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Our 5 Favorite Custom Skis of 2017

Maiden Skis Tear Bear Custom Ski Alaska

At Maiden Skis, we’re always psyched to see our customer’s vision come to life in their finished custom skis. But, some pairs hold a little extra space in our hearts. 

It could be a killer ski graphic that we couldn’t dream up in a million years.

It could be a unique approach to performance with the choice of materials or shape.

Or, it could just be that we kept the skis in our studio and get to ride them whenever we like.

In no particular order, below are our 5 favorite custom skis built in the Maiden Skis studio this past year.

The Tear Bear

Maiden Skis - Tear Bear - Ilka Hadlock - Custom Ski

A high-performing ski is made that way by its builder’s attention to detail, and the same goes for a head-turning ski graphic. Local Jackson Hole artist Ilka Hadlock is one of our go-to designers, and she created this grizzly bear graphic for our customer John before he embarked on a heli-skiing trip to Alaska. 

Ilka’s graphic captures the epic spirit of the grizzly – which is largest in Alaska – but a closer look also reveals tree- and snow-lined slopes running down the bear’s torso. John, a Jackson Hole ski guide, wanted a big ski for Alaska’s steep and deep Tordrillo Mountains, so we built this pair at 200 cm in length. 

The Yogi-Ski

Maiden Skis - Yogi-Ski - Abby Paffrath - Custom Ski

The ultimate Christmas gift, these custom skis were designed under the direction of our customer Pete for his wife, Niki Sue, a local yoga instructor in Wilson, Wyoming. Local artist Abby Paffrath first painted the artwork on canvas, centering on the spiritual Om symbol and mantra that is key to practicing yoga. 

While Om represents the vibration of the universe, Pete didn’t want his wife’s skis to have any unnecessary vibration on the mountain, so he helped us pour urethane rubber into the skis’ sidewalls to give them a smoother and more durable ride. We also added foam inserts at the tips and tails to further lighten the skis for big-mountain powder chasing. 

The Fram Ski

Maiden Skis - Fram Custom Racing Ski

A nice change of pace from our typical big-mountain builds, The Fram Ski is a no-frills charger that is purely focused on racing. Our customer, Mitch, a recreational ski racer based near Boise, Idaho, wanted a heavy and damp ski built for carving. 

Mitch’s custom racing ski was built with a pronounced side cut for easier turn initiation and full layers of metal for maximum stability at high speeds. A simple wood veneer with a clear, printed topsheet reflects the all-business approach of this ski. 

The Natural

Maiden Skis - The Natural - Ali Gray - Custom Ski

Another longtime collaborator with Maiden Skis, Portland, Oregon-based graphic artist Ali Gray has a knack for incorporating her designs into the shape and material of the ski. When we needed a graphic on a demo ski for our customers (and our own enjoyment), Ali was a natural choice. 

The angular red, black and white stripes provide a pleasing contrast to the light-blue background, which really brings out the wood grains. Below the topsheet, this custom big-mountain ski uses an even softer urethane in its sidewalls, creating a damper ride across Teton snow conditions. 

(Want to give this ski a try? Contact us to demo it in Jackson Hole.)

The WildSnow Ski

Maiden Skis - WildSnow Topographic Map - Custom Ski

With the extra considerations of hiking with and skinning on their skis, many backcountry skiers dream to design their own pair. Julia Dubinina of the popular backcountry skiing blog got to do just that, and she wrote about her experience for the site

We used foam inserts and carbon fiber in the WildSnow custom backcountry ski to cut the carrying weight for Julia. She also lightened her load by reducing her prior skis’ 110 mm underfoot to 105 mm, allowing her to tackle variable backcountry conditions in the Pacific Northwest. Finishing off the look is a topographic map graphic in cool blue that Julia found on Pinterest. 

 Have you made a personalized ski in the past year that you’re particularly proud of? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.  

If you’re interested in building a custom ski with us in 2018, reach out to get started


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