VALHALLA Ski – nice to know. More and more independent ski brands are hitting the scene. One of them is VALHALLA Ski from Freiburg in Germany. I had the opportunity to talk with Frederic Andes, the founder and creative mastermind behind the brand.
VALHALLA Ski – passion for the outdoors
NICE TO SKI YOU: Freddi, how did you start skiing?
I was around 3-4 years old as I started skiing in a kids ski course. When I was a really young kid I faced a lot of bronchial issues and my family and I spent a lot of time in Davos, Switzerland. Somehow this gave me the opportunity to ski a lot of days during winter. I have always been fascinated by snow, mountains and winter. Later I learned Snowboarding and did this for a while before I got into touring. Splitboards at that time have been very rare so I switched back to skiing and did both a lot. During my time at the university I tried to catch as many days in snow as possible, which went out perfectly thanks to the black forest and the swiss alps at the door steps.
NICE TO SKI YOU: Do you have a ski idol?
I am really impressed by Mike Douglas, he is a kind of an idol. As he is not the youngest anymore but still tries to progress in his style and did a lot of crazy stuff in the past and now. I really love Salomon FreeskiTv since a lot of years and really appreciate his work on that.
NICE TO SKI YOU: What does skiing mean to you?
I really love skiing, I mean everyday in my life is somehow filled with skiing. Whether it is designing new skis, building them or taking them to a test ride. I still try to get as many ski days as possible with a little one man start up company and a young child, this is not an easy task. What I like the most is ski touring in the backcountry with friends. Sitting in a Van after a long day in the snow, cooking a nice meal and having a beer while telling old and new stories is the best.
NICE TO SKI YOU: When did you decide to start your own ski brand?
Around ten years ago I started building skis for myself and a couple of friends. 2017 I began to develop a light and wide freetouring ski with a friend. This ski turned out really nice. After skiing them he was the one who motivated me to start a business on that base. At the very beginning we worked together on VALHALLA Ski but soon he got a new job and had no time anymore. And so I went on solo.
NICE TO SKI YOU: What makes VALHALLA skis special?
I manufacture all Skis and Snowboards by hand. Supported by a CNC and a couple of machines which I built to make the process easier. I really want to have the best quality available and I focus on a sustainable production and use of materials. Which means that I use an eco-friendly epoxy, flax fibers wherever possible, try to reduce waste and build only small quantities. Besides that I focus on light and highly engineered skis. Furthermore every ski or snowboard has a strong focus on backcountry use.
VALHALLA Ski – manufacturing style meets highest quality and nice designs
NICE TO SKI YOU: Could you tell us about the VALHALLA ski range 2020/21?
There is a lot of new stuff for the next season. The Freetouring/Light Freeride Ski Line got minor improvements. More dampening in the nose, a softer edge tune and optimized mounting point. The widest ski in the lineup is the 115, this one is meant for touring on deep powder days. It’s very light regarding to it’s mid width and it’s a very surfy and playful ski.
The next thinner is the 104 which is a bit more of an everyday every conditions Ski. It has the same shape and rocker-camber-profile as the 115 but due to its smaler waist it’s better on groomers and hardpack. Both models are available in three length and with SMOC Core (an inhouse developed core made out of ash, paulownia, cork and bamboo) which makes the ski light and well dampened and on the other hand with a bamboo core for more pop and an even more playful behaviour.
In the same lineup is the 92 which does also share shape and rocker-camber-profile but has a different fiber layup. Instead of a carbon dominated layup and a little flax fibres, this model has as much flax fibers as possible with a little bit of carbon to ensure a long product lifetime and a nice pop.
Besides that there is an all new all mountain lineup. The first release in this is the ALLMNT 95. A super duper high speed stable on and off piste ski. Weightwise, still good enough to occasionally tour, but meant to ski the gnar and ski it fast. It’s a modern shape that is still easy to turn and carving with this one is super fun. Thanks to the fat nose the powder performance is on point. The ALLMNT 95 is somewhere between a freeride and a race carving ski. This one will also be available in three lengths.
Besides that I developed a powder specific directional Snowboard, the TABULA RASA which will be available in 160 cm. It’s a speedstable but surfy board with a long and fat nose and a short tail. Besides it´s excellent powder performance this board gives you a lot of confidence in deep carving turns on groomers. It will soon be available in a splitboard version.
Find out the latest news. Visit VALHALLA Ski website!
NICE TO SKI YOU: Do you have any advice for skiers who are looking for a free ride ski?
It really depends on personal preferences. If you are most likely aiming to earn your turns you better take a light ski set to save your energy for the descent. It really matters. Our 115 is a really good option for skiers looking for a light and surfy freeride ski. But even if you spend most of your skiing days in a ski resort, a light ski is a very good option, it lets you ski more effortlessly.
If you aim for high speed and speed stability you better take a stiff yet heavier ski like our ALLMNT 95.
NICE TO SKI YOU: What’s your favorite ski area?
I really like the Bregenzerwald region. Damüls is always a good option. My favorite spot for ski touring is definitely Tessin in Switzerland. And of course If I aim for endless slopes, Davos is my all time favour. And you may not believe how many excellent skiing days I had in the black forest.
NICE TO SKI YOU: What is next for you?
Expanding my product range. And of course I hope for a couple of good powder days this season.
NICE TO SKI YOU: Thanks for the interview, Freddi!
VALHALLA Ski – nice to know. All infos HERE
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