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Gear Spotlight: Garage Brand Skis Made for Right Here

Smaller ski manufacturers, often called garage brands, have been proliferating across the ski industry. Similar to how small, local breweries have popped up everywhere to accommodate specific local tastes, smaller regional ski manufacturers are now designing their skis with local terrain in mind.  Lib Tech, which manufacturers on the Olympic Peninsula, does a lot of their product testing at Mt. Baker, and the nuances of these skis seems to fit our snow and topography to a tee.

I’m really excited about the Lib Tech UFO 105.This ski features Lib Tech’s  Magne-Traction®, a mild serration of the ski edge that basically puts more pressure on fewer points along the ski’s edge so that it cuts into firm snow. These days in our area, 105 mm is a great width for any ski surfing through powder, and the Magne-Traction helps the ski feel more like a 95 mm waisted ski on hard pack.

Additionally, our ski techs have noticed that it often feels more solid when they are drilling into the core of these limited production skis. Another aspect of garage brands like Lib Tech (similar to what you might expect in a hand-built ski) is the existence of tiny irregularities, where each set is—in a very subtle way—unique. For me, this is part of the appeal, like listening to live music as compared to the studio production. It’s all part of the flow. Have fun!

Chris Gerston owns Backcountry Essentials, an outdoor specialty shop located at 214 W. Holly in Bellingham, WA.

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