Custom Arrows For Your Quiver — Folsom Ski Review

Post by blogger | April 7, 2014      

Jordan White

Jordan skiing on his first pair of Folsom skis.

Jordan skiing on his first pair of Folsom skis.

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.

Main change here is adding maple to the core in place of a couple of the poplar stingers.

Main change here is adding maple to the core in place of a couple of the poplar stingers.

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.

General specs on the skis:  Yeah, the price is over a grand but, they're made for you. And they usually have a sale at the beginning of summer for a substantial discount.

General specs on the skis: yeah, the price is over a grand but, they're made for you. And they usually have a sale at the beginning of summer for a substantial discount.

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.

Pyramid on the right with the Maroon Bells on the left.  I chose a super contrasty image as I wanted to add a bit of tint to the picture for final printing.

Pyramid on the left with Maroon Bells to the right, famed mountains of the Aspen area and a good training ground for the 'great ranges' if you care to partake of such things. I chose a super contrasty image as I wanted to add a bit of tint to the picture for final printing.

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.)



3 Responses to “Custom Arrows For Your Quiver — Folsom Ski Review”

  1. Bob Perlmutter April 7th, 2014 6:17 pm

    Sounds like a great ride for the big man himself. Not to be a pain in the arse but when did Pyramid and the Bells switch places as per the caption?

  2. Lou Dawson April 8th, 2014 6:41 am

    Good catch Bob! Fixed. Thanks. Lou

  3. Mike Marolt April 8th, 2014 8:21 am

    My brother, JIm Gile, and I have been on Folsom the past couple of seasons and they really are super. The ATX is without question the best AT ski we have been on. The beauty of Folsom is that you can work with them to make tweaks to designs that fit your needs. For the ATX, we needed a super stiff tail and they made it for us. I then wanted an on-mountain carve ski with the same flex as my old Atomic double deckers. They had a pair of the same skis, measured the flex, applied it to my Folsoms. I asked them what a slight front rocker would get me, and that is one of the best pair of skis I have ever had. So the “custom” aspect is a big part of what they can offer. They are all “skiers” to the core, know what will work and what won’t, and they can make you literally whatever you need. Honestly, I was skeptical. No metal, hand made skis in Colorado. Really? But they have delivered. No question.

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