Most of you probably don't know me, but a few years ago I was quite prevalent on NS operating under the username 'Powforbreakfast.' I'm still around and love NS as much as ever, but now I'm here speaking from a business standpoint and sharing the greatest story of my life.
Though I'm now starting my senior year as a biology undergrad in college, in the late-middle-school and early-high-school days my primary ambition was to ski for a career, like so many of my peers here on NS. I had the opportunity to ski a lot, so I put in lots of hard work and did my part to make the dream happen. To a certain extent, it worked. I landed a couple local-sponsorship gigs and was starting to heat up in every competition I entered. Soon, however, I blew my right knee. A little while later, it was my left. A total of three knee surgeries later, including two ACL reconstructions in addition to a blown ankle, I had to take a step back and evaluate my life.
Being a Junior in high school and on crutches, I sat down in class one day and thought about life. I thought about NS, how much I loved skiing - How large of a role it played in my life. Should I keep skiing competitively despite my injuries? Ultimately, the answer was no. The next game plan evolved into what is now ARTificial., and it happened through a series of coincidental circumstances.
My high school is in the center of a fertile agricultural valley. As such, the population is generally poorer and there are no real 'city' jobs -- mostly agriculture and physical labor. The result yielded many classes in my high school that focused on agriculture and labor industries. So, as a Junior, I had taken 2 semesters of welding and 7 semesters of woodshop. I loved the skiing community so much... Sitting at my desk on crutches, knowing that I would need a senior project the following year, my only thought was "why not combine the two and fulfill my final presentation requirements?" What ensued was the start of a project that continues to this day.
I began by scrapping an old potato planter that was sitting at my house. ON3P was barely being conceived and the guys there exchanged probably hundreds of emails with me about techniques, ideas, and dilemmas. My own research was based around skibuilders.com and the ski-building 2.0 cult here on NS along with a lot of trial and error.
I opted for making the press as best I could and building the most efficient-pressing option. I had the resources and the time, with the idea being that I could make something that would last a long time and be of the highest quality. The frame started coming together which would function as a pneumatic press, as opposed to a lower-pressure clamp or vacuum press.
Everything was taken on as a do-it-yourself approach, including hand-painted graphics. The initial graphic design that stuck was a concept that appears in its rough form below.
Literally, everything down to the first and currently-used molds...
...To learning how to wire the electronics for the heat blankets was done by hand.
Four months following the start of the project, the first pair of skis came out of the press. They were complete shit. How was a 17-year-old supposed to know how to use epoxy with no one to look to for help and no previous experience? Reading about it only goes so far, and there are lots of ways to blow it.
And so began the process of refining, learning from experience, and changing techniques. Each pair for many pairs was imperfect, and I learned how to do something better the next time with each lay-up.
Things were looking up. Eventually, I got flex and layup techniques dialed in. With the help of the guys at ON3P and the printing resources at MOMENT, the first couple of pairs that circulated around the ski hill between my friends and I stuck around for a season or two and the durability started to prove itself.
By this time, I was graduating from high school. But why stop? I already had all of the tools, jigs, and commercial-quality press waiting to be used some more. Unable to use the school's woodshop any longer, I purchased all of the power tools needed and decided to establish the project as ARTificial. Ski Company, with the intention of perfecting the product before it was released...
...And that's exactly what happened. The name derives from our unique take on construction in addition to an emphasis on a different, in-depth and stimulating idea of how graphics should look. Through my college summers, I have worked diligently to perfect what I started and I loved (and still do) every part of it. This season marks the second year that ARTificial. is available to the public, and things are looking better than ever.
Tried and tested by me and my friends alike, ARTificial. is starting to make a presence in the PNW with two models.
The concept behind creating skis was that at the time, there was nothing on the market that was similar to what I wanted. Now in 2012, the idea still pushes the envelope on ski shape and construction policy. Our park skis and powder skis alike both have unique profiles that give them a unique performance. Studying biology has given me the opportunity to view the environment in a different way, and we are constantly integrating renewable and/or ecologically friendly materials and ideas into the construction of our products, whether it be certified renewable vertically-laminated bamboo, soy-based epoxies, or the electricity we use, which is primarily sourced from hydroelectric dams.
All in all, ARTificial. today operates as a brand run by two broke-ass college students doing what they love. There are no obligations. No team (yet). No judging. We ARE the faces of the company, serving as the founders, owners, builders, and riders, and the atmosphere we have created IS what skiing is about.
We can't thank the community and our friends who have helped us along the way enough. We're always looking to improve, but ARTificial. is about seeing eye-to-eye with our consumers, because we ARE skiers just like you... And that's the way it should be.
Because skiing is an ART.
Skiing is an ART.