The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (2022)

The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (1)

Everyone knows big snowsport brands like K2, Burton, or Salomon. So let us introduce you to some of the smaller but incredible winter sports manufacturers, the garage band of the bunch. We looked at the best small brands and compiled a ‘top nine’ list. To qualify for our “small” category, revenues had to be <$5 million, and the product launched less than 30 years ago.

Forest Skis – Slovakia

Forest Ski was founded in 2012 by the two brothers Viktor and Jakub Devečka, both engineers by training who are keen freeriders. They offer awide range of skis from freeski to allrounders, made from carbon, glass fiber, and kevlar with a wood core. Their ‘asymmetric ski’ has an effective variable edge that provides skiers with a different ski experience depending on which way they are used (left side versus right side) and won the prestigious RedDot Award. Their brand ambassadors include freeskiing world championRyan Oakden. They have a test center in Fiss, Austria, and one in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, for telemark skis. The skis are made in Slovakia, and they occasionally do pop-ups, e.g., in Whistler. Check out these guys if you’re in the market for a custom ski, especially if you are a keen freeskier. To help with your buying decision, the brothers developed a set of questions to help tailor the skis to your skiing style.

(Video) Hit the Slopes! Great skiing and smaller crowds at these lesser known mountains - New Day NW

The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (2)
The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (3)

Parlor Skis and Snowboards – MA, USA

Parlor was founded by three friends: Mark Wallace, Pete Endres, and Jason Epstein, who grew up in New England in an abandoned funeral parlor in Cambridge, MA, in 2013. The trio had started building skis four years prior but did not commit fully until a few years later. Their first 25 skis sold out instantly, and the three have not looked back. Their range of skis consists of a semi-custom ski and a full custom ski. All three have at some stage done ski race training, competed at youth or college levels, and have put their experience to use, trying to offer a one-of-a-kind level of customization from people who know their stuff.

The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (4)
The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (5)

Igneous Skis & Snowboards, WY, USA

Based in Jackson, WY, Igneous was founded by Adam Sherman in 1993, and his friend Mike Parris, a robotics engineer, took over the business from him in the late 90s. Igneous manufactures custom-made skis and boards, and all skis are manufactured by hand. Parris considered automating processes but said he realized he enjoyed working with his hand and the direct contact with customers. Igneous skis and snowboards have no logo — the skis and boards have a simple wooden skin. Instead of a marketing strategy, Igneous relies on word of mouth. So if you’re looking for an understated but entirely custom-built ski or board, Igneous are the guys to talk to (Fun Fact: Pete Wagner of Wagner Custom Skis learned from Mike Parris in one of his build your own skis classes).

(Video) BEST OF SKI KNUCKLE HUCK 2020 | World of X Games

The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (6)
The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (7)

Moment Skis, NV, USA

Founded by Casey Hakansson in Nevada, the guys and gals at Moment Skis have specialized in freestyle skis and have a knack for designing some of the most eye-catching skis. Moment Skis counts several Olympians as their brand ambassadors, like US Halfpipe skier and triple Olympian (2 Gold and 1 Silver medal) David Wise, who skied on Moment Skis in the Beijing Olympics, or mogul skier and triple Olympian (1 Bronze and 1 Silver medal) Shannon Bahrke who skied on Moment Skis in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Moment has a men’s, women’s, and youth range and also sell blades, which can be hard to come by.

The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (8)
The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (9)

Roxa Ski Boots, Italy

While Roxa is not a small company, the Roxa ski boot brand is relatively small. Roxa started manufacturing ski boots for other companies, like Full Tilt (now K2). In the early 2000s, however, the company pivoted to produce its own ski boot, based on decades of experience in the industry. While Roxa is not a custom-fit ski boot like Strolz, they offer a tailoring of their boots from three-piece cabrio shell versus two-piece overlap outer boots to a variety of inner liners from Intuition/Roxa custom liners to IR wrap or tongue liners. This makes some of their boot models similar to the Full Tilt boot. Brand ambassadors include America’s Hall of Fame skier Glen Plake and Canadian freestyle skier Dean Bercovitch.

(Video) Main Chute at Alta, UT on October 27, 2022

The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (10)
The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (11)

Meier Skis, CO, USA

Meier Skis is based in Denver, CO, and have been harvesting local Aspen, poplar, and beetle-kill pine trees to make sustainable skis for over a decade. Founded in 2009 by Matt Cudmore and Ted Eynon, these guys specialize in your typical West Coast powder ski but also manufacture some excellent frontside rippers. All Meier Skis are handmade in the US. Meier strongly focuses on sustainability and tries to make its manufacturing as ecologically friendly as possible, using non-toxic sap and bio-resins. Check out their happy-hour factory tours, where you can enjoy a local beer while learning about ski manufacturing. Meier also produces snowboards and bamboo poles.

