How Are Alpine Skis Made?

How Are Alpine Skis Made?
The freedom of sliding down snow-covered mountains as the powder flies past frosty faces is the epitome of passion. The process of making alpine skis is no less wondrous than the skiing itself.

Wood at the Core

Many materials have been used, but wood is the predominate material still in use for the ski's core. Cut and squared off, an ash log is sliced using a band-saw to get the ski's wood core. Ash is used because it is a soft and pliant wood. A computer-operated machine is used to give precise cutting.

Sanding, Cutting and Gluing

After the ash log is cut, the wood strips are sanded using a mechanical sander. Then, the wood tip core is sent through a machine that cuts teeth into it. A ridge applicator then applies epoxy on the strips. Then two core strips are glued together, intermeshing the teeth and producing one ski core.

Fiberglass Wrap

After the cut and glue process, the ski is sent through to the technicians where fiberglass strips are molded onto the core. Several layers cut in the shape of the ski are applied one on top of the other.

Bonding and Edges

A polyethelene base is bonded onto the bottom of the ski. Edges made of polyethelene are attached, yielding the full shape of the ski.


Going through a silkscreen machine, the ski has a light material placed onto its surface. It is then sent into the machine where the graphics are applied using a series of inks. Areas not needing coloring have an impermeable material placed on it.


The ski is put through a machine that grinds and polishes for the final product. After this, the skis are matched up into pairs according to length, shape and width. A technician will then go over them for quality control.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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