Simply stoked to ski, Sheldon Steckman moved from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Whistler when he was 18 years old. He had been skiing smaller local hills, but with high school complete, it was time to graduate to a bigger mountain. It was the 2000-’01 winter season and all he wanted to do was ride.
“I had skied powder before, but I didn’t know about full-on big powder days or pro skiers yet,” Steckman said.
Now, 13 years later, Steckman is well versed in both of those subjects. As the founder and owner of Garywayne Skis – the biggest, fattest, craziest looking skis you’ve probably ever seen – Steckman is a Whistler staple.
“No shit, you’ve got Garywayne’s in the house,” Ian McIntosh said, spotting a pair in the corner of the TGR office that Steckman sent for us to try. “Those are my boy Sheldon’s skis. Sick.”
Garywayne skis feature omnidirectional technology: full rocker, full reverse sidecut, and a convex base. They’re 180cm long with a 180mm waist, and are basically shaped like big, fat, giant doobies.
By now, most powder skiers have tried reverse camber, or rocker. And most powder skiers have at least seen reverse side cut. Few powder skiers, however, have tried a convex base. Steckman says the convex base, or side-to-side rocker, lets you roll over from edge to edge on such a fat ski more easily. It also keeps the leading edge off the snow and free from catching anything during a turn or drift in powder.
And that’s what’s special about Garywayne skis, or any ski with this type of shape – you get to do the coolest, smoothest, loosest, drift turn that you rarely experience on traditional skis. Steckman says he came up with the concept of the shape shortly after skiing Aramada’s ARG in 2007.
“The ARG lets you have a peak at all the angles that are now open to you,” Steckman said. “The Garywaynes let you hangout in that sideways position in powder. It adds an extra dimension of enjoyment.”
The name means nothing, which is the funniest part. There is no Gary, and there is no Wayne. Gary and Wayne are just names Sheldon and his friend used to call each other when they were messing around.
Steckman currently makes two models of skis, the original Garywayne and the Powder Mountain edition. The powder mountain edition features a slightly less extreme-doobie shape. The powder mountain edition is a bit easier for person who has never skied a ski like this – which is most people.
Angus M. Thuermer
Angus M. Thuermer
“People who have skied the ARG and liked it will like the Garywayne,” Sheldon said. “Others who have not should try the Powder Mountain Edition.”
TetonGravity.com office jockeys took both the original Garywayne and the powder mountain edition out for a spin on Teton Pass on one of the deeper powder days of the 2012-13 season – February 23.
We skied the Northeast ridge of Mount Glory in primo powder conditions. Clicking in on the hardpack on the wind-blown summit and feeling the strange convex base made for an uneasy feeling, but as soon as we hit the powder, it was apparent that we had chosen the proper tool for the day. Slashing down the ridge through the trees we couldn’t help but giggle the whole way. We even hit a few airs, much to our enjoyment.
“Powder ninjas,” I kept thinking to myself. They felt very nimble through the trees. They truly are omnidirectional in deep snow.
However, staying on a traverse was difficult. I actually stepped out of a defined traverse at one point just because it felt so weird skiing these skis outside of untracked snow. In fresh snow, though, you can do anything – ANYTHING! The pointy tips and tails allow you to “feather” turns. Often I wondered, “Why aren’t more skis like this?”
If you’re looking for the funkiest, most fun powder ski out there, look no further than Garywaynes. For those who like to rip the mountain sideways, Steckman is now making powder surfboards.
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