There are skis that will almost do the turn for you and then there are skis that you have to ride. Neither of them is better than the other, it just all depends on the kind of experience you want.
Forest Skis is a small innovative ski brand from Slovakia that you have probably never heard of, yet they are slowly becoming known for custom building skis for those that want really to shred.
One of Forest Skis’ highly prized features is asymmetric ski design, or a “variable effective edge”, that provides the skier with two different riding experience in the same pair of skis.
Just swap the skis from one foot to the other and you switch their performance from aggressive freeride and steep descents to more playful and easier to cruise mode.
To understand better what Forest Skis are about, we talked to the founder, engineer and the main designer, Viktor Devečka.
Q: How did Forest Skis get noticed by the world?
We are not a mass production brand, our growth is slow but sustainable.
The world knows about us thanks to the design awards we won, one of them is the prestigious Red Dot Award for Product Design in Germany. We were at ISPO in Munich a few times and our skis were always one of the highlights.
We are also known thanks to our riders and ambassadors like Ryan Oakden from Canada, a former Freeride World Champion.
Q: What makes your skis special and unique? Everyone says that.
While we have the know-how and we custom build skis, and tailor them to your riding style, I think that the main thing that makes our skis different is that we are both skiers and engineers in one person. There is no loss of information between the skier and the ski designer and builder.
I know the result and experience which I want from my skis, so I design them that way and create the construction.
Also, we make no compromise in designing our skis so they will turn easily for any level of skier. Simply, you either love them or you hate them.
We are not trying to please everyone.
Q: For whom are your skis made?
Our skis perform downhill, so they won’t be as light as Dynafit but they will drive. However, thanks to our customizations, we also make skis very close in weight to the ski touring brands in the 100 to 120mm range without compromising the riding experience.
Now, we have three lines of skis: Full Carbon, Asymmetrical and Indigo Dyed skis.
The signature mark is a carbon tree on the tail of the ski. Those are for experienced riders, who know what they expect from skis – no compromise and full power which no other skis can offer.
Simply by switching left and right ski, you can adjust your skis to the snow conditions or to your ski style and needs. The skis in this line are softer and more forgiving than the FullCarbon.
This is our crazy idea of skis based on different shapes of an effective edge (on the sides of the ski), and the other ski in the pair is made as a mirror. You have the same radius but the shape of one side of the ski is more playful, and on the other side of the same ski is designed to be more stable.
Indigo Dyed skis:
This is our newest line. The skis feature flax linen top sheet, dyed by an old unique technique known as Blaudruck (Indigo dyed) that is a part of UNESCO Heritage.
This line is for more suitable for intermediate skiers. Thanks to the flax linen top sheet that creates amazing dampening, these skis are really forgiving and stable. Combined with the extraordinary graphic design you cannot find a similar ski on the market.
Q: How do you customize skis for someone when many likely don’t know how to ask for specific features?
Over the years, we have come up with a set of unique questions that help us to define what is best for each and every customer.
For example, for our wooden skis, you can choose the shape of the tail. This customization exists because we found that different characteristics of riding can be reached on the same skis with simply different tail shapes.
Q: Can you explain some of the most important features a rider can customize on their skis?
Basically, we can customize almost every aspect of the ski to create the look and riding experience you desire.
In our FullCarbon line, one of the most visible customizations is the colour of the wood for the top sheet. You have to like what you ride!
As I mentioned before, we offer different tail shapes and also different kinds of construction. The most advanced in the FullCarbon line is the ultralight construction. With that, we can achieve 300g less weight per ski.
In the Asymmetrical line, you can have standard fiberglass construction with carbon stripes, or lighter FullCarbon construction.
We can also fully customize your skis using our shapes as a base, but you can customize the stiffness, design, weight, etc.
We also love to experiment and play with innovations.
Q: Can clients customize the graphic design? Your skis are beautiful, who designs them?
Yes, we can fully customize the graphic designs on classic ICP foil.
The graphic designer of the whole brand is my colleague and my beloved girlfriend in one person, her name is Bronya.
Q: What makes your skis so durable? Also, what materials and technologies are your specialties?
Durability is a sensitive topic but our skis are built to last. We use hard bases, snowboard edges, strong wood cores.
Also, we use the Dyneema fiber which is four times stronger to break or tear than Kevlar (we use Kevlar as well), and it protects the carbon construction from the impact from sharp rocks.
It is difficult and expensive to work with the Dyneema fiber but the benefits it provides are amazing.
Q: Where can people test or see your skis?
Most of our skis are here in Slovakia. But we have a test centrum also in Fiss in Austria and in Lanzerheide-Arrosa in Switzerland where there is a telemark test center.
We also make a lot of public ski test in the Alps, Slovakia and Czech Republic during the winter season. Then we do occasional pop-ups like for example in Lululemon store in Whistler this last season, or as part of film festivals.
Q: What does the (higher) price for your skis provide your customer with?
With our skis, you are getting not only a product but also an extensive customer service.
In comparison to other brands – on the surface similar to our brand with design or technology, and the amount of production – we are still about 30% cheaper.
Q: How long does it take to make and deliver the skis after someone places an order?
The best time for ordering our skis is summer. We offer a better price during this period, plus you can split the payments and you can choose what you want (custom).
We have an order form on our website that you have to fill and you will get your skis in the autumn.
In the winter time, you can choose from the skis in our stock. Custom skis can take up to 1.5 months to make during the winter as we are busy with many things.
Q: Which notable athletes ride on your skis? What do they love about them?
All our athletes ride our skis because they are built with no compromise – simply for pure and powerful riding.
I already mentioned Ryan Oakden from Whistler in Canada. Then we have some of the best skiers from Slovakia, Martin Labuda and Marian Treger, that also live in Canada.
Knut Skinnes is a great telemark skier and en environmentalist from Norway. Then Monika Tatarkova who is a head judge in FWQ races.
We also have a small team of riders and photographers in France, for example also a pro skydiver Roman Dusky or paralyzed sit-ski freerider Marian Ligda, a former excellent Freeride competitor (we met with Marian after his injury and we developed special ski for him).
Q: Do you hand-make the skis personally? How do you oversee the quality of each pair?
Yes we do, and we collaborate with LTB-snowboards in production. The factory is already 34 years on the market and lots of experience with building skis and snowboards.
Thanks to this smooth work arrangement, I can focus on the development and get the perfect quality for our products.
All of the skis are going through my hands, I check them and finish them. Also, I make all the special custom skis. I am adjusting the machines and coordinating every step of this hand-made production. We are always improving.