ExoticSkis.com is the World's largest collection of links, information and independent tests about 439 small, obscure, unknown, little-known, unique, independent, microbrew, craft or just plain bizarre skis, ski designers, ski companies and custom ski manufacturers from around the globe.
The "mega" ski companies such as Atomic, Rossignol, Dynastar, K2, Fischer, Volkl, Elan, Head and Nordica and others have captured the bulk of the skiing public's attention through media saturation and brand recognition on the slopes using millions and millions of dollars of marketing efforts and they dominate the racks at nearly any ski shop. They make some great skis, but other brands are out there...maybe built in your neighborhood or near your favorite mountain by a crafty group of people you'd like to meet.
Mass-produced skiers use mass-produced skis. Rip it up with something different.
Since 2005, ExoticSkis.com brings these alternatives to you.
No ski ads.
No affliate marketing ads.
439 ski builders listed...
191 review posts about 60 small brands....
Doug Stetzer from Colorado.FM is highlighting many local Colorado businesses, including some of their independent, small ski builders. The podcast recordings are super interesting and have a common thread of each company showing a real passion and dedication to its customers and craft of building skis. It pulls back the curtain on the robust population of craft ski companies cropping up everywhere around the World, and especially in the state of Colorado in the United States.
Listed to some of Doug's intereviews at the links below:
IRIS Skis - https://www.colorado.fm/iris-skis/
Meier Skis - https://www.colorado.fm/meier-skis/
Romp Custom - https://www.colorado.fm/romp-skis/
Eric Hegreness of Iris Skis with one of his sculpted Titanal topsheet designs
Photo provided by IRIS for Colorado.FM podcast interview
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Each year, dozens of magazines and online outlets reveal the results of their extensive ski tests and gear reviews. This October 11, the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum will be bringing together ski testers from SKI Magazine, Backcountry Magazine, Ski Essentials—the Stowe-based e-newsletter and Exotic Skis.
“It’s going to be a great forum to hear about what’s the best gear for 2018/19 and also to get an insight into how ski testing and gear reviews actually work,” says Lisa Lynn, the editor of VT Ski + Ride Magazine and a former editor at SKI, who will be moderating the event.
Participants will include Tyler Cohen, editor in chief of Backcountry Magazine and the person who coordinates their gear testing, Steve Sulin of Pinnacle Sports in Stowe and key figure in ski testing for Ski Essentials, Eric Edelstein of Exotic Skis, the online forum that has done exhaustive testing of numerous microbrands of skis from around the globe, and testers from SKI Magazine’s annual gear tests.
“This is a great kickoff for our winter forum speaker series, which we have renamed the Red Bench Series in honor of the Red Bench, a former fixture in Stowe’s Octagon, and now a gathering spot in the Museum’s Main Street building,” says Executive Director Deb Taylor. Future Red Bench Series topics include talks on the 10th Mountain Division, iconic snowboard photography and biathlon.
Facebook Event Link:
Sometimes, a piece of ski gear really impresses us. After 24 years of abuse (read on...), we thought we would say a few words about a pair of ski poles that will not die, deform, degrade or dissapoint. We've never seen a really long-term review of ski poles, so ....since it's summer here in Vermont, USA, we present a quick summary of the history and condition of a pair of Leki Worldcup ski poles abused for 24 years.
Read the review...
Stephan Drake and the DPS crew have been tinkering with a lineup of relatively narrow (for DPS), frontside skis for several seasons now, intent on capturing some market share for resort-oriented, frontside skiers to widen DPS's appeal beyond exotic powder skis which launched the company years ago. Recognizing the expensive, high-performance carbon prepeg constructions were a barrier to entry into this frontside resort market, Peter Turner ( DPS's innovative engineering guru ) and Stephan Drake decided on a "Foundation Series" construction utilzing bamboo, poplar and fiberglass to create a series of skis retailing around $799 usd instead of the $1,299+ priced "Alchemist" line. This "Foundation Series" skis would be less reactive and demanding than their premium carbon models, and have a much more accessible pricepoint for skiers across a wider spectrum, including intermediates and advanced recreational skiers who wanted the DPS designs, but could not justify spending more than $1,200 for the carbon-infused high-end models craved by DPS's rabid, more hard-core expert followers.
DPS Cassiar Foundation 82 (L) and Cassiar Foundation 87 (R)
We skied the original Foundation Series last season, and found them to be a bit too compliant and insufficient to satisfy athletic skiers or skiers who frequent harder, Eastern-like surfaces, although DPS's goal of making them very light underfoot was met very well. The revamped Foundation models for 2018-2019 have stepped their performance up a notch and are much more appealing to the wide audience DPS is targeting. We tried the SL-like 82mm Cassiar Foundation 82, and the more all-mountain width Cassiar Foundation 87 for nearly an entire season in Vermont, subjecting them to powder, bumps, hardpack, cruddy and mamky conditions, groomers and good old-fashioned Eastern boilerplate conditions.
We found DPS's shaping and camber profiles are indeed elegantly designed and produce skis with silky turn behaviors, quick edge-to-edge response with little effort and very lightweight feel underfoot. These skis work really well in packed power and moderately hardpack conditions, but were a bit lacking in hardpack grip behaviors and composure under high-pressure situations. These are elegant turning instruments which perform best on their preferred goomed, packed-powder surfaces, similar to way fine fountain pens mated to the right kind of cotton-content writing paper produce elegant results. They're great if the surface is suitable, but tend to skip a bit if you apply them to the wrong kind of medium in the wrong way. DPS's quality and production finish is superb, and the Foundation series is very light and very well built. Watch DPS in the coming seasons as they refine their designs and constructions for the frontside of your local resort. They will probably develop a cult following on the groomers like they have in the powder-filled big-mountain and backcountry terrain.
We spent nearly an entire season putting the Ahmeek 105 from Shaggy's Copper Country Skis through its paces. We first started testing Shaggy's skis back in 2011 and this is the newest iteration of the all-mountain Ahmeek model we first tested in 2016. The Thompson family in Michigan never stops improving their designs and construction material choices, and the 2017-2018 Ahmeek is the latest version of one of their flagship skis that works really well nearly everywhere on the mountain.
Shaggy's Brockway 95 (L) and Ahmeek 105 (R)
The unique "triple camber" design provides sevaral zones of camber along the length of the ski (see pics in the review), and it has a remarkable bite for a 105mm-waisted ski. Its relatively large surface area and rockered, broad tip provides nice floatation in crud and powder, while its somewhat stout flex and stable mass provides a crud-cutting/surfing experience to make high performance skiers happy without beating up more recreational skiers. It's a balanced design refined over many seasons of tinkering, and delivers a versatile, super-stable, all-mountain, all-terrain ride for a wide variety of skiers.
It may feel a bit balky at slower speeds, but as soon as you get it moving, it comes alive and has the confidence to go pretty much anywhere, anytime as a one-quiver ski in the 105mm class. You can get the Ahmeek customized by Shaggy's, and the Thomsons are happy to discuss your kind of skiing preferences and terrain types to get the ski to meet your needs. We've liked the way the Thomsons have grown their family business over the years, and the fact they have been expanding each season means they are making more and more skiers happy!
Several companies provide discounts or donations to support our ski test program.