Something quite strange happened in the world of skiing over the weekend. A marketing turning point has caught the world’s attention. During the ‘cool off with those deep powder shots’ season, it’s remarkable that anyone can capture the attention of the outside world steeped in mountain biking, fly fishing and rock climbing. And yet that one perfect slow-mo pow shot briefly set the world on fire. The ski that made this nice turn was born from the mind of Pep Fujas whose new project, WNDR Alpine, has been making waves in the ski world for two years now. Fujas was piloting the new Reason 120 powder tool, and we caught up with him to see what it was all about.
WNDR has had huge success with their Vital 100 and Intention 110 skis. With the Reason 120 you’ve gone even bigger, this new ski is bigger. Tell us about the inspiration for the Reason 120.
The creation of the Reason 120 has been in preparation for several years. The original plan was to launch this gunpowder plundering tool in our second season, since all of us here at WNDR are gunpowder junkies. After sending out a survey to our friends at WNDR (FOW) and collecting feedback from our customers, we found that the majority of our market was more interested in a ski with a narrower waist. But, on a personal level, my first task when I joined WNDR Alpine was to create a 120mm skate ski that I could take to Japan and bounce in the depths.
Inspiration comes from a combination of my past involvement in ski design, my desire to float and play effortlessly in the deepest environments, the contribution of Matt Sterbenz, as well as our engineers and materials scientists at Checkerspot. The design of a ski comes down to the sum of the whole. The most important question is: what will the ski be used for? From there, you can work backwards to create that particular shape, asking questions like: What are the optimal lengths, widths, cut radii, cones and rocker profiles? I really wanted this ski to be the proverbial Swiss Army Knife of powder skiing. He had to be agile, responsive in deep, shallower and marginal conditions. It had to have a stable, jerk-free platform to let your skis run and, most importantly, it had to inspire creativity. There are hundreds of ways to make a turn, depending on the environment, terrain, and the quality of the snow in front of you. Do you get aggressive, stand up straight, swing your tail, and blow up the plane? Do you coat, smack, direct, peel and sculpt? Or do you take a back seat and let the skis drive? The combination of geometries we focused on really allows that freedom of expression.
With WNDR’s choice of camber / reverse camber profiles, skiers are able to fine-tune the ski for their specific location and style. Under what conditions will the Reason 120 excel? Why choose the camber or reverse camber profile on this ski?
That’s a great question, and we get asked it over and over again, especially because the average skier is hesitant to engage in a reverse camber ski. I think it’s hard for people to imagine that a reverse camber ski can work given the historical conditioning that camber is what makes the ski react. Would Bode Miller run on a reverse camber ski? No, but you and I are not Bode Miller and frankly I would probably only have a few fun runs on Bode Miller’s racing skis before I was sold to the garage on the side of the track, or ready to come back. on something that still has a few tricks up its sleeve. I digress …
The camber / reverse camber option is highly dependent on your goals, location, and style of skiing. It also depends on the amount of reverse camber actually offered by the ski. Some skis, like the older K2 Hellbent, had a drastic amount of reverse camber, which likely helped drive the mainstream away from its design. Our reverse camber, on the other hand, is very minimal.
But what is most meaningful to you? Let’s start with your goals: How well will you ski in hard / mixed conditions? If your answer is 80% resort, 20% backcountry / sidecountry, camber is probably your choice, so you can feel the springy energy and response of a powerful turn. And while you can still drive a hard reverse camber ski and the edge will hold due to the sidecut that begins when you are on the edge, you will not get the same transitional rebound camber provided.
On the other hand, are you more of a creative skier in and out of bounds? Do you want to discover a new way of skiing or are you comfortable skiing as you always have? Your creative possibilities are enhanced by our reverse camber skis, as they offer greater forgiveness and have a penchant for slightly deeper snow.
Now on to the location. Will you be in tight trees? Corridors? Open faces? Continental or maritime snowpack? Do you need to turn quickly or do you like to jump corners like Scott Schmidt? With no camber in your way, our reverse camber skis allow you to make micro-adjustments if conditions change or if you see a way to maneuver in a space you weren’t expecting. They allow you to be incredibly light on your feet and somewhat commitment-free as there is an extra degree of forgiveness, all without sacrificing edge hold when you place the ski on the edge.
On the other side of the coin, if you find yourself skiing regularly on ice, mat and generally firmer conditions, the little extra edge contact from a cambered ski will be beneficial. A final consideration is how you ski or how you would like to ski: reverse camber allows for a wider range of turning styles, while camber prefers a more traditional athletic stance and handling the ski with your shins on. Do not hesitate to consult our blog on Camber vs Reverse Camber if you want to get a full and detailed overview of both options.
How is WNDR’s patented and bio-based AlgalTech integrated into the Reason 120? How does this construction improve skiing?
There are two components of AlgalTech, the Algae Wall and the Algae Core. The Algae Core is the entire core made up of the poured urethane seaweed wall and hard algae foam silts that are vertically layered between our nationally sourced aspen wood.
This year we have developed a new formulation of algae wall which is both more impact resistant and has a higher biological content, reaching 68% of biological origin. We’ve spent a lot of time refining Algal Wall’s performance characteristics this offseason and landed on a formulation that delivers about three times the damping performance of the traditional petroleum-based ABS sidewalls that most of us are used to it. This wall of algae, which is poured into channels cut into the core, infiltrates natively into the pores of the wood structure and provides a seamless bond without the use of resins, while reducing waste produced by the wood. traditional sidewalls cut in shape. In testing, we noticed that the wood in the core broke before the bond with the cast urethane broke, which is pretty cool.
Now let’s move on to the core… In a typical ski core, wood is an excellent vector of vibrations. Without anything to dampen these vibrations, however, the energy tends to continue from side to side with little interruption. The hard algal foam stringers in our algal core also offer a way to reduce the vibrations created, resulting in a quieter ski. It is also used to lighten the ski a bit. Essentially, our AlgalTech materials improve durability, reduce vibration, lighten the ski and reduce landfill waste during manufacture.
The WNDR quickly established a strong community through its products and some in-person events. Do you have any plans for more of this before next season?
The answer is a resounding yes! We love our community and want everyone who rides our skis to enjoy the backcountry environment with the same fervor as we do. We offer meetings, which are off-piste safety courses, route research and avalanche awareness oriented towards initial and continuing training.
We also have an event called the WNDR Roost, which is a bit more of an immersive and experiential event that spans three full days and incorporates situational avalanche education, mindfulness, driving with FOWs, and an exclusive look. on future developments here at WNDR Alpine. Last year we hosted our first ladies-only Roost and couldn’t have been more thrilled with the result. With guidance from Melissa Gill of FOW, Nikki Champion and Emilie Drinkwater, the ladies who competed left more confident than ever, with new ski partners and sore cheeks from smiling. In the future, we plan to expand these events based on each of the intended uses of our skis.
A Reason Roost in the heart of powder paradise is definitely on the horizon!
You’ve been lucky enough to tear up on many powder focused skis, so what makes this one different? Why are you and the WNDR team so excited about the Reason 120?
It offers a mix of uses, it’s a ski that works from my skiing experience on a variety of different soft snow tools and blends all the best features into one platform. Any soft snow should be jittery with this ski in the middle. It also complements our specially designed tool quiver with thoughtful intent, giving skiers an option for just about any off-piste and snowpack environment they may encounter.
Do you mean something else?
Ride light and charge hard, my friends!