Guest blog posts from Clyde Soles, well known gear writer.
Assembling a pair of custom skis is labor intensive — they truly are handbuilt. Though each company has its own techniques, the basics are similar. Mainly, custom builders tend to prefer sandwich construction because it allows greater fine-tuning than cap or torsion box designs.
The heart of any sandwich construction ski is the core; to a great extent this determines the feel of the skis. Companies like Folsom will hand select the wood for their cores to ensure proper grain orientation without knots. Whether using poplar and bamboo (Folsom) or ash and maple (Igneous and Wagner), blocks of wood are vertically laminated and then cut in half (called bookmatching) so that a pair of skis has identical characteristics.
The core blanks are then shaped on a CNC milling machine to get the desired flex. This is where small changes in thickness can make big differences in how a ski performs for the type of snow conditions we like here at WildSnow.com. Even when using a standard ski shape for a backcountry or resort ski, variations in the core are what determines a custom ski flex.