Custom sks and snowboards are, like road bikes, becoming the choice for those who want kit that is made for them.
John Hromyk, Canadian founder of Snoday Skis and Snowboards, tells us what is so special about custom kit. And offers STYLE ALTITUDE followers an exclusive 10 per cent discount. Just contact Snoday and mention our name (see end of feature).
Q. How and why did you start making custom skis and snowboards?
A couple of decades ago I was fortunate to ski race in Europe for a season. This provided me with the opportunity to tour some of the big ski factories at the time. Without exception, each one of them had special teams of craftsman that developed and handcrafted skis for their senior athletes. (not me!) These teams were cloistered in what were deemed the “RACE ROOMS” and it was “VERBOTEN” for even junior, sponsored athletes to enter.
Over time, once the factory managers got to know you, we were able to peek into these sanctuaries. The experience stuck with me and had me pondering the question as to why a SNO-NATION like CANADA didn’t have a prominent ski manufacturing sector.
With the recent scaling-down of certain ski building technologies and the incubation of a few micro-builders in the US, I decided to take the plunge.
It was five years ago when our first proto-types were hatched. As each new model was built our team of brave and beer-rewarded testers assembled. Like most test pilots many crashed (hard). But from the collective feedback, bruised bodies and egos a quiver of profiles emerged to challenge the varying conditions exhibited on the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies. (our home territory).
Q. So what’s so special about custom kit?
Each year I am baffled by the plethora of pseudo-ski technology advancements that the big multi-national brands push out to their retailers and subsequently to the consumer. Many of these brands have to introduce some kind of new gizmo feature each year just to claim they are innovative. More often than not that same feature is removed or replaced the following season.
Simplicity is our key. We tailor a client with a ski or snowboard profile that suits their ability and terrain preferences and then tweak the final design to fit any particular preference in performance they may have.
We rely on our proven designs and our experience to match our construction methods to the client’s ambitions and their bio-dynamics.
Currently 95% of annual production skis come from 14 major brands.
Most of these skis and boards are made in offshore factories by folks that have never seen snow. All of these products are designed for the homogenous masses. If you are outside the ideal parameters for this product you have to either adapt or put up with a bad match. This is why most consumers are sceptical when a 15 year old sales associate at the ski shop advises them on what to purchase.
Being a skier/boarder-owned boutique, it is our vision that each client will have their new skis or board specifically built to the inputs we receive in our consultation process. From this information session we match the client to one of our proven profiles and then dial-in the appropriate length. Next we make our recommendations for flex, core materials, composites, rockers, camber height, overall weight and a host of other characteristics to tailor-make their new SNODAYs.
For example: I like a ski with a stiffer region in the front of the ski for initiation and a slightly softer tail for arcing out of the turn at speed. Others may want a free-ride flex that is softer in the tips and tails and stiff underfoot. These are the things we work-out with our clients.
Q. What kind of rider wants custom skis or snowboard?
Our market is comprised of keen riders that appreciate our philosophy, craftsmanship and distinctiveness. We identify with rebels, mavericks and eccentrics of all ages and from all walks of life. Our common passion and quest is that we seek “BIG MOUNTAINS AND BIG SNOW”.
SNODAY-tailored skis and snowboards do come a bit of premium over off-the-shelf rack product. Most will find that our pricing for a SNODAY custom ski or snowboard is no greater than a price of a high-end rack ski or premium snowboard. PLUS: We also offer a 2 year warranty, double the industry standard.
Q. Do customs significantly perform better?
Simply – YES!!
Those that ride SNODAY know that they are becoming part of a skier-owned community that is striving to build the best tailor-made products available. Our client testimonials and repeat purchasers are our best barometer that we are on the right track.
We usually build our skis or snowboards to a slightly higher ability than what the client is currently at. Within a couple of days the client has discovered increased confidence and is ready to take on more challenging terrain. Many of these attributes are gained by providing the client with a custom flex that matches their weight and performance expectations.
