Doug Mock has been skiing on Folsom Custom Skis since our inception, and as a dedicated tele skier has strong feelings about what makes a good, quality ski. Here’s his story…
Let’s rewind about 15 years.
We walk into our favorite ski shop, head straight to the back wall. Beneath the big sign that says, “Backcountry,” and next to the rack of colorful plastic bindings arrayed with all sorts of cables and springs and whatnot, there’s a rack filled with long, skinny skis.
I pull one of these down from the rack. “Toute Neige” the topsheets declare: All Snow.
“These things have such a perfect flex. It’s really even from tip to tail. Laterally stiff, so it’ll resist twisting and hold a good edge. Good flotation for the untracked. This ski’s pretty much perfect for pinnin’ and grinnin’!”
I press hard at the ski’s center. It bows into a round, hippie smile. Sweet.
If we were to leave the “Backcountry” section of this shop to perform the same test on one of those new “shaped skis” in the fixed-heel section to our left, that round, sweet flex would be impossible to find. Alpine skiers have different needs than we do. Their skis just aren’t as smiley.
Now fast forward back to 2019.
The “Backcountry” section of our ski shop has expanded dramatically. The bindings all look like reject droids from Lego Star Wars. There are eight different brands of climbing skins made from Tibetan yak fur and proprietary Silicon Valley nano-polymers. Boots weigh less than a PBR tallboy. In case of emergency, your backpack may be used as a floatation device. But there’s not a single ski with a sweet, round, smiling flex anywhere in sight.
“The industry has given up on us, brother,” you lament. “No one cares.”
“Dude, why are we looking for skis at this big box outdoors store?” I reply. “These people wouldn’t know a cairn from a couloir!”
And then, magically, POW!
Here we are at Folsom Customs.
Telemark skis sure aren’t 220cm long anymore, but, even with modern, active bindings and crazy powerful boots, the dynamics of The Turn haven’t changed in 200 years. These days, we can charge bumps, blast crud, huck huge and get in deep every bit as skillfully (and certainly more artfully) than any fixed-heel hoser. Progressive shapes and carbon construction allow a skier more freedom to enjoy bent-knee turns with speed and confidence than ever before. But mass-market skis aren’t designed for our tele-tribe. They’re really designed for them.
The magic of freeheel skiing—that mindless zen of an indescribable surf—derives from the ability of our skis to bend perfectly into that hippie smile. Boards designed for alpine bindings have to account for a dead spot beneath the boot, an entire third of the ski’s length that won’t flex in a turn. Sure, an alpine smile turns up at the tips and tails, but it’s always a bit disgruntled in the center. Every ski on the rack at the ski shop is specifically designed for this disgruntledness.
At Folsom Customs, we’ve built telemark specific designs for as long as we’ve been making skis. We know exactly that surfy, round flex you crave—the one that can’t be bought off the rack.
But a custom ski offers much more for the modern freeheeler than that perfect smile of bend. Folsom makes a ski that’s fully bespoke for you: your body, your terrain, your binding, your boot, your style. Drop-knee trench digging on corduroy. Endless arcs in bouncing pow. Gravity-defying tele-presses on the boxes in the park. Edge-hanging hop turns in nosebleed chutes. All the tele-turning you can handle, designed and built especially, exclusively, for you.
Wherever your freeheel fancy takes you, Folsom Customs are made to take you there. All smiles. Never disgruntled. Simply the perfect pair of telemark skis.