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The Story of Slant Skis Part I

The Story of Slant Skis Part I

Slant Skis, Lake Tahoe

A Reddy Yeti Blog Post

March 7, 2016

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Slant Skis was founded in 2007 by Josh Bennett in Truckee, California, in 2010 they moved to their factory near Tahoe City, California. They are located on the Truckee River in the Lake Tahoe basin, surrounded by their favorite mountains.

Josh, moved to Truckee, CA, in 2006 from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Josh’s background is in ski coaching, carpentry, and ski tuning.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Josh and asked him some questions that our readers put together. The following is part one of a two part interview, where Josh tells us how Slant got its start.

What is your background in skiing?

I rode for the Rossi team for four years and I skied competitively in the park until I was 25. I also raced in high school too, so I have a racing background and I have always preferred freestyle, and freeride skiing. I went to college in Michigan and I graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2006; and then I immediately moved out to Tahoe, and yeah, basically just took everything I needed and used it towards starting Slant. I was a ski instructor in Michigan when I was there and then I got a job instructing at Alpine Meadows when I first moved out here and I had that job for three years and then I actually helped start the freeride team at Alpine Meadows and I taught that for a couple of years. That team still exists at Alpine Meadows today, which is pretty cool. After that I retired from coaching and started building skis full time.

How did the idea for your business come about and how did you get started?

I started Slant because I wasn’t really satisfied with the craftsmanship or ingenuity of current skis. I used to break a lot of skis. I used to ride a lot of park back in Michigan, and anyone who has skied in the Midwest knows there’s a lot of hard landings and a lot of ice. My skis weren’t really cutting it and when I moved to Tahoe, I skied in a lot more powder and deeper snow and that is the inspiration for most of the Slant Ski line.

I got my start because my first job was as a carpenter and then in the winters I was a ski tech and when I was about 23, right after I graduated college, I figured I just wanted to start a ski company. I knew that’s what I wanted to do so I just started collecting tools I knew I would need to build skis, and a little over a year later I had everything I needed and built my first pair of skis in my garage; and that’s how we got our start.

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How did you develop your products? What testing went into it? Do you
have old design iterations/prototypes?

In the beginning, we were basically just guess and test. We would design a ski and hope that it would work out and build it as best we could, and most of the things worked as we expected. A lot of them didn’t though. We would build skis, ski on them, see what worked, what didn’t work and use what worked and moving on. Every pair of skis we pressed, the better we got at it; we would play with different materials, different shapes. It was a unique edge we had, being able to dream up a ski, build it then test it right away and fix what didn’t work.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you have made?

Well I probably screwed up building a pair of skis like every way possible. I just fucked up a lot of skis. I mean, I have pressed top sheets upside down, cores backwards. I just made so many mistakes in an effort to get the press totally dialed and get everything right. When I first started, I used to mess up maybe like half the skis I pressed and now we mess up only 5% or less.

For more information on slant and their products check out their website Slant Skis.

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