Indie brand skis are on a huge roll in North America and Europe as keen skiers discover the difference hand-made by skiers, for skiers makes. Last year we interviewed and skied with the crew behind some of the great indie brand skis – like RMU (Rocky Mountain Underground), Fat-ypus, Caravan and more – who are delivering cutting edge skis that do what you want them to, not what big box brand mass marketers want to make you think they’ll do.
Now there’s an innovative new Aussie Indie brand ski one-stop, Blackbird Bespoke Ski Company, to get a swag of those models right here, at competitive prices, with local advice. And when you enter code SNOWACTION5 you will get an extra 10% off too.
We talked to founder Toby Dames and check out some highlight models to consider.
First up, congratulations on a great job getting these brands available down here – lots of skiers have been getting onto them by themselves from demoing or word of mouth, or o/s reviews, or reading about them in SNOWACTION. What gave you the idea to do something about it?
“It was two years ago in Myoko, somewhere in the remote backcountry I was out skiing with my partner Kate and while we were loving the abundance of fresh powder, we both felt the skis we were ripping on were good, but could be so much better.”
“Don’t get me wrong. The well-known ski brands are awesome. They’re what most of us grow up on, learn on and build our love of skiing on. They’re absolutely great – but there’s more on offer.”
How did you progress the idea?
“When I got home I started researching alternatives and soon discovered a number of micro-ski companies I wanted to talk to. I began making contact with them and was quickly swept up with their shared enthusiasm and passion for making skis. These skis were different – they had a soul, much like their makers, and have been attracting attention for their short runs of quality product, sustainable practices, advanced technologies, empathetic engineering and superior performances.
“The big difference with artisan ski makers is they are usually founded by skiers, run by skiers, offering great skis designed and crafted by skiers. Who better to understand what we live for?”
The owner/founders of those companies we have met and skied sure do get it. What do you see as the benefits of the indie skis?
“Handmade skis have unique characteristics that can better suit a skiers profile, the terrains they favour and conditions they’re likely to ski in. They’re well balanced, designed, and feel ‘right’ from the very first turn – endless smiles are included. They bond with you, not the other way around. They’re an extension of you. A controllable, reactive, responsive extension that carves, turns and performs in sync with you; they’re built to last longer, go further and increase your endorphin rush. They make skiing better.
“They’re built with passion and an R.O.H. (Return Of Happiness). Blackbird can deliver handmade skis for a price better than you’d expect (with FREE delivery in Australia).”
You’ve got an impressive portfolio of leading indie brands – anyone who has skied Colorado with their eyes open will have noticed the likes of RMU (Rocky Mountain Underground) or Fat-ypus out of Breckenridge. What’s the full selection?
“Today Blackbird Bespoke Ski Co has been appointed Australian Distributor for such iconic brands as Rocky Mountain Underground, Sego Ski Co., Soul Skis, Fat-ypus Skis, Coalition Snow, Caravan Skis and HG.
“Plus there’s options for completely custom made skis, creating the full ‘Bespoke’ experience. While the skis all forge their own trail, they do share some common characteristics: they’re made by innovators trying to craft a better ski to provide a better experience.
“It’s not just about the skis, but the customer’s experience also. We encourage you to make contact, to learn about your skiing, so we can provide a selection to choose from that are better suited to you. Want to talk to a human?”
You’ve been testing them at home too?
“We skied all our brands last season in Australia. The difference was amazing!”
“And we’re making an effort to make them more visible this season – we’re sponsoring young freerider, Fletcher Thew, who’s already scoring wins and competing in events. Maybe living ‘on-snow’ and skiing since he could walk is an unfair advantage, but we’re adding to that with some of the best handmade skis on the planet.
“We’re looking at more sponsorships and brand ambassadors downtrack. It’s important to give back to the industry and community. And if we can help take promising young skiers to, well, maybe the winter Olympics, why wouldn’t you?”
We’ll be rolling out some of the best Indie brand skis & their stories here. Like the awesome Fat-ypus M5 – for more on how good Fat-ypus are check my story here on how I went back to my 2009 pair last winter when there was not much snow and fell back in love wiht them. The latest ones are better!
l 165, 177, 188 p 122-131-106-126-117
r 13 @ 177 $897
This ski tears the mountain to bits regardless of conditions or terrain. Like other 5-point Fat-ypus designs, the M5 combines the playfulness of a short turn radius & effective edge with the flotation & stability of a much bigger ski. The sidecut ends much closer to the boot than on a traditional ski – similar to gripping a pen closer to its tip, expect a dramatic increase in your sense of control. Do it all, at all speeds. Riders of the 188cm version report the ability to whip these around more easily than traditional skis at 180cm. less. The bottom line is amazing versatility.
Save 10% on Fat-ypus with Code SNOWACTION5 here