Design Inspiration – Brianna’s Skis

I’m already dreaming about skiing and with any luck there will only be about 50 or so more days until I’ll be back on snow. In anticipation, I’m going to start to blogging again about winter inspirations right now! And I’m gonna begin with a Bang! with skis hand-made by Brianna Morse of Aspen, Colorado. They made my heart leap with joy and envy when I saw them!

Brianna'sSkis

Last year when Brianna was a senior at Aspen High School (she’s now a freshman at Middlebury College) she combined her appreciation of folk art, skills as a woodworker and her love for skiing into a one-of-a-kind pair of skis, as part of an experiential education program. How cool is that!?

Here she explains the process of making her skis:

“Each student had to make their skis from scratch. My skis are a mix of pine and maple and 165 centimeters. I cut the strips of wood, glued them together, and shaped the skis so that the tips would be thinner than the center. I cut strips of fiberglass to go on either side of the wood and P-tex (the stuff on the bottoms of all skis) in the shape of the ski, and then fit the metal edges around the P-tex. I chose a maple veneer for the top sheet, because I wanted the natural wood to show and to give the skis a more authentic feel.“

“Epoxy was used to glue the skis together and then they were put in an air press. After the skis were out of the press I had to cut them, shaping them like the P-tex bottoms, then sand them and give them a final coat of epoxy. I had to do all of these steps by myself.”

“Our teachers had the students design the graphics with computers, but I decided I wanted to try something new. I have a lot of folk art that my Danish grandmother gave me and I like the look of the simple elegance of the folk art style. Coming from the mountains, I decided I wanted to try to bring a real unique mountain feel to my skis. I wanted to make them like something that you would find in the border of a Jan Brett book.“

Tips

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“My grandmother’s sister married a German man and one of her daughters learned how to paint folk art. She happened to be visiting us over spring break and was more than happy to teach me the folk art painting technique called baurnmalerei, the peasant painting that originated in Bavaria. It was a little bit of a challenge mastering the strokes and the flowers, but once I decided on a pattern and got painting, it was extremely rewarding to see how my skis were going to turn out.”

“I decided to make telemark skis instead of alpine touring skis because I felt that telemark bindings would look better and more authentic with the paint. It may have been a rash decision as I had never telemarked before in my life and homemade skis may not have been the best way to learn, but I love an adventure.”

“I’m an International Baccalaureate Art student and I exhibited my skis in the IB Student Art show in Aspen and everyone loved them. It was funny though because there were be those who appreciated the painting, and then there were those who came over to flex the skis and inspect my craftsmanship. Either way though my skis got a thumbs up which was awesome!”

Tails

Photos: Pennie Rand

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4 comments on “Design Inspiration – Brianna’s Skis

  1. Pam Davis’s avatarPam Davis on said:

    I think your skis are wonderful. I have an Alpine house in my garden full of old ski’s that I have used starting from 1960 it is interesting to see the different shapes styles patterns over the years but yours are fantastic. I am off sking in 6 weeks to Kitzbuhel in Austria my favorite place for 53 years. All my ski’s etc. are left there every year.but it may b time now for them to return to the uk they will be hung on the ceiling with all the others.If you ever want to sell yours or make me a pair please e mail Have fun. Pam

  2. Brian Mohr’s avatarBrian Mohr on said:

    Absolutely beautiful skis!

  3. Hi Poppy – Just a heads up that I love reading your blog. I can’t wait to show my son – he’s a Junior in HS – this post. Ten to one I will have a pic of some custom skis to share with you, I know he’ll be inspired! Thx!

  4. Laura Watson’s avatarLaura Watson on said:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE these! Lived in Aspen for a few years, and man, that high school is amazing! Nice job Brianna! The painting reminds me of the same style my mom would use to paint wooden spoons in the seventies! She was really good at it, and I know theirs still some kicking around somewhere.

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