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Vernon has had its own ski hill for decades, and now it has its own brand of skis to play on the slopes.
Brothers Glenn and Gregg Anderson have teamed up to create Skevik Skis, an idea that started as a hobby in their garage in 2005.
Gregg, now 31, first began toying with the idea while he worked in the repair shop at Silver Star Mountain Resort.
“On slow days, there would be broken skis laying around so I just took them apart and looked at them and talked to my brother, saying ‘Do you think we could make something like this?’” he said.
A year later, he and Glenn, 25, had their first prototype skis, which they tested at Silver Star.
“I was super skeptical on the first runs... but by the end of that day I was trying to break them, testing them, doing anything I could,” said Glenn.
No matter where he rode, or what he tried, the skis held.
The hobby really took off in 2008, when Glenn worked on the Skevik project – the company is named after their great grandfather, Anton Skevik, who immigrated to Canada from Norway – as an entrepreneurial work term for his mechanical engineering studies at the University of Victoria. After that, there was no turning back.
Armed with four years of schooling, a limited budget and a passion for the sport, Glenn set about building his production line from scratch. They recently expanded to a new shop on 23rd Street.
After hundreds of hours of tweaking and trial and error, they now have a CNC router (a computer-controlled shaping machine for the ski cores) and a press machine to shape the skis once they’ve been laid up.
“Not many people build skis, so it’s always a learning process,” said Glenn, who now averages about four hours per set. “Every year you’re trying to find a more efficient way.
“You look at our process two years ago, some of the stuff I laugh at how we did it.”
Skeviks are currently available in three models – Anton (big mountain, also their most popular), Sevrin (all mountain) and Oda (powder).
Gregg says the Sevrins would be best suited for recreational skiers who prefer groomed runs and the occasional romp in the glades. Measuring a whopping 96 millimetres underfoot, they can also handle a good dump of snow without getting bogged down.
“It’s for the groomed runs, but you can still do powder on it,” said Gregg, who works at DCT Chambers Trucking.
“Ski designs have changed so much in the last five to 10 years.”
Skeviks incorporate the best materials available – maple wood cores and carbon fibre inserts for durability and responsiveness.
“Sourcing material was a challenge in the beginning because there’s not a whole lot of sources out there,” said Gregg. “For edges, there’s only one or two companies in the entire world.”
Added Glenn: “Obviously nobody’s going to tell you where they get their ski materials. It was tough.”
One unique feature of Skeviks is their look. The graphic designed topsheets have all been created by friends of the Andersons, giving them a local B.C. flavour. Parts of the designs are transparent, allowing the wood cores to show throw, which gives the skis a distinct retro look.
Another draw for customers is they can pair any topsheet with the skis they buy.
“It’s definitely something that makes stand out from other ski companies,” said Glenn. “You can choose your ski and you can choose which graphic you want on it.”
Coldstream’s Bryce Barker, 19, is Skevik’s first sponsored rider, and the style was one of the first things that appealed to him.
“They’re original; you just don’t see all that many all-wood cores any more,” said Barker, who mainly competes in slopestyle and big mountain competitions at Whistler.
The other thing that has impressed him is the skis’ durability.
“I have friends with big-business skis and they’d be going through four pairs of skis a year. I’ve had one pair of skis for multiple months of competition.”
Regarding the skis’ wider profile, he added: “They actually carve really well. It just takes a little getting used to.”
Skeviks are currently only available online, however that is about to change. Vernon’s Attridge Snow-Ski-Wake will soon be stocking them.
Attridge has already been working with the Andersons by grinding Skeviks’ base layers as the final step in the manufacturing process.
Matt Pedersen of Attridge is already a fan of the skis, and is looking forward to striking up a local partnership.
“A lot my friends ski on them and they ski pretty hard and really like the skis. They hold up really well,” said Pedersen.
“If people buy them through us, they’re supporting two local businesses so it works out well for everyone.”