The rise of boutique skis (and snowboards)
In recent years the ski retail industry has seen a growing market for unique, niche skis, snowboards and apparel. They distinguish themselves from classic ski brands by being unique, creative and most importantly cool. These brands often attract a certain type of skier, not only seeking high-end performance products but also an image or community they can be apart of.
The Faction Collective
Born in 2006 in Verbier, the heart of the Swiss Alps, The Faction Collective prides itself on innovation. It skis use the latest technology, focusing on all components from base to core and camber lines to build high performing skis. For their clothing range, they use NASA inspired insulation technology. If you need proof that their skis perform, the infamous French freestyle/freeride skier Candide Thovex has created his own line with the brand. However, Faction skis are not just for freestylers, they also offer Freeride, backcountry and all mountain skis.
To view them in action watch Candid Thovex’s latest video:
Created by ‘Bob,’ in Serre Chevalier, White Doctor is a niche French brand of skis. After 20 years of working with the biggest ski brands and the best riders, Bob decided to create his own range of skis. There are 4 types of skis on offer: light, twin tip, flat tail and pro. White Doctor skis’ defining feature is the simplicity of their design. From the technology used to the graphics, these skis have exactly what you need, no more, no less.
“White Doctor is a new way of thinking. It combines experience, craft and stunning simplicity to capture the pure joy of skiing: Simple. No gizmos, just graceful, clean and true.”
White Dot is a British company (yay!) based in Leeds. There may be little skiing to be done in England, but that doesn’t make White Dot any less credible. The aim of the company when it began was to make the perfect set of freeride skis. White Dot now has 6 different types of freeride ski, as well as a park and carbonlite series.
White Dot also have a special scheme, called ‘Dots Dozen,’ giving the most keen White Dot enthusiasts access to pre-season cheap skis. They ask in return for feedback given both directly to the company and through on-line forums, creating a voice for the brand.
It’s hard not to spot these skis on the mountain, with their loud and vibrant graphics, making them all the more fun and make you feel all the more pro. Black Crow also deliver on performance, designing all their skis to be effective on all terrains and under all conditions. To add to their credibility they are tested in Chamonix, giving access to some of the worlds best off-piste terrain.
“Black Crow perpetuates the associative disorder. A contagious pleasure, that of skiing”
I’m no snowboarder, but this brand has been recommended to me by a trusted source. The shape of these boards is their distinguishing feature: freerider or freestyler, these boards have all been designed to hit the pow. Furlan also has a range of splitboards, because seeking the best powder normally requires a little walking…