Getting your new skis for the upcoming winter season is always exciting: picking the best shape and profile of skis for your style of mountain based fun is a bit like writing your letter to Santa:
"Dear Santa - I have been very good this year so can I please have some super-fat skis for the powder with reverse camber but enough snap in the tails to give me pop for any lift I might need? They need to be light but strong and exactly the right length for me.... Oh and I want the left ski to be a red lightsaber and the right one to be green. Love, Me"
This kind of Christmas wish list usually leads to a disappointing morning on December 25th as the mainstream ski manufacturers produce great skis but they are generally made specifically for individual Pro skiers or generically for the rest of us.
Luckily small ski manufacturers like Fork Tree Skis in Courchevel Moriond make completely bespoke skis. You can pick everything from length and width, to rocker and graphics and each pair is handmade and unique to you. Brilliant.
Fork Tree Skis are built by Tom Pinches in his workshop in the UK. After casually mentioning to a friend 4 years ago that he wanted to have a go at making his own skis, Tom spent four months building all the equipment need to create his dream planks. Once they were out on the slopes they began attracting attention and friends wanted their own pair. After four years of honing and perfecting his technique he's now able to offer fully handmade, customised skis to the public.
These are either for people who know exactly what they want from a ski, or anyone who wants to design their own - you could always pick a proven template and just design the top sheet. Either way, Fork Tree skis make bespoke skis a viable option for anyone looking for something a bit special to ride the powder this winter.
If you want to have your skis handmade and are more concerned about the environment than your top sheet graphics then Idris Skis in Chamonix are for you. Idris are simple, classic handmade skis that are as environmentally friendly as possible.
Idris skis are made by Tom Greenall and his wife Kiyoko Yamaguchi and each pair is lovingly handcrafted from locally sourced materials. Keeping things simple and eco-friendly, the top sheets and side walls are made from locally grown oak instead of plastic and the binding reinforcements are made from bamboo instead of aluminium. They come in a sleek and natural looking finish with cores made from recycled floorboards.
Handmade and bespoke skis are slightly more expensive than the basic models you will find in the shops but are similar in price to a pair of top-end powder skis and having your own ski - your very own ski - that is different to everyone else’s..... well you can't really put a price on that.
The workshop phase of ski building takes about three days so if you are quick and order now you might be able to have custom skis in time for Christmas but only if you've been good this year.