Meet the oilpatch engineers who left office jobs to handcraft skis in Canmore
Seemed like 'the perfect time to take a jump like this,' co-founder says
Two young engineers recently quit their office jobs in Calgary's oil and gas sector to open a business designing and manufacturing wood core skis in Canmore, Alta.
Max Flowerday and Sam McEwen are the founders of 93 North Skis.
"Both Max and myself grew up ski racing. Both of us have been skiing since we were two years old, so it's a huge part of our upbringing and our enjoyment," McEwen told the Calgary Eyeopener on Thursday.
"We started skiing together and started talking about making skis, and then before you knew it, we had a press and we were making skis," Flowerday said.
The duo said the first skis they made two-and-a-half years ago had little shape to them and more closely resembled planks. The entrepreneurs have tweaked their process and made improvements.
"It became something I was really passionate about," McEwen said.
What was initially a fun weekend project has now turned into a full-time business.
"We were at the right time in our lives. We didn't have a lot to lose. Neither of us had a mortgage, neither of us had kids. We were both 25. It just seemed like it was the perfect time to take a jump like this," Flowerday said.
The pair set up shop in Canmore, opening 93 North Skis late last year.
The skis are made by Flowerday and McEwen from start to finish, pressed using poplar and maple hardwoods.
"They just have great longevity in terms of the mechanical characteristics they provide. They'll perform the same year over year," McEwen said.
Flowerday said testing the products has been fun — both for him and for other skiers trying out demo models.
"Having them say they're really excited about them and love how the skis performed, there's something about that that is really satisfying," he said.
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With files from the Calgary Eyeopener