Let’s start by saying that my ski situation is challenging — well, maybe “diverse” is a better word: not just in terms of what terrain I’m skiing, but where in the world I’m skiing. I call Steamboat Springs home, but work brings me to Japan and Argentina for nearly 1/3 of the year. This presents a unique challenge when I’m looking to buy a ski: days in Japan are cold and powder-choked (Custom Pow Skis would be ideal), while days in Argentina could be deep-powder-turned-sun-baked-chunder-to-groomers by Noon… maybe throw in some rain, ice, rocks and low-elevation bamboo to round out a truly Patagonian day. Top that off with sunny Spring days at my home-mountain in Steamboat (Frontside groomers and cocktails, anyone?) it’s easy to see where choosing a single ski might be challenging, if not impossible.

Obviously, having a multi-ski quiver seems like the logical solution, something I highly recommend if you have the means. But, remember when I said my situation is “challenging”? Yeah. That means broke. OK, not quite broke, but when your equipment budget is like $1200 (total, not per setup!), that means I’ve spent the last 8 years hacking together whatever’s left in the clearance bins online or mulling through last-years’ pro form leftovers (those sick 162cm junior shapes?) to acquire something that resembles a “quiver.” Enter Folsom Custom Skis.

Full Disclosure: I’m fortunate to count Max Tabor (Folsom Skis’ Business Operations Manager, or whatever other self-congratulatory title he puts on his card these days) as a friend and former colleague at SASS Global Travel. He’s a snarky New Englander in tight jeans who’s been living around the new breed of Denver hipsters for too long, but I try not to hold that against him. After a series of emails regarding my laughable budget (no, he wouldn’t give me anything for free) — he finally called me in the Fall to say that he’d found something in my price range (I assumed in a dumpster behind their production facility) to address my ski “challenges.” After first suggesting that I learn to ski better, he told me about the Folsom Skis TROPHY. It’s a nimble, quick-turning powder shape (perfect for lazy, indecisive skiers like me) with a rockered tip/tail, cambered underfoot and a seemingly unworldly ability to carve on groomers while floating, buttering and popping effortlessly off the mini-pillows that represent the upper limit of my “freestyle” abilities.

The change in performance over my shoddy bargain bin quiver of years past was immediately apparent. What were supposed to be custom powder skis behaved like a custom quiver of one. The ski showed its true potential in Japan’s endless powder, but proved its versatility on the front side in the challenging “low-tide” conditions of Colorado’s 17/18 season. In Japan, I put the TROPHY through the paces — and by paces, I mean slamming them into various Japanese maples that I found hidden under 12 feet of pow. I’m famously uncoordinated for someone who works in the action sports industry, as anyone who’s seen me ski (or walk) will tell you. But, this ski… almost made me look… good. Almost. And if it can do that for me, just imagine what it could do for you. Top that off with Folsoms’ custom ski construction, made-to-order specs and custom graphics/top sheets… I was realizing I’d spent the same amount buying (and destroying/selling) Chinese factory leftovers from other brands over the last four seasons when I should’ve just ordered a custom powder ski that was actually designed for me and worth keeping. Better yet, it supports a homegrown company that builds in the USA and does a great job at it.

I’ll come back with another review after I get some time with the TROPHY down in Patagonia — but despite my initial distrust of Max (and any ski that proclaims “jack of all trades” versatility), the TROPHY is just that: an all-mountain beast of a ski with a serious powder fetish. Check it out at FolsomSkis.com

~David Burg