Folsom Custom ski designer Mike McCabe is an artist, an architect, and an engineer. When I decided to come back for my second pair of Folsom skis, I had some decisions to make. While Folsom offers fully custom skis, where you become the artist and the architect, it quickly becomes apparent that this requires a vast amount of knowledge of exactly what you want down to the millimeter. Most people, like myself choose one of the sixteen semi-custom shapes currently available, and customize from there. After talking to Mike, there are a few more shapes in the pipeline that look truly promising.
First step for me was to decide on what I wanted a new ski for. The more I thought about what I wanted the more I realized I needed something for big mountain, hard skiing. I already have the custom Johnny C (WildSnow review here), but I wanted something a bit fatter and a bit stiffer. If you are like me, you can read the description of every ski out there, and still not be quite sure what you should get. In the end I was trying to decide between the Rapture and the Giver and left it to a conversation with Mike and Ryan to make the final decision. After expressing my interest in a ski that I could still lay on edge like a traditional ski, but also throw sideways at a moment’s notice, and still be able to ski confidently at speed, I landed on one of their original shapes in the Giver. Since I don’t spend a whole lot of time skiing backwards we opted for the 196 cm version trimmed down to 192 by making the tail a bit less twin tipped.
Mike is a big dude who skis hard and knows what he wants out of his ski. Folsom is the first time in my skiing career where I got the feeling that they are designing stuff to last for someone who weighs more than the standard 140-175 lb skier. Love that. Part of what makes a ski like the Giver work for me is an upgrade in the wood. The core has a combination of bamboo, poplar and a couple of stringers of maple. The idea behind the maple core is to add an insane amount of torsional rigidity and makes for a super bomber mounting interface (again good for me with all my leverage at 210 lbs spread out over 6’4”.) The maple also contributes to a far damper ride. On top of the maple he plans on adding a huge stringer of unidirectional carbon fiber over and under the core, which adds to longitudinal stiffness and life of the ski.
I chose to stick with the standard early rise profile for the Giver. If it works (and works well) why change it? As mentioned before, I’m not much of switch skier/stomper, but I wanted to have enough tail to back out of a situation, so we cut 4 cm off the twin tip tail, plus it should make it a little bit less annoying to ski behind my rooster tail.
My next decision was graphics. Not a big deal and nothing to do with performance, but its probably the most fun part of designing a custom ski. Folsom has a whole selection of awesome graphics for anyone to use, but being an insatiable person, I wanted my own graphics on there, and something close to home fit the bill. I chose this panorama of the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak. If this is something you are considering, keep in mind you are blowing this image up to around 6 feet wide so it needs to be high quality and lots of megapixels. Mine at 18 MP was on the edge of acceptable. Also a RAW or TIFF image is helpful as it includes much more data.
All that’s left at this point is waiting for my sticks to arrive and go shred. I can’t wait!
Folsom skis on sale here.
(WildSnow guest blogger Jordan White was the instigator of our WildSnow Denali ski trip in 2010. He’s a committed alpinist and ski mountaineer who always keeps his eyes on the Seven Summits. Jordan blogs here.)
Beyond our regular guest bloggers who have their own profiles, some of our one-timers end up being categorized under this generic profile. Once they do a few posts, we build a category. In any case, we sure appreciate ALL the WildSnow guest bloggers!