In anecdote as in life, it pays to keep an eye out for the ‘little fella,’ which goes for the ski maker as well. Those dedicated craftsman & woman represent the root of snow industry, work to a personalized scale, and likely produce gear that changes the game.
SEGO SKI, born in the bosom of little Victor, Idaho is one such artisan firm. From the Alaska Range to the Southern Alps and Snowy Mountains, they’re carving deep tracks upon the world’s biggest winter stages, while remembering it’s really all about fun.
These days there are upward of a dozen boutique ski manufacturers scattered across the globe, and each strives mightily to create a fine product. Where SEGO seemingly stands apart is the company’s priority upon fine experience, thanks to quality product.
This is where the brothers Wells come in, two outside-the-box siblings with a vision to create planks inspired by the ski day itself. Better still, Peter and Tim Wells had the foresight (as well as good fortune) to cultivate a team which, collectively, turned that founding vision into the ski that’s topped the podium of the Freeride World Tour.
Where each SEGO SKI is born is a manufacturing facility that’s all in-house. A visit there finds the crew assembled and hard at work, but never too busy to roll out the welcome mat–which is a solid indicator that their emphasis is indeed upon experience.
Inspired, designed, and manufactured among the natural architecture of the Teton Mountains, each SEGO model is example of the possibilities in sustainable, affordable, community-conscious skiing. And it certainly can’t hurt that SEGO’s QC lab is the staggering terrain waiting just beyond the factory door. To wit, the SEGO’s game plan is to put knowledgeable people in-country and allow skiing in the name of fun to do the rest.
“It’s a magic mix, one that combines an artist’s attention to detail with a manufacturer’s work ethic for repetition.” These words roll from behind the beard of Ronald A. Murray Jr, SEGO’s lead when it comes to Technician of equipment, Production…or Introspection.
Ron moves amongst the machines of the shop floor with accustomed patience and a practiced hand which is rivaled only by his ear—the guy’s playlists are killer.
“In SEGO’s case, the magic is parts refined design and incorporating top-shelf everything to construct a quality ski–by hand–with only a few people,” he said.
Ron’s words are bold. But the proof is in the product. Australia’s Blackbird-Bespoke noticed early on. The South Melbourne firm is a centerpiece for the indie ski movement growing across Australasia. And they carry SEGO. The Bespoke founders, like SEGO’s own athletes, have described themselves to be seeking the pinnacle ski experience across the breadth of the sport’s disciplines. And feel that they’ve found it in a down-home ski hub straight outta the Tetons.
“A few years back, I tried SEGO at an Alta demo,” said Clare Chapman, lady ripper for the SEGO squad, “I immediately fell in love with the way that it skied.”
Between her ‘Ski the East’ root and her current residence among the mountains of Utah, Clare’s seen more of shred culture than her 24 years might suggest. She says she trusts SEGO to value people–and skiing—whatever the conditions.
“I’m on the Big Horn. I trust them off cliffs, in fresh pow, in chopped-up crud, and everything in between. And on top of having loved their skis from the beginning, SEGO speaks to one of my favorite aspects of skiing: giving off strong vibes of fun, family, and embracing community.”
What Clare’s talking about is a downhill line-dance between snow, gravity, and people—on what SEGO SKI CO. intends to be the industry’s longest-living product. It’s a goal that likely has no ‘endpoint’ yet the company strives for it in every step (or steep) along the journey.
Sourcing materials to meet the highest possible standard, each and every ski the company manufactures is a 100% in-house labor of love.
SEGO keys upon in-destruct-O sidewalls of ultra high molecular weight polyethylene, vertical lamination, acclaimed ‘freeride base structure pattern.’ and tip-to-tail poplar core. Their method even factors-in waste reduction techniques—and the result is tangible. The scrap footprint from SEGO is reduced to a minimum. In fact, it’s likely that the deepest trace a ski leaves is the track trailing behind.
“Skiing fast downhill is where it all starts—I mean, that’s not a scenario where you’re having a bad time.” Peter Wells enters the conversation in a congenial cloud of sawdust and rumination. As Founder, Designer, and Production Lead at SEGO, Peter—like his brother Tim–is joyfully immersed in his work and happy to share it.
“We’re working in the minutia of details to find how to make going fast downhill more fun,” he said.
Shape plays a big part in that quest. And this too is 100% in-house. Central to the process is the notion of creative progression—daydream, tinker, and (of course) keep it fun.
“We’re big on inspiration,” Peter said. “What are we doing now? What ideas do we have; what are our peers doing?”
“It’s so important (& awesome) to get out and test, take notes, and then bring all that back to design.”
Hallmarks of a SEGO experience are rocker’d profiles, camber underfoots, and wide shovels that pair well powder grins. The Big Horn, specifically, balances an obliging soft, nearly-symmetrical tip/tail with bow-taunt power that strengthens toward the Underfoot, and all in a delightfully lightweight package.
As a representation of the SEGO cadre, Big Horns are playful—bordering on mischievous—but best believe they snap-to when it’s time to fire.
Flex like you mean it, and the Big Horn turns on a knife-sharp dime. Find yourself reclined in the fat, floaty deep and their poplar core responds with the support of a bucket seat. The Big Horn’s reduced weight and versatile profile adds extra spice to any given sequence as a matter of course. If its bumps, you’ll likely find yourself airing them. If it’s a straight, then that line begins and ends ‘tips down.’ Even noodling the beginner’s slope with the micro-groms evolves naturally into butters and hijinks, switch.
Grabin’ It By The Big Horns:
-6.5cm tip/tail height with 35cm tip/tail Rocker
-4mm Camber underfoot
-length range: 139cm to 193cm
-grams per ski scale: 1000 to 2275
-turn radii from 9 to 23
“As an example from our line, Big Horn is an athlete-driven ski,” Peter said. “It balances customization of what’s working for our athletes yet making it relatable and functional for your skiing public—which usually doesn’t take away from that top end of it.”
“As the ski has evolved, it’s really become a quiver-killer; easy to edge, really fun in the air, and a natural fit for an aggressive or relaxed style.”
“They’re kinda just a choose-your-own-adventure ski,” he said.
Skiers around the world have quickly turned-on to this la carte SEGO plank. The Big Horn is the best-selling model in the company stable, the ski that according to SEGO’s market spin doctor, Abbot Gilbane was a “game changer” for the delightfully disruptive slider inside all of us.
The sky’s the limit regarding where things could go from here yet, despite all the details, what still pleases SEGO SKI CO most is to simply carve one line more.
By P.M. Fadden