Folsom Custom Ski Review — Part 1

Post by blogger | December 19, 2018      

Mark Gibson

Mark Gibson, Utah, 2009.

The author, pre-Folsom, somewhere North of Alta, Utah. Photo taken by famed guide Tyson Bradley, used by permission of the author.

I’ve purchased and disposed of a pair of skis each year, for five years, because they were either boring, would not stop turning, or offered zero improvement to my quiver. Reading ski reviews (outside of WildSnow) hasn’t helped; most are like horoscopes — written to appeal to everyone, so they inform no one. Finding demos at the right length and model is equally frustrating.

So when given the chance to design my own skis, I hoped my plight would end. This series of posts will cover my attempt to build the perfect all-around backcountry boards, with Folsom Custom Skis out of Denver, Colorado.

I’ve skied for a half-century, mostly in the Colorado backcountry. I’ve been searching for what I call the definitive “Silverton ski,” big mountain fall-line rippers that cut through multiple snow transitions and the worst conditions, that dance down steeps with short or broad turns. For this part of my quiver, I am willing to give up reduced weight for performance. The list of skis I’ve bought or tried that failed to meet these requirements would fill this blog and perhaps induce dozens of industry lawsuits.

So it dawned on me: making two or more bad ski purchases — at going rates — means that custom boards will pay for themselves — IF they work. (Haven’t yet tested this narrative on my wife, but I digress.)

To bolster my chance of success with the custom skis process, I drafted a brief for Mike McCabe, CEO and chief technology officer at Folsom. I wanted him to know all my ski biases, physical limitations and requirements. This aided the design process as we dug into details and concepts during our three-hour debrief at the manufacturing lab in Denver.

When I met with Mike, a few things worried me. I expected McCabe wouldn’t relate to my experience dating back to straight skis. Since McCabe’s crew comes from free-ride, I anticipated being steered to fatties, but mostly, I was concerned about enduring rockered shapes I did not feel I needed. Turns out I was worried about nothing. The Folsom process schooled me in ski engineering, and revealed why some off-the-rack skis won’t work for me.

Next installment: Ski Design, Engineering and Construction. Stay tuned.

(WildSnow guest blogger, Mark Gibson, learned how to ski in the AK Chugach when Cubco bindings and Head 360’s were state-of-the-art. He can often be found skiing with his dogs in Colorado’s backcountry.)


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


One Response to “Folsom Custom Ski Review — Part 1”

  1. VtVolk January 4th, 2019 2:12 pm

    I found this post interesting. Is the next installment coming?

Anti-Spam Quiz:

While you can subscribe to comment notification by checking the box above, you must leave a brief comment to do so, which records your email and requires you to use our anti-spam challange. If you don't like leaving substantive comments that's fine, just leave a simple comment that says something like "thanks, subscribed" with a made-up name. Check the comment subscription checkbox BEFORE you submit. NOTE: BY SUBSCRIBING TO COMMENTS YOU GIVE US PERMISSION TO STORE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS INDEFINITLY. YOU MAY REQUEST REMOVAL AND WE WILL REMOVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS WITHIN 72 HOURS. To request removal of personal information, please contact us using the comment link in our site menu.
If you need an emoticon for a comment just copy/paste off the following list, or use text code you might be familiar with.

:D    :-)    :(    :lol:    :x    :P    :oops:    :cry:    :evil:    :twisted:    :roll:    :wink:    :!:    :?:    :idea:    :arrow:   
Due to comment spam we moderate most comments. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly after approval. Comments with one or more links in the text may be held in moderation, for spam prevention. If you'd like to publish a photo in a comment, contact us. Guidelines: Be civil, no personal attacks, avoid vulgarity and profanity.

  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube


  • Blogroll & Links

  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version