Whose cookies taste better - Grandma’s homemade cookies or cookies found in the snack aisle of a grocery store? We all know grandma makes the better cookie. But with large capital investments in a modern factory, shouldn’t the cookie factory produce a better cookie than grandma? The factories have to compromise on quality in order to create higher quantities.
Grandma will always make the better cookie. Why? Because her top priority is quality. She uses the best ingredients, combines them properly, and she genuinely cares about the person who eats the cookies. She’s not trying to make as many “satisfactory” cookies as possible.
Hinterland is the grandma of ski production. We are not trying to compete with the modern ski factory in producing large volumes of good enough skis in the least amount of time. Instead, quality is our top priority and this is where we beat mass-manufacturing operations.
Not all skis are the same. Some brands are clearly better (or worse) than others – look at technical specs of the materials used, get a feel for how they feel on snow, and see how much damage they can withstand. We have spent years developing a build process and combining a list of materials that yields skis that make us smile more than anything on the market.
Interested in custom skis or have general questions? Contact us for more information.
The core is the heart of a pair of skis. However, since it is hidden, this is where many manufacturers opt to use cheaper materials, especially in recent years. The industry has moved away from quality hardwoods, in favor of gluing together low-grade wood scraps. Our woods come from local premium lumber suppliers. We sort through large pallets of wood for pieces that have ideal grain structure. The wood that we use in our skis is the same wood that is used in high-end cabinets and furniture.
We vertically laminate two types of wood to create our wood cores: ash and poplar. Ash is an incredibly dense and hard wood, making it quite expensive. However, its material properties justify the cost. Centered under your bindings, our ash strips run the full length of your core. Input from your boots will quickly be transferred along your skis, making them extra responsive. Poplar is used because of its high elasticity to weight ratio. This allows your skis to be light, while providing plenty of pop when moving in and out of turns.
All our cores are book-matched. There is great variance in wood stiffness/elasticity, even if the wood is the same species, so we don’t simply take random pieces of wood and glue them together to form cores for a pair of skis. This creates a significant imbalance between the left side and right side of each individual ski, as well as between the left ski and right ski. We track every strip of wood to its original piece of lumber. When it comes time to assemble a pair of cores, we combine wood strips so that the left and right side of each individual ski are exactly the same, and the left and right ski are exactly the same. There is a noticeable difference when the skis behave exactly the same, regardless of which edge you are on.
We took a look at all types of ski base materials. There are two main types of base material. The more common type is a cheaper clear plastic base that can be printed on. The graphics look great and the material has some good qualities but the performance just isn’t there. This clear base material is a melted plastic so wax just sits on the surface and wears off quickly. The other is the black base that you’ll always see on race skis. This material is actually a plastic powder that is pressed under extremely high pressure and never melted. This allows the base to absorb wax into its pores. As you ski the wax is released. This black 4001k sintered even out performs its colored counterparts, hence why always see an all black base on race skis.
The 4001k sintered race base we use is thickest base available. Our new ski preparation includes a UV wax that thoroughly soaks wax into all of the base pores. Your base will hold wax much longer and will keep you going faster.
Our Rockwell 48 steel edges are wrapped all the way around our skis. This offers maximum tip and tail protection and greatly minimizes the risk of edge tear-out, commonly seen with edges that only wrap ¾ of the ski. The ¾ wrap has become common because it is difficult to bend a hard steel edge to perfectly fit the shape of a ski’s tip and tail. Many choose to save money by not wrapping the tip and tail. Not here, we spend the extra time and cost to create a more durable ski.
Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene is used to protect your cores from side impact. This material is far tougher than ABS or wood. Many choose not to use this material because it is expensive and difficult to work with. For UHMWPE to be properly bonded, it must be abraded, cleaned, and flame treated. We have made our sidewalls extra thick to give you even more damage protection. The sidewalls cover the entire width of the steel edge and edge teeth. If you accidentally ski over/land on a jagged rock, the edges are supported by extra hard UHMWPE, rather than wood, so the chances of edge compressions are greatly minimized.
Bouncing tips are not okay. Everyone knows the the terrible chatter of a cheap ski on a choppy slope. To get rid of this problem we’ve created a blend of rubber and specially made plastic to dampen the tips and tails of our skis. This extra thick material absorbs more vibration than what you’ll typically find in a ski. VDS rubber plays two roles in skis. The first is to hold the layers of a ski together. As a ski flexes, layers of a ski expand or contract differently, creating shear stress which causes the layers to separate. VDS allows for the layers to move freely, without separation. The second role of VDS is to act as a dampening layer to eliminate unwanted chatter and vibration feedback.
We went through the ringer perfecting our beautiful natural wood top sheets. Using secrets from the wooden boat industry, we created a process of heat curing the wood veneer while impregnated with a high grade epoxy. Using this method we've created a finished top sheet with boat haul durability. To even further protect these unique and exotic wood veneers we've took methods used in extreme 4x4 vehicle manufacturing. Their special processes create a finish that protects from impacts from rocks and hard objects. This over kill finish has added an extra layer of protection on every Hinterland Ski.
The wood core is dependent on the composite material that surrounds it. Most manufacturers use fiberglass that is less robust in order to save money on resin, which is very costly – more robust fiberglass requires more resin. Hinterland uses 22 oz triaxial fiberglass because it offers the optimal amount of core protection, while still being lightweight. Triaxial fiber orientation provide the skis with torsional stiffness, which prevent your skis from twisting, so you can arc deep and powerful turns.
Carbon is an interesting material, but it is often misunderstood. It is stiffer and lighter than fiberglass, but it has less toughness and cannot endure as much strain as fiberglass. What does this mean for skis? Carbon is a great material to compliment fiberglass, but it is not a suitable replacement. There is a limit to how much carbon can be placed in a ski, before it becomes fragile and loses durability. As a small company, we know our customers very well and we know the level of abuse our skis need to withstand. We have optimized the amount of carbon we place in our ski, as well as where to place the carbon, to shave off weight without sacrificing durability.
Theres a ton of different epoxies on the market for ski building and general purposes. A lot of these epoxies do a great job holding the skis together but don’t add too much to the liveliness of the ski. We’ve put together an epoxy and cure method that uses the epoxy to create a responsive and elastic bond. Each ski is slow cured under heat and pressure to maximize the benefits of our unique epoxy method.
After 12 hour of labor into each ski, we finish it off with a high end tune. Our bases come out perfectly flat, sharp and ready to ski. We take the time to add a special structure into each ski to ensure that our race quality tune last longer than your basic tune. After a UV wax, the skis are ready to hit the slopes.