Wagner Custom Skis, the Telluride, Colorado-based leader in custom ski fitting science, proudly rolled out their 3000th pair of American built skis this fall, marking another milestone in the custom ski builder’s rise to prominence. Six years into the market, Wagner brings yet another focused technology to the masses with the introduction of Carbon Torsion Box construction, created in a recycled gas station that is fueled with solar and wind power.
Growing up in Dayton Ohio, CEO Pete Wagner watched while his father thrived in American manufacturing as an electrical contractor and proudly grew up cultivating the work ethic associated with that culture. His mother was raised in the shadow of Detroit’s manufacturing ethos, and when Wagner founded his company in 2006, it was those principles of pride and self-sustenance that helped shape his business to where it sits today.
“It has been frustrating to watch the exodus of ski manufacturers to foreign markets, not only for the loss of jobs, but also for a decline in durability and often quality,” Wagner commented in his Placerville, Colorado office. “When I moved to Telluride with the intention of starting this business, I felt an obligation to give something back to the community in return for all I get from living here.”
Employing 11 people, Wagner Custom creates handmade skis using the finest materials available, most of which are also created in America. “Our fiberglass, carbon fiber, resins, sidewall materials and many of our wood core materials are manufactured in the United States,” Wagner claims, “Yes, some of the components come from other countries, but every pair of skis is created one–at-a-time by American craftsmen in our factory here in Colorado.”
Drawing inspiration from other American manufacturers like Chris King who manufactures bike components and Moots which makes bicycles in Steamboat, Colorado, Wagner Custom remains true to the 36 year old CEO’s vision of keeping and creating jobs in America ,and rebuilding pride in USA craftsmanship. “I hope American consumers can start to see what’s really happening in our industry. China is a major player in the ski manufacturing scene, and there is no doubt that many consumers question the current quality of products made there, Wagner commented, “ However due to low labor costs, the Chinese ski industry will only grow, and quality is likely to improve as they learn to compete in a global market.” With his staff of hard-core skiers/craftsmen, Wagner sees part of his mission to stay one step ahead of that learning curve.
New for this season, Wagner Custom introduces Carbon Torsion Box technology, an open weave double-helix ribbon that dramatically reduces weight in big powder skis while reinforcing the skis torsional stiffness. In using this technology, some of the previous harsh and unforgiving characteristics of a carbon infused ski have been eliminated, leaving skis that offer a smooth, stable ride along with light and nimble handling. “We came up with this idea while we were looking for a way to cut the weight of some very wide powder skis, while knowing they would need to handle smoothly and still be super responsive,” said Wagner, “We took several pairs of test skis up to Canada and the heli-guides preferred the open-weave carbon torsion box skis, hands down, over the glass and metal versions.