We are a group of Navy engineers that started Kicker Snowsports last year during the sequester and we need your help financing the development of our next model of freeride skis. In exchange, we are offering you input into our design process as well as the skis you helped design!
Innovative product development:
We are closing the gap between the designer and the rider. We want your input throughout the design processes for our new model of freeride skis. In exchange we’ll provide you with a pair of skis that you helped design, and a community that wants and listens to your opinions.
What is a freeride ski?
Freeriding is a discipline of skiing performed on natural un-groomed terrain without a set course, goals, or rules. Freeride skis are meant for all terrains and allow you to ride wherever and however you choose. The most interesting aspect of designing a freeride ski is that it depends so much on what you want to do with it.
So what goes into designing a ski?
A lot! There are various materials, geometries (rocker/camber, length, sidecut, waist width, etc.), and flex patterns to consider. Don’t worry though, you won’t have to figure all of this out; we’ll handle the hard parts. We will take your ideas, suggestions, opinions, riding styles, and a bunch of other information, roll it up, and blend it into a ski design that is meant for you.
In a nut shell the typical design process works like this:
Customer requirements are determined; these requirements are weighted and correlated with engineering metrics; from these relationships and existing benchmarks, preliminary design variables are generated.
From the preliminary design variables, our custom-built design tools help us determine ideal relationships between the weighted variables, resulting in a few preliminary designs. These designs are discussed, debated, and finally narrowed into a prototype design.
We then manufacture a prototype! This is a fairly expensive process; a mold and templates have to be fabricated and materials prepped. Finally we test the prototype, both on the mountain and in the lab to make sure properties and geometry are what we want and work well together. It can take several cycles through this process to reach a finalized design.
Where do you come in?
We will be asking for your feedback throughout the processes in the form of surveys, polls, emails, and simple “do you like this?” questions. Where we will need the most help will be with the customer requirements, which will be entirely set by you and drive the design. We will taking all this information and combining it into a great ski design making sure all the elements fit together well.
There will be 3 weighted levels of input into the design. All three will have the same access, and be given the same questionnaires and surveys, etc., but the strength of your voice will differ:
Green (Basic input into the design process)
Blue (Full input into the design process)
Black (Elevated input into the design process)
We won't just disappear and show up with a product. You’ll be involved throughout the process, and you’ll have access to ask us as many questions as you want throughout.
Arguably one of the most important parts of the design! Like everything else your input, suggestions, and comments will go into the development of the graphics for this model. We will even be accepting your original art that you think would be awesome for consideration on a pair of skis.
We are a group of engineers working for (and furloughed from) the federal government. With a little more time on our hands and an idea to pursue our passion of skiing, we started a ski company based on the East Coast called Kicker Snowsports. Kicker is focused on bringing handcrafted quality and innovation to the world of snow sports.
We’ve been interested from the start in innovating how skis are designed and sold. We don’t want to be just another ski company that produces the same stuff as everyone else in the same factories.
With this in mind, we developed our KoreFlex technology: the solution to wanting customized skis without paying custom prices. KoreFlex lets you pick from 3 flex patterns (Softer, Regular, and Stiffer) that affect the feel and ride of the ski. We want you to feel right on your skis and the right flex is a big part of that. KoreFlex gives you the ride that matches your style.
We continue to break from the norm by being American made. Amazingly most ski companies (even the small startups and indie brands) manufacture their skis overseas in giant factories. We are and will always be American made. We are proud to be an American ski company that designs and builds our products here in the US right in the heart of the nation's capital.
The more funding raised the more options we can provide. With enough funding we will be able to give everybody what he or she wants:
$15,000 allows contributors to select from 2 lengths of skis with 3 Koreflex** options each
$17,000 allows contributors to select from 3 lengths of skis with 3 Koreflex** options each
$20,000 allows contributors to select from 4 lengths of skis with 3 koreflex** options each
**KoreFlex lets you pick from 3 flex patterns (Softer, Regular, and Stiffer) that affect the feel and ride of the ski.
All our skis come with a comprehensive 1 year warranty. We want to make sure you're satisfied with your skis, and we strive to make sure that happens.
Risks and challenges
We are using a fully engineered data driven approach to our design (in contrast to the hold your thumb up at it “that looks good to me” approach). Our first designs required a ton of research and development to create useful design tools and a quality product. We’re ready for what will be an exciting and eventful design cycle. We hope you are excited too!
With many Kickstarter campaigns the worry is "will this actually be completed?" A lot of that has to do with capability in dealing with manufacturers and taking a prototype to a final design. Since we manufacture our skis in house we have complete control of our entire production process. We are stocked with materials and ready to go.