Liebe Skii – handmade with love. Ever heard of someone learning to ski on their own handmade skis? Sounds weird? But that’s how it was with Gavin Bufton! Gavin is the founder of the Australian ski brand Liebe Skii and discovered his love for skiing late in life. For this he puts his great know-how as an industrial designer all the more intensively and passionately into his brand, which is a pearl among all customized ski brands. I had the opportunity to interview Gavin to learn a little more about Liebe Skii. Thanks for that, mate!
5 questions to Gavin Bufton, founder of Liebe Skii
As an Austrian, I love your brand name, what’s the story behind it?
Firstly thank you for taking the time to interview us and I’m glad our name resonates well with a native German speaker such as yourself. It’s a bit of a long story, but here goes;
I spent a decade in China devoted to my design career. While many designers do factory visits, I had a unique experience of working directly with factories as they produced my designs. I saw how small design and material decisions can directly influence the quality and environmental impact of the finished product.
When I returned to Melbourne in 2015, I wanted to apply that experience to something I was truly passionate about; designing high quality and long lasting products. As for the brand name itself, in the early 90’s my family hosted Marcus, a German exchange student. He became a real family member and we are still close to this day. I got to know some German words and the word Liebe (love) sounded special somehow, carrying that strong message of following your passions doing what you love. The result: Liebe Skii.
You are located in Melbourne, Australia. When did you start skiing?
My skiing career started in 2015 when I came back to Australia from China. It sounds crazy, but as a mountain lover I started designing skis right after my very first skiing experience, making the first few prototypes ready for the next season where I really began learning to ski.
When did you decide to start your own ski brand?
By 2016 and ‘17 we had already made a few more prototypes developing the product and improving them rapidly, it was then that I started toying with the idea of starting my own ski brand. After quite a lot of design and material development, together with setting up a ski specific design and manufacturing lab, we launched Liebe Skii in 2020. Our vision is that well made products tailored to specific needs will outperform and outlast all others.
How important is sustainability for you?
Über important!! Sustainability is a significant issue for us. Since the materials used for skis take millennia to break down naturally, Liebe Skii products are made to last far longer than mass manufactured skis by using high performing aerospace grade materials and removing unnecessary plastics from the production. We use a thicker base material than the industry standard, increasing durability and longevity. We also use bamboo in our ‘thru core’ removing the traditional plastic tip & tail filler as well as the plastic sidewalls as an example. Bamboo is the fastest-growing terrestrial plant on the planet. And we’re not just using it for sustainability, it also has some amazing properties that enable our skis to have a very lively feel, creating a high energy ski with lots of pop. All details about materials can be found on our website https://liebeskii.com/about/
How to order a Liebe Skii?
It all starts by visiting our website https://liebeskii.com/custom/ where you can choose from our range of skis or custom options. We also have an introduction form to capture our customer’s physical attributes, skiing style & performance targets, it is important to fill this out before booking in a consultation. The next step is to get in contact to book in a consultation where we discuss and review ski options and ensure we have all the right data in order for us to create a perfect custom design. If you happen to be in Melbourne, then that is in our studio, although with the majority of our clients that happens either online or over the phone, at a time that suits them.
While all our skis are built to order, they can range from completely bespoke or what we call our core range, a series built for specific conditions. All of our skis have their stiffness tailored to the individual customer’s performance target before they hit the press; soft for a more playful and forgiving ski or stiffer for more aggressive riding and stability at speed and everything inbetween.
For anyone who is wanting a full custom bespoke ski, we extrapolate the specific requirements of the customer and design a unique product for their exact requirements. These include ski length, stiffness, waist width, turning radius, twin-tip or rocker/camber options. We have a few steps that assist with the design development and ordering process.
Thanks Gavin for the interview!
NICE TO SKI YOU
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