Start-Up Ski Company Manufactures 04/05 Freeride Ski Designed by Web Users

By AlpineZone News |
Nov 03 2004 - 08:43 AM

RENO, NV ??” Imagine an outdoor sports company, formed and operated on the Internet by partners drawn together by a common passion and bonded together by a surreal experience – collectively designing a low-cost, high-quality snow ski with other skiers on the Internet. Sound like the latest reality TV show? Not quite. But the challenge has been met and the resulting PM Gear Bro Model Ski has already won rave reviews by field testers riding Bro Model prototypes on the snowfields of Mt. Hood, Kirkwood, California, and Ushuaia, Argentina ahead of its official release this week.

Constructed with dimensions and characteristics suggested by an online focus group of advanced skiers, PM Gear has released the Bro Model in limited production for the 2004-2005 winter season. Available only on the Internet at, the Bro Model pays homage to the brotherhood of online skiers at Teton Gravity Research??в„ўs (TGR) Internet community who helped design the ski on TGR’s discussion forums. TGR’s online membership is comprised of numerous professional skiers, freeskiing competitors, everyday alpine and telemark skiers motivated by a passion for the sport. With input from this community, PM Gear settled on one length for the Bro Model. The ski is available in two flexes to cater to the wide ranges of capabilities amongst the skiers who helped design it.

The ski, available in a 188 cm length only, was determined through an online poll to ascertain which size big mountain ski would be right for the largest number of skiers who prefer steep and deep off-piste conditions. In an unique twist to the heretofore hush-hush tradition associated with new skis, the entire design, prototype construction, and testing was reported almost daily via images and discussions on the Internet. The Bro Model’s topsheet graphic was designed by a professional graphic designer who is a member of TGR’s online community. His numerous submissions for the Bro Model’s graphics were displayed online to weigh viewer’s opinions of the art via reactions posted on forums.

“From the beginning, our goal has been to make the ski that we know people like us have always wanted: a fat, big-mountain ski that will rip all conditions, yet sells for a reasonable price,” says PM Gear CEO Pat Keane. According to Keane, PM Gear??в„ўs foundation is the Internet. “The people who own this company met on the Internet and we do all of our business on the Internet. As active members of ski-oriented forums, we had the opportunity and ability to build a ski designed by and for the people we knew would buy it.” The Bro Model is offered in a stiff version and somewhat softer flex because the skier focus group expressed a penchant for both flexes. “They told us what they wanted and we delivered,” says Keane.

The Bro Model is built to handle the most challenging terrain and variable snow conditions with crisp responsiveness. For 2004-2005, the Bro Model will only be available in a 188 cm length and tip-waist-tail measurements of 125-99-114. Built with traditional wood core and fiberglass construction, the Bro Model is dampened by two layers of anti-vibration rubber to provide a smooth, stable ride. Durability is enhanced with Rockwell 48 edges and extremely tough black sintered bases. Leveraging its wide body and length, the Bro Model offers ample coverage underfoot for maximum float in the deepest and lightest powder but will hold an edge and carve on ice. With its wide shape and semi-shallow sidecut, the Bro Model possesses the maneuverability of a shaped ski and the flotation of a powder ski. The softer version is a top-notch crossover that works exceptionally well for telemark skiing.

“The Bro Model is a one-ski quiver,” says Keane, who writes for top ski magazines and pens a monthly column on “Skiers want one ski that excels in all conditions, whether it is skied alpine or telemark. The Bro Model’s light weight is very backcountry friendly, but the ski is aggressive in all conditions.” He defers credit for creation of the ski to the help he got from his Internet friends. “Most ski companies aren??в„ўt aware of the volume and quality of real-time information exchanged through message boards and chatrooms,” he says, implying that the demographics of skiers online are a force the ski industry has yet to fully reckon with. “Skiers who frequent online forums devoted to the sport will change the way we research and book travel, find fellow skiers at local areas and abroad, and, in the case of the Bro Model ??“ the way we design and sell skis. We??в„ўre breaking trail,” says Keane “And in the process, we’re upping the threat level to skiing’s status quo by evolving, via technology, with the burgeoning memberships of Internet communities of skiers.”

The PM Gear Bro Model ski is available at the retail price of $550. One hundred pair have been made and an additional two hundred pair will be produced to meet continued demand. For more details on ordering a pair of the limited edition Bro Model, visit or email [email][/email]