The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (12)
The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (13)

Fatcan Ski Poles, Italy

Ski poles are probably one of the most overlooked equipment pieces for skiers. Northern Italy-based company Fatcan brought the fun into the stepchild of ski equipment in 2012 with their customizable ski poles. Their concept is that you choose from one of their funky pole designs (think candy stripes or Bavarian pretzels), then ‘pimp’ your pole, trimming it to the exact length and fitting it with your choice of handle and powder basket. Focused initially on freestyle skiing with their sturdy, fat original series, Fatcan remains a fan favorite with slopestyle and park skiers like McRae Williams or Luca Schuler (who even has a pair of Fatcan poles named after him). Fatcan refers to their poles as ‘fat’ rather than conic-shaped. However, recently they have expanded into extendable freeride poles, thinner poles, and even a conic series. All poles are 100% made in Italy and 100% recyclable.

(Video) Drone Video of Skiing Suicide Chute on Mt. Superior, UT on 10/28/22

The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (14)
The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (15)

Fat-Ypus, CO, USA

Breckenridge-based Fat-Ypus was founded in 2004 by Jared Mazlish and Dave Gelhaar. The duo was unimpressed with the offering of fat skis on the market, so they experimented by cutting a snowboard in half to test the desired width. Their first ski, the A-Lotta, was 140mm underfoot. Dave left the business more than a decade ago, but Jared grew the company and now sells more than 1,000 skis yearly. Their range has exploded from the initial A-Lotta and now covers more than a dozen types of skis, including a pair of mogul skis, and they offer women’s skis and kids’ skis. Fat-Ypus has a network of retailers around the globe, and their skis can be bought all over the US and anywhere from New Zealand to Norway.

The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (16)
The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (17)

Community Skis, CA, USA

Community Skis have created something incredibly unique. More than just making custom skis, the founders Kristin Broumas and Michael Lish believe that knowledge is the thing that will bring our society forward. Combined with a desire to connect people and sustainability, Kristin and Michael set up shop in a trailer and will travel around the country, educating people and sharing their love and passion for making skis. As part of that, they run many workshops from their trailer. If they are not traveling, Kristin and Michael can be found around Mammoth. In 2012 they set up a small ski shop in Mammoth. For 2022 they are working on a container-based ski shop and are upgrading their trailer. All the skins are entirely custom designed, and you can upload and create any design for your skis with Kristin’s help, so if it’s a picture of your dog or your own drawing you want, anything is possible. Therefore no two Community Skis look the same.

(Video) How much does it cost to Ski or Snowboard in AUSTRIA? 🇦🇹

What unites all these companies is their pride in what they do and their passion for bringing you what they believe is the best product. Another thread that runs strongly in all these companies is an effort to be as sustainable as possible. So why notsupport one of these smaller, unique brands?

The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (18)
The 9 Best 'Small' Snowsports Brands - SnowBrains (19)

(Video) Backcountry Safety Basics Part 1: Snow Science

You might also like:


What is the most popular brand of skis? ›

The Best Ski Brands For 2022-2023
  • Head Skis.
  • K2 Skis.
  • Line Skis.
  • Black Crows.
  • Black Diamond.
  • Faction Skis.
  • Atomic.
  • ATK Bindings.
30 Sept 2022

What snow skis are made in the USA? ›

Our Top Picks: Skis Made in the USA
  • Icelantic Nomad 115. It's not a new face, but it's a favorite. ...
  • Icelantic Nia Pro 105. ...
  • DPS Pagoda 106 C2. ...
  • DPS Pagoda Tour 112 RP. ...
  • Moment Wildcat 108.

Are 10 year old skis still good? ›

You can technically ski on an old pair of skis for as long as they are intact and can attach to your ski boots – but if you want to get the best from your expensive lift pass – you probably should upgrade to a new pair at least every 6-12 years. More major improvements in design tend to happen every 5 years.

How do you pick a good pair of skis? ›

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind: The longer the ski = more stability, but harder to maneuver; the shorter the ski = easier maneuverability, but less stability at speed. So if you like to ski aggressively and make fast wide-open turns, you'll probably want something a little longer.

How much are a decent set of skis? ›

A new set of skis can cost anywhere from $400 to $1000. Unfortunately, you need the boots and bindings too if your skis are going to serve you at all. These add on yet another costly purchase. The total price for a ski setup can range from $600 to $1500.