Our philosophy and dedication building world-class skis has gotten the attention of internationally recognized pro-skiers who are seeking partnerships with SNODAY. A recent tie was created with Kris Atkinson a member of the Canadian National Half-pipe Team. His engagement with SNODAY will assist us in evolving a new line of pipe and park skis. Kris has aspiration to be competing at his second X-Games this year on his SNODAY pipe skis. (He also has his sights-set on the next Olympics). Watch here.
Q. How do people order from you especially if they are in Europe and you are in Canada?
We are just an email away.
We have an INQUIRY BUTTON on everyone of our profile pages on our website. www.snoday.ca
Click and fill in the inquiry and we will get your consultation underway.
Ninety percent (90%) of any order is done via email. The last 10% is a conversation, (if possible), with the client to get to know them and confirm their expectations. I want everyone that rides our products to be part of the “SNODAY TEAM” and be a great ambassador for us on and off the hill.
That is why we send pics to our clients of their skis or snowboards while they are in the process of being built.
Q. What’s the best feedback you’ve had from custom customers?
We have had so many amazing testimonials from experts (including Style Altitude’s: Jonathan Bingham), pro skiers, guides and internationally ranked competitors. The one that sticks with me is from Linda, a skier we built some GUERRILLAs for last year. Linda is out of Calgary, Alberta.
Linda has been struggling the last few years with a degenerative left hip due to a car accident earlier in life. She was a high-end ski instructor for years but her hip imbalance was making her favour her right leg to the point of discouraging her from ever skiing again. Understanding her challenges our team re-designed our cores and composites and altered the camber of the left ski to provide a comparable 30% offset to her right ski set-up. We built her the equivalent of an “orthopaedic” pair of skis.
We waited for her to report back and here is her testimonial . . .
I FINALLY got to try out my new skis. They are AWESOME. My left leg seems to know what to do again. I was skiing in boot deep powder at Sunshine on Friday. The skis were amazing . . . smooth and SO easy to turn. Had such a GREAT day! Usually I would avoid the powder and look for the groomed runs but NOT anymore, thanks to my skis.
Thank-you John. You and your team did a tremendous job with my skis. THANKS AGAIN FOR BRINGING “JOY” BACK TO SKIING FOR ME.
(made us cry . . .)
Read more testimonials here.
Q. Do you see a significant growth in the customs market?
Fortunately, there is a complimentary global trend away from mass-produced, homogenous products. Whether it be micro-breweries, estate wineries, or local food sourcing; our skis fit the mind-set of consumers that demand to know how and where their products come from and who makes them.
We will continue to see growth within our own target niche. SNODAY isn’t for everyone, but if you love the sport you will recognize that having a SNODAY in your quiver will be an eventuality.
Q. Can you customise graphics as well? What are the most awesome ones you’ve created so far?
Yes, yes, yes!
Part of our distinctiveness is that we offer the client an opportunity to develop a one-of-a-kind ski or snowboard that looks as radical or conservative as they want.
The snowboard we did for the coffee-loving, former British cop now serving in Calgary, Alberta – Gord MacDonald - is amazing. Windows provided a clear-view into the core and construction with swirls of coffee beans wrapping around Starbuck-like logos on the tip and tail. He also won three gold medals (SL, GS & SG), competing at the World Policemen’s Winter Games last season in Aspen.
We also do Corporate Branding – our custom graphics provide businesses with the opportunity to expense their skis/snowboards as advertising items and promote their respective brands at local and internationals resorts. This is a great way to reward staff, promote your brands and provide on-going social media content. WIN WIN
I love what our Production Manager and Veneer Artist Len Stebner creates in real-wood inlay veneers. These rich pieces are exquisite and provide a classic elegance. Each is made to the client’s specs and budget. Functional art! See more here.
The winner of the The Banff National Park topsheet contest last season is stunning. Winning from entries submitted all over the world; it was done by a local aboriginal artist that provided a cryptic, traditional bead-work image. This image is now one of our stock graphics.
