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10-22-2003, 10:46 AM #1
DB Skis, an interview with Cyrille Boinay
I had an interview with Cyrille from DB Skis for my (dutch) site. I thought I'd share the english version with you..
Who are the persons behind DB Skis?
> Stephan Drake and me (Cyrille Boinay)
How did you get into making skis in the first place?
> Out of skiing and travelling. We saw a void. Ski manufacturers weren't making the skis we wanted to be on, nor were they reflecting the lifestyle of the dedicated skier. Skiing has a strong lifestyle, and powder skiing is its own fertile subculture. There's so much energy in powder and the people who chase it around. We setout to create something special and worthy of that energy.
You make use of Carbon in your cores. What made you choose for carbon, since there's not a lot of other brands using it.
> Carbon is a superior material for making skis. It's half as light, but has twice the physical properties of fiberglass and aluminum. It's pretty
revolutionary, and brings ski construction into the 21st century. The downside of carbon is that it's expensive and tricky to work with. We want to build the best skis made and that means using the absolute best materials irrespective of cost.
What about quality? We heard a story about a ski being broken in 2 places during a test in Las Lenas?
> That ski was the beginning: the 3rd db prototype ever to come off the presses. It was from an unrefined mold, where temperatures were still
experimental, construction was different and featured less material. It was a test ski, and that's part of the R&D process. Since then, laminate and core thicknesses, kevlar, elastomer use, mold temperatures and skiability (torsion, flex, etc.) have all changed.
Customflex, how does it affect the overall performance of the ski? How do you know you don't accidentally create a whole different ski when playing with the flex-pattern?
> We don't actually play with flex pattern unless someone has something very specific in mind. There is a zone of flex pattern that works for each shape of ski and the application it is designed for. What we are doing is altering the overall longitudinal stiffness of the ski to accommodate the weight and style of the skier. You want a ski that the client can bend without compromising stability.
Is there an ideal length/weight/flex-ratio and if so, what is it?
> It's as much art as it is science. You develop a sense of how a ski needs to flex based on years of skiing and observing. The issues are the following: first, how much does the skier weigh and how tall are they? A heavy, tall guy is going to put more pressure into a ski then a lighter person given that they are the same ability and skiing at the same speed. However, a lighter skier with a really strong technical background can generate more power and torque then a heavy guy without the technique. You factor in those variables and add in the skier's speed and aggresiveness into the equation in order to fine tune length and flex.
The development and production of a ski seems a rather big task. What did you do the first time? How did you get started and what were problems along the way?
> Indeed, there is a tremendous amount that goes into it. You would think that a ski is a relatively simple thing to manufacture, but in reality
there is so much detail that goes into it. We partnered with Dave Goode, who already had the manufacturing side of things in place. He is a great guy, and builds water skis that hold both the men's and women's world records. He is also a former U.S. ski team member and understands skiing. He acquired much of Volant's Colorado factory when it shut down and began to apply the technology and materials used in his waterskis into snow skis. We teamed up to form db, and started from scratch in terms of design. 8 months of prototyping and testing later and here we are.
There seem to be a lot of smaller companies rising right now. Even Iggy is making a come back. What are your views on the smaller companies vs. the bigger companies and how are you planning on surviving against the big boys in this crowded market?
> The custom/boutique manufactures are starting to thrive, and it's a great thing for the sport. People who treat skiing as a lifestyle want a ski that is going to reflect their passion. We believe the ski should have an intimate connection to its owner. For people who take their skiing seriously, a mass-produced ski doesn't complete the triangle between ski, skier, and ski builder.
What makes your company different from all those other 'rider-driven' companies?
>I think our technology makes us different from the start. All the other companies are basically making wood cored skis with fiberglass laminates. There's nothing new there. Skis have been made that way for decades now. We have made a ski that is half as light, yet has twice the physical properties. When you think about it, that's a pretty huge performance jump, and it shows on snow. There are also soft factors. For example, we are committed to environmental activism as part of our founding vision.
Which model is the one you are most proud of?
> We have built a quiver of skis. Each shape has an application based on the mountain you are on and the snow conditions--- they all work to complement each other. It's all about powder though, and the Tabla Rasa shape is the sweetest thing you can put on your feet. When you try to make a ski of the Tabla's dimensions with traditional materials, it becomes ridiculously heavy. The Tabla is unique in that sense; lightweight combined with carbon's power in a huge ski--it even performs decently on the groomed runs. When you start sufring powder on a ski like that, it becomes a new sport. There is no ambiguity in terms of fore/aft balance. The level of creativity and freedom you gain is amazing.
Tabla Rasa Mold (photo : Oskar.Enander.com)
How can we get a hand on your skis in the Netherlands?
> Over our site (dbskis.com). We hand-build all our skis based on the customer's desired flex and top-sheet color choice. We then ship all over the world. For the Netherlands, there is an approximately a 2 week wait between placing an order and seeing your skis on your doorstep. For further information I will be more than glad to help you (email@example.com)
And yes, like all skis, DB skis are fieldtested, so here's some porn!
Cyrille @ Engelberg (foto : Oskar.Enander.com)
Stephan @ Engelberg (foto : Oskar.Enander.com)
Stephan & Cyrille @ Engelberg (foto : Oskar.Enander.com)
Last edited by AH; 10-22-2003 at 10:58 AM.
10-22-2003, 11:00 AM #2
Do they have a warrenty of a year or so? I could be considering a pair if they'll stand behind their product on it's first year release in case some unforseen problems arise. I guess I should email him.I.Q.=36
10-22-2003, 11:03 AM #3
I dunno, but mail em.. They're really nice and communicative towards everyone who's interested. I'm pretty interested myself (if only I had the cash)