Pushing the Limits of Ski Design and Technology
Working with my hands has always come naturally to me; there is a certain satisfaction from seeing the finished product I have created. I love to build things that are able to be used and enjoyed. From trails to bikes to skis, this progression has lead to this singular point in my life when I realized it is time to do what I love.
Got a bug in my ear one day and called Michael from 333 skis and hit it off extremely well. In the first phone conversation that I had with Michael I became convinced his vision is the next evolutionary step in skiing and I wanted to be a part of it. The guy is a genius and knows his stuff. I couldn’t believe he was so willing to share his knowledge. He isn’t just giving it away though. He expects his apprentices to share their knowledge in the same way to encourage a community of ski smiths that are willing to continue the tradition of sharing knowledge and technology. In this way we can share what we learn and help to develop the best possible skis at an affordable price. Holy crap! Why don’t more people think this way? Needless to say I had to convince my wife, Sierra, to let me go to Mammoth for 6 weeks to build skis with this guy in a trailer. Our daughter was only 18 months old at the time so my request was not to be taken lightly. Not only did I need my wife’s support, but our friends and family helped immensely during this time when Sierra was experiencing single motherhood. Sierra was very excited about the idea and totally supported me in going after the initial shock.
I left for Mammoth on February 27th and got there the next day. I met Michael, Noa, and Kristin at the Looney Bean coffee shop. This was the beginning of an intense learning and creative experience. These guys were great as soon as I met them and they welcomed me with excitement and lots of positive energy. Waking up the first morning with the dog (my little token of home) in the van and the sun touching the Eastern Sierras was spectacularly beautiful and inspiring. We set to work right away and starting building skis. Usually this was the norm; wake up early build skis, discuss design and theory, meet all of the interesting clients stopping by the trailer, eat, and do it again the next day. We built 30 pairs of skis while I was there and came up with a new way to taper the cores. We worked together to establish the Apprenticeship program so more people can come out and learn a challenging trade while having a great time. I made lots of new friends while I was there and even got to ski a few days too! I cannot thank the folks at 333 for taking me in and treating me like family while introducing me to theirs. This trip was the best thing that I have done for my career and family.
Now, into our third season we have begun production on skis for the 2012/2013 season. We have started using Entropy resin in all of our skis. We have updated our tip and tail fill and utilized kevlar for reinforcements in critical areas. We have been adding carbon fiber and VDS foil to our skis to give us a competitive edge and to give you wonderful performance with your skis.
This is a great opportunity for every skier to gain a better understanding of their sport while supporting U.S. made products. I look forward to helping you create your ideal skis for years to come!
Matt Neuman, Owner/Ski Smith