Sea me ski

Sea me ski

Sea me ski

Often criticized for being slow to catch up with green innovation, the ski industry is boldly jumping into the 21st century with … wait for it … skis made from algae.

Last year, Matt Sterbenz, the founder of 4FRNT skis, launched a new line of skis, WNDR Alpine, made from a proprietary high-density algal core that drastically cuts back the use of petrochemicals in ski manufacturing. WNDR is partnering with Berkeley, Calif.-based bio-tech company Checkerspot.

“Since the introduction of biobased resins, ski building simply hasn’t kept pace with other outdoor categories and adjacent industries,” Sterbenz wrote on his website. “True innovation requires a complete shift of focus while taking a bold step into uncharted terrain.”

WNDR Alpine launched its first ski in 2019, the Intention 110, a lightweight, reverse-cambered backcountry ski. This year, it also launched the Vital 100, a traditional-cambered ski meant for the resort. Both skis employ WNDR’s “Algal-Tech” core, designed to reduce weight while improving stiffness and stability – essentially replacing what carbon does for a ski in a more environmentally friendly package.

But how do they ski? Writing last February for Powder magazine (RIP), Lily Krass reports: surprisingly good. “Like many in the industry, I was intrigued, albeit a little skeptical that swapping carbon inserts for some algae substitute would perform as well on snow,” wrote Krass, who tested them during a record-breaking January storm cycle in the Tetons. “I have to say, it’s probably one of the most fun skis I’ve ever hopped on.”

Krass noted that the Intention felt smooth, stable and much damper than many other carbon backcountry skis she’s tried. She also found it easier to negotiate tricky terrain and link turns in tight and steep situations. “I found myself survival skiing through breakable crust … and was astounded at how easily I could hop in and out of turns. It wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t nearly as terrifying as it should have been,” she wrote.

In addition to earth-friendly materials, the skis also come in a reusable ski bag to minimize excess disposable packaging. WNDR also has a “Takeback Program” that allows customers to send back skis within three years for a 20 percent discount off upgrades and encourages folks return their skis at the end of their life so they can recycle and repurpose the materials.

If all this sounds Tesla-like spendy, the WNDRs are surprisingly reasonable, going for $699. Being the first one on the lift or skin track on algae skis: priceless.

To learn more, go to www.wndr-alpine.com.

Top Stories

A DIFF-erent approach
02/25/2021
A DIFF-erent approach
By Missy Votel

Durango Independent Film Festival moves to the small screen for 16th annual

Read More
The spirit of '71
02/25/2021
The spirit of '71

Champion DHS Ski Team of 1971 convenes for commemorative 50-year race this weekend

Read More
Can it happen here?
02/25/2021
Can it happen here?
By Sam Brasch and Miguel Otárola / Colorado Public Radio News

Cold isn’t the biggest threat to Colorado’s grid – other climate disasters might be
 

Read More
Shot in the dark
02/18/2021
Shot in the dark
By by Andrea Dukakis / Colorado Public Radio

What to expect when you’re expecting (your second dose of COVID vaccine)
 

Read More
Read All in Top Stories

The Pole

Here comes the bus
02/25/2021

Durango School District 9-R is getting on the bus – the electric bus, that is. Last week, 9-R announced it won a $328,803 grant for a fully electric school bus and charging infrastructure. The 81-seat bus is expected to be operational by next fall.

Good QRma
02/18/2021

The days of scrawling your name and phone number with a Sharpie on your gear are over. A Boise-based company has come up with a tech-age solution to the age-old problem of lost or yard-saled gear.

For $3.99, Karmik Outdoors will send you a QR code decal for all your most precious toys. The unique code will trace you gear back to you, all with a simple smart phone scan (provided, of course, that whomever finds your flotsam, jetsam and improperly secured roof items is a believer in gear karma in the first place.)

#KBYG
02/11/2021

Adding to an already grim year of statistics, last week was the deadliest week of avalanches in the U.S. in more than a century. At least 15 people were killed in avalanches in six states between Jan. 31 – Feb. 6, including three in the San Juans alone.

To help folks better contend with this season’s treacherous and unprecedented conditions, Friends of the San Juans wants to equip them the best tool possible: knowledge.

Serving up help
02/11/2021

Early in the morning of Feb. 6, local chef Seanan Culloty narrowly escaped an apartment fire with his life and his faithful dog, Bubba. However, Culloty, the head chef at Manna, escaped with little else. To help Culloty get back on his feet, friends and co-workers are hosting a GuFundMe page. The money will be used to help Culloty replace his belonging as well as with a deposit and first month’s rent on a new apartment.

Read All Stories in the Pole