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Most of the builders I spoke to in the corridor participate in the online community of makers who gravitate around skibuilders.com. "There's lots of information out there," says Jeremy McCall, "but some of the most useful information is buying some things, putting it together, and trial-and-error." It is this DiY spirit that abounds in the builder scene, most of whom know each other and their respective work.
"That's the idea of a whole lot of ski builders out there," says Jeremy, "to help each other with problems they've come across, or provide solutions to problems."
It is this collective spirit that is very different to the closely guarded, competitive and patented secrets among corporate manufacturers. While it is arguably the case that competition is the engine of one-upmanship, it is certainly the case that niche builders in comparable markets — such as surfing — have benefited from sharing rather than scrapping. The end result is niche specialization in higher-quality, localized product.
In this respect, Jeremy "doesn't consider" the likes of Foon and Funk his competition — "they're just somebody else out there wanting to sell things that are produced locally. I think it's great — I fully support other (indie) manufacturers."
Foon says nearly the same thing. "In order to be successful, I don't need to beat Greg Funk, or Jeremy McCall," he says. "I think we can all work together to prove that Whistler is a really vibrant place and you are just offering people more choice — because their skis are very different than mine."
Next week's installment will look at local snowboarder and splitboard makers PRIOR, Supernatural, and Whitegold.