WW2 Imagery is also very popular. The Bomber Girl – inspired by a Canadian fellow’s love for the B17 BOMBER and icons from that era. The Tribute Ski – a Canmore, Alberta based skier immortalizes his WW2 serving father with pictures, medals and family insignias.
Q. So how much does it cost? Much more than branded ready-to-ride kit?
Since we are factory-direct our prices come in around the same as what you would pay for a current top of the line rack ski or snowboard. Our pricing starts at $895 CAN and heads up to $1,350 CAN per pair depending on the model, (with stock graphics). Snowboards start at $825 CAN. With bindings you might see a 10% premium to what the masses are skiing or riding.
If you want a custom graphic, then be prepared to add design time to the base price of the skis or snowboard. Usually an additional $150 - $300 CAN will dial-in most graphics. All clients have the option to have their own graphic artist come up with a design and submit it to us for review and implementation on their new SNODAY skis or snowboards.
When you are dealing with veneer tops we quote these as per what the client is attempting to achieve. Len is an amazing artist and once given a budget he will create a stunning and unique creation.
Q. But doesn’t having skis made especially for you limit the market if you want to resell them?
Interesting question . . .
I suppose the market for resale is limited if a custom graphic is used. No one will want to buy a used ski or board with your kid’s faces on it. If you are looking to re-sell your SNODAYs then we have a number of stock graphics available for clients to use at no charge.
We kind of expect our clients to retire their SNODAYs after many years of service as either early season rock skis or mounted on a wall or fence line. (a Canadian thing)
Q. What skis/board do you ride?
Each of my ski designs will give me the optimal ride depending on the current conditions, the terrain I am seeking and my mood. I am fortunate to keep two or three pairs of various AllMountain profiles with me when heading to the mountains.
My HEROs will carve and slash the entire mountain and transition me in and out of off-piste days when the whole mountain is in play. (50 on-piste/50 off-piste)
I love tree skiing and once the pow in the bowls has been taken the rest of day is in the trees. Last season I built myself a stiff pair of POW WOWs, (191cm & 111mm mid). They provide great pow characteristics of buttering and pivoting, but get it on edge and the 18 meter turning radius will rip you though trees like you are running a slalom course.
On a day that I can’t predict the conditions – it is the GUERRILLAs baby. (40 on-piste/60 off-piste) Great for poaching everything.
Q. Describe the best day you’ve had skiing/boarding on customs..
I have skied big mountains all over the world and have had some classic descents, but these days I get a thrill taking new riders out on our product for their inaugural ski or board. It is great to see them light-it-up without really knowing what went into building their skis or boards.
We extend an invite to our European friends to come to Canada and have a ride with us some time. (maybe if we get a large enough group riding SNODAYs in the Europe we can reciprocate and come across the pond).
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Q. So what do we do next if we're want our own Snodays?
First check out this special offer exclusive to Style Altitude followers:
EXCLUSIVE SPECIAL OFFER:
Snoday and Style Altitude have teamed up to give you an exclusive chance for a custom ride, this season. Mention to SNODAY that you read about their tailor-made skis and snowboards here on STYLE ALTITUDE and RECEIVE 10% OFF your new pair of customs skis or snowboard (ski and binding packages available.)
ORDER BEFORE NOVEMBER 30th and get a complimentary SNODAY Swag Package.
Ready? Then follow these instructions:
Contact SNODAY consultants to start creating your new SNODAY skis or board by emailing email@example.com
If you are ready for your consult and wish to secure your production slot and date please place a SKI DEPOSIT ($500CAN) or SNOWBOARD DEPOSIT ($400CAN) at the Facebook SNODAY STORE here.
Upon receipt Snoday will contact you and get the ball rolling and dial-in your new ride. (including the 10% STYLE ALTITUDE DISCOUNT - so good). Final payment required after all the graphics are completed and the final quote secured. If for any reason you do not wish to proceed Snoday will fully refund your deposit and cancel your production spot.
Want more on the benefits of having Snodays in your quiver? Go on then, read how Snodays performed on piste and powder in Customs: The Test from our Contributor, Jonathan 'Bing' Bingham...