What makes a good pair of skis? ›

You'll want to go for an average blade width (around 80mm) and tips which verge on the large size to give better lift off-piste or on powder. Rigidity: Go for mid-range rigidity for the perfect all-rounder ski.

What ski boots are the warmest? ›

Dalbello Panterra 130 ID GW

The soft liner detracts from the performance but makes this the warmest boot we tested. The variable last width from 100 to 102 millimeters makes this boot great for those with a wider or higher volume foot.

Is it better to have smaller or bigger ski boots? ›

If you're a beginner, size up for even more of a comfort fit. The more experience you have, the tighter you'll likely want to keep your boot, so you can always size down as you get more comfortable skiing.

Should ski boots be heavy or light? ›

In general, the stiffer and heavier the boot the better for skiing downhill, the lighter and more flexible the boot the better for climbing uphill. The stiffness of a boot will also feel different depending on how much you weigh.

What is the oldest ski company? ›

The Original

Madshus began making cross-country skis in 1906 when the founder, Martin Madshus, made the first pair in his barn. He continued to produce skis, and Madshus has been open ever since. It is now considered the oldest ski manufacturer in the world.

What ski are made in Ukraine? ›

Ukraine manufactures 60% of products for Fischer Sports, a major sports equipment company, as well as many other brands' skis and snowboards. The 50-acre Fischer factory in Mukachevo produces up to 60% of all skis and boards sold in Europe each year, according to BNE Intellinews.

Are Liberty skis made in China? ›

Liberty skis are built in China but skied by some of the most passionate skiers along the Colorado Front Range, like Powder7 ambassadors Doug Evans and Ben Leoni.

What does R mean in skis? ›

The radius of the sidecut (or R) is normally written on the top of the ski somewhere with a measurement in metres. A ski with a smaller sidecut radius will make smaller tighter turns when the ski is being carved, whereas a ski with a larger sidecut radius will make larger turns.

What type of skiing is the easiest? ›

Alpine Skiing

This is for you if: you want to get your skis wet. Beginner slopes are a great place to learn the basics of moving in skis and reading terrain, and ski resorts often have instructors on hand to help you get started.

What makes a ski fast? ›

The 3 main factors to having fast skis are ski flex and design, structure, and wax. You could throw base material in there too, but most people have what they have, so that is more of a World Cup level topic.

Can I use 20 year old skis? ›

If you decide to go ahead and use non-indemnified bindings that doesn't necessarily mean your skis are a mobile death wish, but it certainly is not recommended, just make sure they are intact and in good condition. If your skis are older than 20 years then the only thing they are good for at this point is decoration.

How do you tell if a ski is worn out? ›

Obvious external damage to look for:
  1. Rock damage: Burred, broken or deformed steel edges.
  2. Topsheet: Torn, chipped, peeling, delaminated or with pieces missing.
  3. Bases: Worn thin, torn up or holed-through. A thin base may result from repeated stone-grinds. ...
  4. Camber: As skis fatigue, camber may flatten.
15 Oct 2020

Is it OK to ski on old bindings? ›

A binding can still be OK for many, many years. Manufacturers just don't want to be responsible for risk anymore, and they also want us to buy new and better bindings. You can install new binding on your old skis (if you love them unconditionally); a technician will plug the old holes.

What should I buy first when skiing? ›

First Time Skiing Checklist
  • Skis, Poles, and Bindings. If you do not own or lease skis, you will need to rent them from the resort. ...
  • Ski Boots. You can rent ski boots at the resort, but this is not recommended. ...
  • Ski Helmet. ...
  • Ski Jacket and Ski Pants. ...
  • Base and Mid Layers. ...
  • Gloves / Mittens. ...
  • Ski Socks. ...
  • Goggles.

Should skis be taller or shorter than you? ›

There isn't an exact formula for determining the right size but in general the proper ski length should be between your chin and the top of your head. For example, a skier that is 6' tall will want to look for a skis between 170 - 190 cm.

Why shorter skis are better? ›

Shorter and softer flexing skis are easier to control, making turning easier and gaining speed less intimidating. The length and waist width of your skis determines how much surface area your ski is touching on the snow.

Does your weight matter when buying skis? ›

Weight also plays a factor in deciding which skis you'll buy. A good rule of thumb is that, if you weigh less than the average for your height, you should opt for shorter skis. If you weigh more than average, you should opt for longer skis.

