a hard-boot snowboard plate binding manufactured by Bomber for use with hard boots such as the Deelux Track 700 ($599) — a boot line from Austria that Bomber carries — for use on alpine snowboards.
Alpine snowboards are narrower and stiffer, which can help with hard carving and more control on bluebird cruiser days.
“It makes riding groomers fun again,” Callen said. “’Cause often an issue soft-boot riding on groomers has is that they don’t have that response and that support that hard boots do.”
Bomber’s showroom in Basalt is open by appointment only, and representatives can meet prospective clients anywhere if they are interested in buying or trying the gear. Visit http://www.bomber online.com/demo-days to learn more.
Buy it: Radio Boardshop (400 E. Hopkins Ave., Aspen, 970-925-9373); and Gene Taylor Sports (Building 54, Snowmass Village, 970-923-4336); or online at http://www.bomberonline.com.
The Eagle Valley Land Trust and Eagle River Watershed Council program adds 1% to purchases to fund preservation and conservation.