Small space living has advantages. It’s something my wife, Tabitha, and I both mastered in our years residing in a mountain chalet that barely measured nine-hundred square feet. Today we live in downtown Valdez in an apartment with about the same amount of space. Tabitha has found that being married to a ski guide during the winter can be hazardous in more ways than one. Despite the benefits of small footprint living, ski days likely end with an avalanche debris zone of wet clothes, poorly dried skins, and icy skis flowing through the kitchen and living room. “Why store them away when I will need them tomorrow” might not work as an excuse this winter.
With snow season fast approaching, my skis are falling out of a dark bedroom closet and dragging my black bibs with them. Finally, after years of procrastination, I sat down with a pencil and paper to design the Valdez Ski Rack with a theme of simple and cheap with a modicum of workmanship.
Since it will become a dominant part of our daily living space it had to rise above the styles of gear racks one might build or buy for a shed or garage. After some doodling and calculations, I came up with a simple materials list (see end of post).
I used #16 galvanized nails, but pre-drilled all the nail holes so as not to split boards during framing. A small grated deck was added to one side for wet or dirty ski boots. I placed a wide shelf on top for my helmet and a pony shelf in the middle to hold other things. Sanding, two coats of cherry stain, and two coats of Varathane finished the project.
Labor time was about eight hours with additional time for the stain and Varathane to dry. Since I had most of the hand and power tools already, I only had to buy the wood and a few other minor items to finish the project. The total cost of material came in under $75.
With the rack now moved into our home, it has become a nice piece of furniture which complements other shelves and tables I have built. If you find yourself constrained by living and storage space but unconstrained by your desire to ski, this may make it a bit easier for your family to live with you.
2x6x8 lumber – 5
1/2 pound of #16 gauge galvanized nails (GBT)
1/4 pound of #6 gauge galvanized finish nails
4 x 3/4” dowel – 3
4oz Carp Wood Glue – 1
3/4″ boring bit -1
Drill bit for GBT’s
Matt Kinney has been skiing Valdez Alaska and Thompson Pass since 1979. He works as a guide and avalanche hazard evaluator, as well as having authored a guidebook for backcountry skiing the Chugach.