How long should skis be for a beginner? ›

Ski Size Chart
Skier Height in Feet and InchesSkier Height in CentimetersBeginner to Intermediate Length (cm)
9 more rows

What makes a ski more forgiving? ›

Lighter skis tend to be more forgiving because they're easier to maneuver; if skiers find themselves in trouble, they can more easily course-correct on lighter weight skis than on heavy skis. A metal core makes a ski stiffer, which can negatively impact a ski's forgiveness.

Is ski a sport for rich? ›

Also, you need to be able to get up the mountain, so you will need to buy lift passes. Ski resorts are not known for being cheap places to eat and drink. Also, lift passes can be very expensive, especially in North America. All this may suggest that skiing is a rich person's sport.

What is the most versatile ski? ›

Most Versatile: Nordica Enforcer 94. The Nordica Enforcer 94 ($750) is one of the most well-rounded skis ever created. Revamped in 2021, this ski is mostly unchanged for the 2022-23 season, but it remains a tried-and-true classic.

What sole is best on ice? ›

Non-slip rubber typically makes the best soles for snow and ice. Soles with larger treads offer plenty of grip. They'll help you avoid slipping when you're walking in wintry conditions, as well as keeping your feet waterproof.

How much should you spend on ski boots? ›

A beginner pair of brand new ski boots will start at about $200 on the lower end. Expert boots can easily be $500+. Ski boots are the most important thing to get right. If there's any piece of gear that you do not want to skimp on, it's your boots.

Is 15 degrees too cold to ski? ›

Temperatures are relative. 5° F (-15° C) on a sunny day can feel warmer than 20° F (-7° C) on a windy, snowy day. There is no definitive temperature telling you when it's too cold to ski. So our best advice is to bundle up and try skiing.

Is 130 flex too stiff? ›

Flex in ski boots refers to how difficult it is to flex the boot forward. Boot flex ranges from very soft to race stiffness, indicated by a numeric “flex index” that's usually a number from 50 (soft) to 130 (very stiff). Often this number is written on the outside of the boot cuff.

Should toes touch front of ski boot? ›

Your toes should be touching the end of the boot when you first put it on, it may even feel half a size too small. Then as you buckle the ski boot up and flex forward (push your knees over your toes) you will feel some pressure release and a bit of room for your toes.

How do I know what size boots to buy? ›

Your heel should not come up out of the boot or rub against the back. Your toes should have about an inch of room in front of them at all times. The sides of your feet should not feel painful pressure. Your toes should not slide forward or hit the end of the boot.

Is it better to wear thin or thick socks when skiing? ›

It might sound counterintuitive, but thin socks with keep your feet much warmer during a day of skiing. Bulky ski socks also tend to bunch up. Those wrinkles can easily reduce circulation to your feet, making them very cold. Gleason personally prefers thin socks made from merino wool.

Do ski boots get stiffer with age? ›

But it's not just about how often they're worn, it's the age overall, so 6 – 8 years seems to be a better rule of thumb. Plastics get stiffer and brittle with age. Cracks in the plastic particularly around the stress points are a sure sign of age and an indicator that the materials are breaking down.

What is the most important buckle on a ski boot? ›

The second buckle from the top is the most important one for keeping your heel in place. Take your power strap and secure it so that it matches the snugness of the top buckles. Flex forward and fasten the lower buckles.

What is the oldest ski shop in America? ›

Since 1920, America's Oldest Ski Shop

Stept Studios went back to their roots to capture the story of 93-year old Joe Lahout and America's Oldest Ski Shop. The crew spent a few days exploring the White Mountains with Joe, learning about the area, shop, and life spent in the outdoors.

What is the hardest ski run in the world? ›

The Streif – Kitzbühel, Austria – Max Gradient 85%

Arguably the most famous ski run in the world, let alone the steepest ski runs in the world, the Streif is a truly extreme slope. Ski racers around the world each year head to Kitzbühel to compete in the Hahnenkamm ski weekend.

What is the biggest ski company in the world? ›

POWDR is one of the largest ski resort operators in North America, along with Boyne Resorts, Alterra Mountain Company, Aspen Skiing Company and Vail Resorts. It is owned by the Cumming family and headquartered in Park City, Utah.
Powdr Corporation.
Key peopleJustin Sibley, CEO
4 more rows

What are the most famous international brands in Ukraine? ›

10 most valuable brands in Ukraine (according to MPP Consulting)
1Morshinskabottled water
5Nova Poshtashipping
5 more rows
23 Nov 2017

What skis are made in the United States? ›

Our Top Picks: Skis Made in the USA
  • Icelantic Nomad 115. It's not a new face, but it's a favorite. ...
  • Icelantic Nia Pro 105. ...
  • DPS Pagoda 106 C2. ...
  • DPS Pagoda Tour 112 RP. ...
  • Moment Wildcat 108.

