By Bryce Borlick
On a quiet backstreet in Revelstoke, light radiates gently from the window of a busy little woodworking shop, illuminating the falling snow. Inside, Darryl Ross inspects a newly completed pair of custom skis and lays out some of the philosophy behind his business.
“When you create something special, something that’s tailored to someone’s specific needs, they’ll hang onto it forever,” he says.
It’s an interesting addendum to the well-known mantra of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ — a coveted item is rarely replaced before its time.
“And this particular pair is gonna be pure joy to ski on,” he adds.
Daryl Ross makes hand-crafted skis under the moniker of Bigbend. They’re for skiers who want something that’s simply not available off the shelf.
It was a natural evolution for Darryl, combining his background in architectural technology and carpentry with his passion for skiing. After a brief internship at Ullr Skis, Darryl put together the necessary tooling and crafted his first prototypes in 2010.
In the year that followed, he honed his processes and turned out 46 pairs of custom skis — a humble but auspicious beginning.
Community engagement has always been integral to Bigbend Skis. In those formative years, Bigbend received support from the Kootenay Rockies Innovation Council, Columbia Basin Trust, and from countless individuals in the Revelstoke area.
As a token of his gratitude, Darryl instituted his Graphics That Give program that has donated partial proceeds to non-profit organizations like the Revelstoke Museum and Archives and the CAA’s Youth Avalanche Education Program.
But what sets Bigbend skis apart? “I’ve got a ‘keep it simple’ motto. Get the construction basics right and focus on the design details that the customer will notice.”
Although this sounds simple, you’ll still find every bit of carbon-reinforced quadraxial technology that the big corporations offer, it’s just served up with a little less marketing jargon and a little more soul.
Nowadays, Darryl produces roughly 100 pairs of custom skis annually, some in partnership with Mica Heliskiing as a unique gift to clients who have skied with the prestigious outfit for more than 10 years.
Looking to the future, Darryl has ambitious plans to streamline his manufacturing and expand his product offering. Coming down the pipeline are lightweight touring-specific skis as well as skis with set specs that will be offered at a lower price point, allowing more skiers to source their equipment locally.
Despite this big step forward, Darryl remains committed to making the best skis possible, one at a time.
As the evening wears on, our conversation wanders and we watch the rapidly accumulating snow set us up for some great skiing in the morning. Ultimately, this is what it’s all about.
When you invest in a pair of Bigbend skis, Daryl invests time in you, because that’s the only way to create such a tailored product. You know the guy who builds your skis and he knows you too.
In a world of rampant consumerism and offshore production, its refreshing to see someone doing things right, right here on a quiet backstreet in Revelstoke.
This article was first published in the January issue of the free Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.
Correction: In the January print issue, we named the wrong heliskiing company that Bigbend partners with for their customer appreciation skis. It is in fact Mica Heliskiing.