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.)