Are Volkl skis made in China? ›

OUR Vision. Progressive technologies, outstanding products and high quality "Made In Germany" are unique values of Völkl that no other brand can provide. These core values determine the way to an unparalleled evolution in skiing, no matter which category.

What skis are made in Switzerland? ›

swiss massiv skis are created in the heart of Switzerland. They are the outcome of a long-time passion and quest for precision crafting of a highly complex design product.

What brand do Olympic skiers wear? ›

Spyder Unveils US Ski Team Uniforms for 2022 Olympic Games.

What skis do professionals use? ›

Rossignol, Atomic, and Fischer. Rossignol is stronger between men pro skiers, Fischer between ladies. At the middle of usage rankings, we have Salomon and Volkl. Salomon is more popular between men alpine skiers, Voelkl between women alpine skiers.

What skis do Olympic skiers use? ›

Olympic alpine skis are designed for maximum speed and carve turning. They very in size depending on the discipline. Downhill skis are the largest with minimum lengths of 218 centimeters (86 inches) for men and 210 cm (83 in.) for women.

Is Rossignol a luxury brand? ›

We are a luxury brand, but we are mainly focused on an active clientele who is receptive to Rossignol's 'mountain to city' approach.”

What brand does Mikaela Shiffrin wear? ›

At their headquarters in Lafayette, Spyder makes the suits that Mikaela Shiffrin and other members of Team USA wear when they're competing.

What do professional downhill skiers wear? ›

Typically, ski racers wear compression gear — a type of long underwear that facilitates muscle recovery, circulation and warmth — under the high-tech fabrics that make up their outer speed suits. The rule reads: “Competition suits and clothing worn underneath, such as underwear, etc.

Are shorter skis better than longer? ›

As a rule of thumb, beginner-level skiers should ride a ski no longer than the top of their chests. Shorter and softer flexing skis are easier to control, making turning easier and gaining speed less intimidating. The length and waist width of your skis determines how much surface area your ski is touching on the snow.

What's better shorter or longer skis? ›

If you're looking at different lengths of the same ski model, the longer version is generally going to be more stable at high speeds, while the shorter length is generally going to be easier to ski at slower speeds.

Are wider or thinner skis better? ›

Confirm your ski dimensions support the type of skiing you like to do: Skinnier skis are better for carving turns on groomed runs, while wider skis provide better flotation in deep snow.

What is the hardest type of ski run? ›

The 78 percent gradient of Harakiri makes it the steepest groomed run in the world. One slip on this icy groomer would most likely send a skier tumbling down the length of the run. Harakiri, the Japanese term for ritual suicide, is a fitting name for the Austrian slope.

Which brand is the most durable? ›

Toyota earns the top spot as the best automaker for dependability. Toyota vehicles are known for their longevity, and they are proven to last longer than any other brand. Toyotas are built so well they have below-average maintenance and repair costs, which helps contribute to why they remain on the road for so long.

What is the best quality luxury brand? ›

The best luxury brands of 2022 are Dior, Michael Kors, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, and Nordstrom. Each of these eight luxury brands excels in different areas, such as material quality, fashion design, product variety, or brand popularity.

Are Dynastar and Rossignol the same? ›

Rossignol was one of the first companies to produce plastic skis. The company also owns the brands Dynastar and LOOK. In 2005, Rossignol was bought by boardsport equipment manufacturer Quiksilver for $560 million.


1. Backcountry Safety Basics Part 1: Snow Science
(Clayton Malott)
2. Is ski instructing as good as they say?
(EA Ski & Snowboard)
3. How To Pack For A Ski Trip
4. Top 5 Fridays Ski Industry News - Episode 2 - April 24, 2020
5. Is This The Best 12-Year-Old Skier In The World?
(Teton Gravity Research)
6. The FIFTY - Gear Talk - Secrets, Nuances and Selecting Ski Bindings.
(Cody Townsend)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Last Updated: 11/25/2022

Views: 6336

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Birthday: 1999-09-15

Address: 8416 Beatty Center, Derekfort, VA 72092-0500

Phone: +6838967160603

Job: Mining Executive

Hobby: Woodworking, Knitting, Fishing, Coffee roasting, Kayaking, Horseback riding, Kite flying

Introduction: My name is Msgr. Refugio Daniel, I am a fine, precious, encouraging, calm, glamorous, vivacious, friendly person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.