When the idea of ON3P Skis was born in April of 2006, I was finishing up my spring finals as a sophomore at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. Somewhat disappointed with a recently-received pair of custom skis, I began kicking around the idea of trying to start making skis myself. After a bit of research and discussions with other skiers I trusted, I knew two things: it was going to take a lot of time and a lot of money to produce skis that would truly make me happy. Even so, the idea of getting to use skis that I designed and produced was just too alluring to ignore.
From there, I began to research the ski building process, the equipment I would need to complete the process, and the materials used throughout. The project was given the name ON3P Skis (Oh-Ehn-Three-Pea) after the names of the cross streets of the house I lived at in Tacoma (Thirteenth and Proctor = ON(e) 3 P). I also began to get more people involved in the design process; it was important to me that the skis I made could be enjoyed by anyone. Then, over that summer, I began saving up money and made ON3P’s first big purchase: the steel for our ski press.
If you really want to punish yourself for the next six months, design a seriously over-complicated, bolted together ski press. Our first press was just that. This single-bay, single-wide ski press was held together by over 150 ½” grade 8 bolts, some of which were 7” long and passed through 3 different layers of steel. While the process was far from enjoyable at time, it taught me a great deal about design, execution, and the dedication a project like this was going to take. But when all was said and done, I now had the means to make any type of skis I desired.
However, finishing the ski press frame was only one step in the processing of preparing to make our skis. ON3P’s progress was constantly hindered by money and available time. The cost of power tools and materials started to grow exponentially; as did the time I was dedicating towards school. Being a full time student did not afford me much expendable income or a lot of free time. There were many months where the only progress that could be made on ON3P was to buy a single power tool; we then had to wait until the next month to buy our next piece of equipment. Combined with balancing college, skiing, any semblance of a social life, and my sanity, it took ON3P quite a long time to get to a point where some level of production was possible. In some ways that was beneficial; our original order of 7 pairs had grown to over 50 pairs of skis.
By the time I was truly ready for production, I had moved, constructed a completely new “factory” in my 220 square foot garage, finished a 10-month long senior thesis, graduated college, developed our manufacturing process, and pressed a few pairs of skis. I had also, more importantly, met a ton of skiers who wanted to see ON3P succeed just as badly as I did; these individuals did everything they could to see it happen, including coming to live on my couch for weeks at a time to help while we pressed skis. These people know who they are, and I will forever be grateful for their support and efforts to get ON3P up and running.
Throughout the 2008-2009 ski season, our skis were heavily tested all over North America and the positive feedback we received reaffirmed our commitment to officially launching ON3P skis as an independent ski company. While the slow economy ensured the transition from a garage-builder to a full fledged ski manufacturer was a difficult one, we have been able to get up and running and can’t wait to get our new skis out to skiers around the world. For me, nothing is better than hearing that someone has had the best day of their season while on a pair of ON3P skis. I hope you are able to have the same experience on our skis for years to come.