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Sea to Sky Made

Start-ups and struggles in the Sea to Sky snowsports industry



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"It's a start," says Foon. "For me to go to the next level it would take a major retailer to go 'OK, I'll take a hundred pairs' with half upfront, that would give me the seed money necessary to take it out of my basement, get a shop space in an industrial park, and hire somebody — because there's no question I could teach an apprentice what I know. With two of us full-time and one part-time person, we could crank out a lot of skis."

As it stands, "it's pretty hard to work an eight-hour day out of your house," what with Foon's kids (who have rockered 111cm miniFoons called Squalls) and other distractions (namely Miller Beach, Pemberton's unofficial local ski hill). So for Foon, it is once again a question of space and startup capital — a common theme among the Sea to Sky makers.

Call Him Mr. Wayne, Call Him Mr. Wrong, Call Him Insane

"My friends at the time were calling each other fake names," says Sheldon Steckman, the inventor of the massively-rockered, twin-pointy-tipped, convex-based, 180mm beasts known as the Gary Wayne, which is available in 181cm. "Kind of like Dirk Diggler, it's a really weird name but it's really familiar — one of those double first names, like a serial killer, a classic American feel, and I thought it was familiar but very strange for a ski company."

Indeed. And as the name is strange, so are the skis — with a banana-boat-shape, the Waynes are fully reverse camber and feature "feathered up edges" that allow a three dimensional approach to going absolutely batshit on snow. Steckman dreamt them up when first riding Armada ARGs at Mt. Baker on his birthday back in 2007, and like the other builders here, had prototypes built by winter 2008. He saw the future, and like any visionary, made something the world has yet to understand.

"When your skis are at 90 (degrees), you don't have to be digging in the tail to get a leading edge up of the snow," says Sheldon, explaining the physics with his hands. "That offers up a whole new angle — omni-directional skiing. Because now I can get the tips going anyway I want, and then choose when to edge."

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