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No two skis are alike

No two skis are alike

No two skis are alike

In the small community of Buch, brothers Marcel and Patrick Eberle construct their own skis. For the region’s major ski resorts, they produce their own special skis tailored to the resorts of Damüls-Mellau, Diedamskopf and Warth-Schröcken.

These days, Marcel and Patrick Eberle also offer workshops for those keen to learn how to build their own skis. The focus at their workshop is having fun building things together. No prior knowledge is necessary. Just arrive with plenty enthusiasm for the project!

Marcel and Patrick Eberle sit comfortably out front of the old Schneiderkopf inn. Squinting into the warm sun, they enjoy views of the diminutive Schneiderkopf ski resort with its two lifts. The slopes lead to the centre of the village of Buch. As children, the brothers learned to ski here from their father Werner Eberle, who was a passionate ski instructor.

Way back then, the Schneiderkopf inn still belonged to their grandparents. Where they now sit, there were once benches and tables for the family’s guests. Today, the two brothers own the inn. But instead of housing tables for guests, there are wooden presses, workbenches and shelves with iron edging, coverings and carbon composite laminate. The fantastic views of the Pfänder mountain have remained the same to this day, but the focus is now on ski production rather than hospitality.

The story of how ski production in Buch came to be

The genesis of the Eberle brothers’ ski company was anything but fast-paced. For their father’s sixtieth birthday, they were on the lookout for a very special gift. But it was only after the party that Marcel Eberle thought of the perfect present: a ski-making course. In the end, however, it was the brothers who travelled to Innsbruck to learn to build skis. The workshop provided them with ample inspiration.

On the ride back, they decided to build their own skis as a business. “The ideas were just flowing in the car back on the way home,” recalls Patrick Eberle. When the Schneiderkopf inn closed its doors and their grandparents retired, the property offered plenty of space to serve as a workshop. If the dream of building skis was ever to come true, the time had come: “There were no more excuses left!” laughs Marcel Eberle. After taking over the inn, everything went like clockwork: reconstruction works began and the machines and materials were delivered soon after. Eventually, the two tinkered with their first ski prototypes and discovered that many of their unusual ideas were not as easy to implement as they had thought. But with practice and “semi-scientific methods,” as Marcel Eberle recalls, the pair designed and produced better and better skis.

After two years of intensive work, they finally opened their very own ski company. The first results are proudly displayed in their workshop. And yet that which is built in this workshop today is miles better than their original designs. The cores of the skis are made from ash or poplar wood, as these two wood types quickly return to their original shapes after stress. The cores are glued and pressed on site – with great attention to detail: “We make sure that the growth rings of the cores are aligned with each other. In addition, the cores of the skis are now made from wood that we chop down ourselves. We, of course, pay attention to the correct phases of the moon for felling and storing the wood,” explains Marcel Eberle, a trained graphic designer. The rest of the materials, such as carbon composite laminate, epoxy, titanal, coverings and edging, are sourced by the brothers from major suppliers. “In terms of the materials, there’s actually not a lot of choice. Globally, skis are a niche product.

As a result, we use many of the same materials as our ‘big brother’ Head in Kennelbach.” The big difference to other ski producers: Customers have a choice of designs and characteristics. The first step is a consultation with the customer that includes custom conception according to their wishes.

Once personal preferences such as terrain or radius have been determined through experience and test runs with different models, you can either have the ski made by the two brothers for around 1,090 euros or build it yourself in the workshop for 890 euros. “The workshop experience is all about having fun in a casual atmosphere. After all, the anticipation amongst customers is great while working,” says Marcel Eberle, describing the mood during the construction phase. No prior knowledge is needed for the workshop, but for the conception phase at the beginning of the work process, it is an advantage to have a rough idea of what you want. “In the end, you should have a ski that is perfectly matched to your preferences and looks super cool!”

The right skis for different ski resorts

Marcel and Patrick Eberle complement each other in terms of advising and constructing the skis: While Marcel the graphic designer is more responsible for the look of the skis themselves, Patrick, who works for an optician, is more concerned with the technical implementation. When skiing, the pair also have different tastes: Marcel likes the off-piste adventure, while Patrick mostly stays on the slopes. These preferences are also reflected in their choices of ski resorts and skis: Marcel prefers to go to Damüls-Mellau or to the Diedamskopf ski resorts. “There are easily accessible slopes in the area for skiing in powder snow ever since the merger of the Damüls-Mellau ski resorts!” he says happily.

With his 9-year-old son, he prefers to practice off-piste skiing and the use of avalanche transceivers. “I like to take my all-mountain skis to Damüls-Mellau. They aren’t as good on the slopes, but they’re wider than normal skis and therefore provide a lot of lift in the powder snow.” When he wants to enjoy the slopes, however, he heads to the Diedamskopf ski resort: “The transitions from slope to slope are simply wonderful at Diedamskopf and gliding over the slopes is a dream.” For such times, Marcel prefers a ski with shorter radius. “Patrick likes skiing on the slopes better than I do,” says Marcel in describing his brother’s skiing style. His brother nods in agreement. “When I go skiing, I head to Warth-Schröcken, which is a super ski resort with amazing slopes!” Small wonder that Warth-Schröcken is the resort where he feels most at home skiing with his “Geile-Siachar-Ski” (Awesome Dude Skis), which he describes as ideal on-piste skis for advanced skiers. “These are agile, powerful skis with a small radius. They are ideal for carving if you have enough space, which is definitely the case in Warth-Schröcken!” Marcel and Patrick Eberle’s children are also passionate skiers.

Unsurprisingly, the next generation of the Eberle family have already made their own skis as well.

“My little daughter Fina came to me one afternoon while I was designing skis and told me she wanted skis with horses on them. No problem I told her, so we started designing her skis together. The horses morphed into unicorns on a pink background. Even my son Niklas is now skiing on homemade skis too!” says Marcel with a measure of pride. The two brothers used the down time during the Covid-19 pandemic to tinker. They now have their very own binding featuring the ski company’s branding.

Going forward, the pair want to tackle the issue of regionality: they have already felled their first trees in their hometown of Buch for use in their ski cores, and they are using local beechwood instead of exotic wood for the veneers used to produce the wooden look. But Marcel Eberle want to take things one step further: “I hope that at some point we will be able to build a ski that, when finished, is able to cover more kilometers on the slopes than the individual parts did before they became a ski.”

Author: Hannah Greber
Issue: Winter 2021-22 Travel Magazine