Right now, outside my window, it is snowing. By Tuesday of this week, forecasters predict this storm will bring double digit inches of glorious, fluffy, white powder to Sun Valley’s mountains. Hooray! Everyone is now thinking about skiing and snowboarding in earnest.
There is no ski town like Sun Valley and no mountain like Baldy. With its consistently steep pitch, varied terrain and adrenalin-pumping opportunities for top-to-bottom shots, it is a skier’s mountain like no other. And now a local Ketchum entrepreneur and legendary skier is building, shaping and crafting skis, from scratch, to each client’s exact specifications.
Meet Caleb Baukol, The Ski Shaper™.
Caleb is the founder of Big Wood Ski ™, a completely custom, handcrafted line currently being made one pair at a time in downtown Ketchum. Caleb, an accomplished back country and big mountain skier, creates custom in a world of mass production, hand-crafted in a business of factories, individualized in an industry of standard and made in America in world of made elsewhere.
And you can learn the fundamentals of making your own skis with The Ski Shaper™ himself at a special workshop being offered Saturday, December 7, through Friday, December 13. This Winter Ski Building Workshop invites you to Big Wood Ski ™ headquarters in Ketchum to learn about base cut out, installing edges, fiberglass preparation, cutting and grinding skis, waxing and much, much more. Participants will produce a prototype ski to take home on Friday and ski the next Saturday. Pick the length and the shape and then personalize the ski through hammer stamping the tip and tail protectors.
But it won’t be all work and no play as the workshop kicks off with, what else? Skiing on Bald Mountain! R & D, of course. Participants will also take off the safety goggles and unwind during the workshop with Foosball, ski movies and a party on the 13th to enjoy the finished product with beer, wine and friends. Chances are, some local ski legends will also swing by. It is a quintessential Sun Valley experience!
Why custom skis?
“Ski technology, as we all know, has evolved tremendously in recent years,” Caleb said. “With shaped skis, we learned that skis do not need to be long and skinny to be stable at high speeds. However, most shaped skis available en masse are measured only in length and width underfoot. Instead of working only with traditional measurements in tip-waist-tail, Caleb also adds two other measurements in creating custom skis. This, what he calls “5-D” technology, adds variables in both the tip and tail widths. Because of this, no two pair of Big Wood Skis ™ will be the same. The camber is also fully customized on Caleb’s boards. Terrain preferences play into the equation, as well. Do you want to go backwards? Great! Twin tips it is. Do you prefer powder skiing? Easy! They will put exactly the right width and length board on your feet for your height, weight, ability and take into account discrepancies in strength left to right. Like the finest custom tailored suit, these skis will fit your body like they were made for you. Because they were.
The workshop will address all these many components. Participants will work with Big Wood Ski’s ™ signature materials — cores formed of bamboo and hardwoods, and outer layers crafted from beautiful hardwoods that are sanded and varnished into skis you may be tempted to hang on the wall and enjoy as a piece of beautiful, one-of-a-kind art. But once you ski on them, the place you will really want to see them, is on your feet, on the snow.
To register for the workshop or for more information, please call 208-481-8013 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The workshop costs $1500 and skis are included in the price.
Sun Valley Resort is offering a special stay and play package deal to workshop participants. A special early season rate of $81 per person per night double occupancy ($85 for Friday/Saturday) comes with a lift ticket and luxurious accommodations at the Sun Valley Lodge. There is no better way to enjoy the full experience than by staying at the Resort when you are not crafting your envy-inducing skis.
No matter if you’re building your own skis, letting The Ski Shaper™ do it for you, or are simply going to break out last year’s model, now is the time to check those edges, apply the right coat of wax and make sure there are no nicks or scratches in the base of your skis or board. It’s snowing like crazy and it’s time to get out there!