Valdez Ski Rack

Post by blogger | October 15, 2013      
Valdez Ski Rack

Valdez Ski Rack (click all images to enlarge)

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).

Construction in process

Construction in process.

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.

Plan sketch

The sketch.

Material list
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
Skill Saw
Measuring tape
Speed Square



18 Responses to “Valdez Ski Rack”

  1. Lou Dawson October 15th, 2013 9:48 am

    That thing is cool Matt, super nice job!

  2. Poach Ninja October 15th, 2013 10:04 am

    Awesome! Thanks for posting.

  3. Dillon October 15th, 2013 10:23 am

    Very cool Matt. Are you still renting out the chalet at the base of the pass? I’ve stayed up there a couple times and had some of the best ski days of my life (Matt knows that place like the back of his hand). Hope your doing well.

  4. brad October 15th, 2013 10:43 am

    That cherry stain looks very nice! My own self I’d have probably used stainless-steel wood screws rather than the galvanized nails, esp. if drilling pilot holes already. Mostly just personal preference, shiny flush counter-sunk screw heads just look cool and professional to me. I also like the idea that I can break down and reassemble easily, may never do it but I have the option.

  5. Xavier October 15th, 2013 11:06 am

    Is it telemark gear specific or will it work with AT gear as well?

  6. JonnyB October 15th, 2013 11:27 am

    Very cool. Thanks for posting. I have a general question about this design that I’m sure someone will know the answer to. In this age of rockered skis is it bad to store your skis hanging from the tips? In other words, will pressing the tips together “de-rocker” your skis if they are stored like that when you are not skiing? Thanks!

  7. Scott H October 15th, 2013 12:14 pm

    Nice! But where do I store the other 7 pairs of skis in the quiver?

  8. Lou Dawson October 15th, 2013 12:25 pm

    Xavier, it could be built half as heavy duty if it was for tech binding equipped AT gear (grin). Matt?

    Jonny, my take on ski storage is that while they’re in play, just about anything goes. But for long-term it’s best to store them leaning against the wall or flat, not hanging from tips. And it depends on the weight of the setup. A rando race rig could be hung from the tips for 10 years and it wouldn’t even know it.


  9. Lisa October 15th, 2013 1:14 pm

    Nice honey-do Matt! Lou and I lived in a 10 foot wide mobile home for the first six years of our marriage. Multiple outdoor storage sheds for all our stuff was key to prolong the honeymoon phase.

  10. Ted October 15th, 2013 3:18 pm

    Following what Lou said; I’m particularly concerned with storing my rockered skis hanging from the tips. This fall I converted my 12 pair “tip hanging” rack to a 12 pair horizontal rack since a greater percentage of the family skis were rockered. Poles are a bit of a hassle this way but I know I’m not messing up that beloved rocker.

  11. David B October 15th, 2013 4:32 pm

    Ted, you’re on the money. Better to lie them flat, if you can. Space being the premium flat can be a hassle.

    I tend to go for the tails on a non slip surface with perforations for the water to escape. I like using the dowels to hold the skis upright but not hanging. You can even use a self fashioned clip system to hold them in.

  12. Matt Kinney October 15th, 2013 5:13 pm

    I’m a framer at heart thus the passion for pounding 16G’s. Besides, stainless steel screws are so….AT (grin).

    There is some finer detail on the sides with wood carved skis and a routered ski squiggle top to bottom. There are dowels on the back doubling capacity.

    I doubt hanging skis will hurt them anymore than I would skiing them or they aren’t built very well, but a good point. They hang pretty snug with straps and more so with skins on. Plus, it keeps them off the ground so I can clean the floor, place erratic shoes, and put a pan under them(honey-do) while they drip Chugach h2o.

  13. AndyC October 15th, 2013 6:44 pm

    So Taibitha is still putting up with you? Amazing. Meanwhile, while you moved to town, I retired and moved to the sticks into a 20 X 24 cabin, so now we’re in the sticks and you in the city! Andy & Regine (New Years, about 1992-1993 with you outside of Valdez).

  14. Burns October 15th, 2013 6:49 pm

    This looks like an awesome fall project – love the pole halfway down to dry your skins.

    I guess my issue with laying my rockered (or any camber) skis on shelves after use, is the fact that I’m not sure about how fast they would dry and I don’t want to ruin the edges. Before the end of last season, I actually bought a couple of Rocker Ski Racks to hang my rockered skis. So far, it seems like the correct answer to the “how to store rockered skis” debate. There is also a place to put my poles. My skis (who have been hanging in the Rocker Ski Rack all summer) seem to be doing just fine.

    Seems like a pretty great way to store my skis so far – of course, I’m always a critic when it comes to storing my skis, so we will see how it goes.

    Also- Matt, it seems like you could install some of those Rocker Ski Racks on the wooden cross beam of your stand. That would be awesome!

  15. Lou Dawson October 15th, 2013 7:42 pm

    Matt, kinda fun to build furniture with nominal framing lumber, eh? I’ve always liked doing that. Probably build about 2 dozen beds over the years, all with 2x and plywood. Now Louie and his friends have taken up the framing/bed torch, or have they? Our new tool shed at WildSnow Field HQ has a overflow guest crash platform made from, yep, 2x4s and OSB. Lou

  16. Mark October 16th, 2013 6:49 am

    Very nice design Matt. My ski storage area would likely not fit such a nice unit, but perhaps I can alter the design. Thanks for the inspiration, and have a good ski season.

  17. Jay October 16th, 2013 2:11 pm

    You getting any turn yet Matt?

  18. Matt Kinney October 16th, 2013 10:06 pm

    J Got one solid day last week. Too much rain since then and more on the way.

    ABC… Good times with both of you. Deep winter. Doesn’t seem that long ago! Enjoy the sticks.

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