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The Story of Slant Skis Part II – A Reddy Yeti Blog Post
March 9, 2016
What is something unique that no one knows about you, one of your products or your business? How does this make you different from the big brands in your industry?
We are actually using a new material that is super damp. It’s called Vectran, and you can mix it with other really rigid light weight materials, which makes a great reinforcement material. But, one of the more unique things about my brand is that we use bamboo consistently in all of our skis, and we offer a two-year warranty on all of our skis. We make anything from park skis, all mountain skis to big fat rocker skis, and we are sustainably made in Tahoe by skiers.
Do you have a mentor? If so, who are they and how have they helped your business?
I have had a few mentors in the ski industry. Skogen Sprang has definitely been a big mentor of mine, showing me the way of the industry and helping me with innovative ski designs. He also, helps me with the different styles of art we use. He was a hero of mine growing up, a professional skier that I thought was a bad-ass and then when I moved to Tahoe I met the guy. We started hanging out a little bit riding bikes and we became friends, then we started working together, building skis. So, it’s definitely been a dream come true to actually become friends and work with one of my skiing idols from growing up.
What is your commitment to sustainable manufacturing?
We like to use as as many natural materials as possible and as little plastic. We try to substitute, bamboo for sidewalls instead of using the UHMW and now we are using a bamboo veneer instead of a plastic top sheet. It ends up making the skis lighter and more sustainable at the same time, so it’s a win, win.
Bamboo is sustainable because it only takes five years to grow to maturation for harvesting. Then if you cut it down, since bamboo is a grass; it will grow back just like your lawn in a matter of a few months. In a matter of a year, the bamboo forest will be back to the original height it was before you cut it down, which is pretty impressive. Bamboo is also a super oxygen producer, so it produces four times the amount of oxygen as other plants of similar size and absorbs the O2 so if we had more bamboo in the world it would actually help slow down the effects of global warming.
Bamboo is also, one of the best building materials mother nature has provided us with. We use sustainably harvested Moso bamboo in all of our skis. Moso bamboo has higher tensile strength than steel, and is harder than concrete. Bamboo is also lighter and stronger than any wood suited for building skis. No other natural material has comparable properties, making bamboo the perfect ski core.
Just sticking with it and every time you fail just know that you have to keep trying and you have to make it happen. You have to keep getting after it. That’s the only way you’ll succeed.
How many skis did you guys build this season?
We are doing about 150 pairs now and we have the capability to do more but we are taking our time in order to keeping the quality high. It also gives us the time to build experimental skis so that we can keep improving.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage it?
I don’t know what my biggest fear is… My biggest fear is dangling my toes in dark water. And I don’t really have to do that with my business. That’s why I picked building skis I guess.
What advice would you give to someone that wanted to start a business in action sports?
I would say, try to get with a mentor first. Try to get in with a smaller company building skis, even volunteering your time sweeping the floors, doing whatever you can to get an to build skis. That’s the one advantage that I wish that I had. I wish that I would have had the chance to build skis with somebody else first. There just wasn’t as many little guys around or anybody willing to help out, but we do that for a lot of people now.
Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?
We want to slowly but, steadily grow. We have always wanted to grow, but we will never sacrifice quality for quantity. All we do now is build skis and that was the original goal and now we want to build more skis with more innovative designs. We enjoy having the freedom to test new materials and designs so that we can build the best skis and that’s our goal for the future.
What’s the best part of running your company?
That I am my own boss, which is great and I get to play with skis all day. Also, any time that we have a foot or more of snow we shut down the shop and have mandatory powder day and everybody goes skiing. It’s the best job in the world.
If you are considering a pair of Slant’s next Tuesday, we will be dropping a full review of the Slant Cornelius. Stay tuned and let us know what you thought of this article.