Ski: 2017-2018 Folsom Primary (custom), 188 cm
Available Lengths: 174, 178, 182, 188, 192 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (188 cm): 186.3 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2163 & 2164 grams
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 137.5-108.5-129 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius: 25 meters
Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 70 mm / 46 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: 0 mm
Core: Maple / Poplar / Bamboo blend
Mount Point: -7.00 cm from center; 86.15 cm from tail
Binding: Look Pivot 14 WTR
MSRP: $1199 (see note below re: discount for blister members)
We posted on Instagram a while back a teaser about a custom skis project that I was doing with Folsom Custom Skis. And today, I’m going to finally be getting these custom skis on snow.
I first talked about skis with Folsom owner / chief of operations / head ski builder, Mike McCabe, on this podcast we did on custom skis.
Fast forward, and Mike was interested in having me go through Folsom’s custom process. So after a couple of phone calls, several emails, and one very long visit to the Folsom factory in Denver, Colorado, we settled on this custom ski that you see here.
I’ll say more about the process as we go, but the punchline here is that we decided to go with Folsom’s “Primary” shape.
Mike was clear that he wanted me to think of this as a ski that I would use as an everyday, all-mountain ski.
But it turns out that Mike and I share a lot of similar opinions on ski design, and this Primary shape — coupled with Folsom’s “SRC” — Subtle Reverse Camber — is one of Mike’s own personal favorite setups for an everyday, all-mountain ski.
So after a lot of back and forth and discussion about some of Folsom’s other shapes (we also looked at and discussed their Johnny C, Kingpin, and Trigger II options), we were zeroing in on the Primary SRC. Mike told me to take a day or two to mull it over and get back to him, and mull it over I did. And here are some of my thoughts:
I often like a bit (or a lot) of traditional camber underfoot, because I like to get some pop and rebound out of my skis. Mike and I discussed this, but he employs a construction process that he says allows reverse-camber skis to still return a bit of energy out of the turn. I’ll say more about this later, but this claim certainly made me curious.
Customizing Other Reverse-Camber Skis
Once I’d settled on a reverse camber shape, I naturally started to think of a number of the reverse-camber skis I’ve been on and reviewed. And what I found was that there were a number of skis on the market that I personally could see modifying if I were to make my own custom ski. For example:
(1) 185 cm Blizzard Cochise (2014-2015) – I love this ski. But a ski like the Cochise that had a less traditional mount point would be intriguing — would it be possible to keep the Cochise’s stability in variable conditions while bumping up its playfulness?
(2) 186 cm Rossignol Sickle – For the two zillion people who are still looking for a Sickle replacement, could this Primary be an option? And given that in the last year of the Sickle the longest length Rossi offered it in was 181, could the Primary function as something like a longer Sickle?
(3) 186 cm Faction Candide 3.0 – I think the 3.0 is a really good, really interesting ski. But for bashing around at speed in bumped-up, steeper terrain, I personally would be very interested in a heavier version of the 3.0.
(4) 187 cm Moment Meridian – I love how hard the Meridian can be pushed, but I have also been curious to see how the Meridian would perform if it had mellower tip and tail rocker lines and tip and tail splay, since I don’t care too much about the deep-snow performance of my ~107mm-wide ski; instead, I want to emphasize and enhance performance at speed in firm-snow and in moguled-up terrain. Once again, it seemed like this Primary SRC could fit the bill.
(5) 184 & 194 cm 4FRNT Devastator – I like the Devastator, but I feel like I’m in a bit of a goldilocks situation with the 184 being pretty short for me (given its super deep rocker lines), but also feeling like I don’t really need the length (194 cm) or the significant weight (~2600 grams per ski) of the next size up. So both length-wise and weight-wise, the Primary SRC seemed like a potential solution.
More Design Details
With the ideas above in mind about potential tweaks to skis, Mike and I then nailed down more of the particulars of my Primary SRC:
When Mike asked me what I had in mind, I told him that I was thinking -6 to -8 cm behind true center. He said that was going to suggest -7 cm for this build, so we were on the same page. Done.
Given that Mike already knew that I actually like a bit of weight in my inbounds skis, he quickly suggested that we go with a core made of a blend of Poplar, Maple, and Bamboo. He said that this blend would keep the ski quieter in variable conditions (than a lighter poplar blend), would make the ski more lively (than, say, going with a straight Aspen blend), and it would be more robust — while adding 141 g per ski. I said Yes to all of this very quickly.
Tip & Tail Shape
Given that we were already starting with a very pivot-y, reverse camber platform, I told Mike that I had no interest in adding much tip or tail taper to this ski. This shape was going to be easy to turn, so we don’t need to make it even easier to turn. “Yep, exactly,” Mike said, and we quickly moved on after discussing this for about 9 seconds.
Folsom offers 3-5 different flex profiles for every shape. “Profile 2,” according to Mike, “is very accurate for what I want this ski to be. It’s pretty forgiving in the tip, and supportive in the tail. It’s a balanced profile that will still feel really dynamic, while conforming to the terrain and adding soft-snow performance. Basically,” Mike said, “I want the longitudinal flex to be as soft as possible, but torsionally stiff.”
To be clear, I often tend to like stiffer shovels, but I told Mike that I’d follow his lead on this one, since I’m very curious to see how this flex pattern feels on snow.
Hand flexing the ski, here’s how I’d characterize the flex pattern:
Tips: 5.5/6 – 7
Behind the Heel piece: 10-9
Interesting. And actually, those tip and tail numbers I’ve listed might actually be more like 5.5 – 6 at the tips, and a “7” softening to “6” at the very end of the ski, so I’ve updated the numbers above. And the single biggest question I have is whether this shape + flex pattern will amount to a ski that I can drive quite hard? Or will this ski be less of a charger, but more of a really fun, playful ski?
Bottom Line (For Now)
I’ll be saying more about the Folsom custom process soon, but for now, I just want to get these on snow and see what we’ve got here. The skis arrived beautifully finished and ready to go, so it’s time to go ski. Stay tuned…
NEXT: THE REVIEW