Three of the companies featured in our January cover story on Colorado's "microbrew" ski industry just made the cut in Freeskier Magazine's Top 10 Skis list of the best microbrew and independent brand skis for the 2012-2013 season. And Folsom Custom Skis took the top spot with its Rapture skis, a new shape from the company.
In fact, Folsom filled four of the slots in the Top 10, also coming in at #2 with the all-mountain Completo (in a tie with the Wrenegade from Portland, Oregon-based ski maker ON3P); at #5 with its Quark park skis; and at #8 with its Gambit powder ski. Not too shabby.
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"We did some stock skis for Backcountry.com this year, our first real foray away from 100 percent custom skis, and our goal was to really knock this initial non-custom stock run of skis out of the park," says Mike McCabe, Folsom's master builder. "We introduced two new shapes, the Rapture and the Completo, to fill in some of the gaps we were seeing in what other companies were offering and knowing that the testers were going to love them. And they ended up being the two highest-scoring skis on the Freeskier list."
Folsom was based out of a 1,200 square-foot facility in Boulder until about a week ago; the company just started up production again after its move to a new, 4,000 square-foot space in the Turnpike Business Park at 7100 Broadway, near the junction of I-25 and Highway 36. "We were doing about 250 units annually in the previous space, and it was miserable, with our equipment taking up every last inch of the place," McCabe explains. "After we decided to focus in on this stock line of skis in addition to our custom work, we knew we needed to get into a facility that would allow us to have some sustainable growth. I foresee this new facility allowing us to make up to 1,500 units annually before we have to move again, which I'm dreading... all this equipment is heavy!"
Other Colorado-built skis on the coveted Freeskier editors picks list: The Professor, from Breckenridge-based Rocky Mountain Underground (tied with Folsom's Quark at #5), and the Nomad RKR, from Denver-based Icelantic (both the RMU and Icelantic skis are manufactured in Denver by Never Summer Industries).
A fourth Colorado company, Breckenridge-based Fat-ypus Skis (whose skis are also manufactured in Denver by Never Summer Industries), cracked the magazine's Top 10 Powder Skis list at #6 with its A-Lotta, "the original super fat" ski. The chief complaint among Freeskier testers? The skis were "too much fun."
McCabe offers a simple reason why Colorado companies fare so well in the Freeskier rankings and on other similar lists:
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"It comes down to fundamentals: we're just building these things carefully here in Colorado, because all of these companies here are run by hardcore skiers and we're really taking our time to make sure that everything's done right," he says. "It really speaks in the finished product. I can only speak for Folsom, but we're obviously really proud of our skis. We ski them as hard as anyone, so we know exactly how good they are."