Adam Sherman makes Igneous skis. He lives in a van in the parking lot of Igneous world headquarters. The Igneous artist, Mike, sleeps in a box in the factory. They hand craft about 600 pairs a year. More importantly, they make a tele ski. We asked Adam a few questions and here's what he had to say.
Descender: Do you ride tele? Tell us about the Pinner.
Adam: Yes, I do ride tele. The pinner is my design. I ride it in a 200cm length, round telemark flex, 260 volume core. It is a great stick for a big turn. The four ellipses collapse into a single arc telemark turn. Physics: there is more force built up at the end of your turn; therefore, you need less sidecut in the tail to achieve the same radius you have commenced upon in your turn. Laymen: the drop leg ski does not hook at the tip and rail uphill nor does it hook at the tail and thrust the uphill ski under the downhill boot. 80mm under the foot is excellent both on and off piste, in variable conditions and even on the steeps.
D: Did you wake up one morning and decide to change the face of ski design?
I did not wake up and think I was a great ski designer. I took a handful of mushrooms in Vegas and saw everyone making their own snowboard 6 years ago when there was a snowboard industry and thought I could make some skis in my garage. No one else was producing a ski I wanted to ride. I wanted to make a ski that had all the performance you get from a race room ski in a durable product. I was not certain I was the man for the job, however, I gave it my best shot. I would say, today, Igneous produces the ski I sought.
D: Is the fat lady singing?
Fat is where it is at. Every next generation of ski we make has more surface area. The fat board opens terrain to new styles of riding. The Igneous fat board is rowdy because it is a sandwich laminate, maple wood core race ski that is fat. It is a wild ride. The 200 fat is getting the name 'leg breaker'. 2 of our top riders have torn knee ligaments and one chipped his femur. The board takes you to the next level... ready or not.
D: Is there enough room in Mike's box for guests?
I don't answer questions about Mike's box.
D: Why Igneous? Volcano worship? Geology major?
Igneous: from molten lava to solid rock. It has been a marketing nightmare/stoke of creative genius since the get go. Everyone mispronounces it, misspells it and does not know the difference between igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. If they pass those tests; most ask how it relates to skiing. People have to know why, I guess, whatever. It is Igneous and Igneous rocks. "Are you guys ingenious?"
D: Why start your own ski company?
Designing and Manufacturing your own ride rules. It kicks ass. This is the fourth generation and they get better and better all the time. The reason I keep making skis is the damn thing rocks now and it could be better. The relentless pursuit of the perfect ride. That is the religion of Igneous. We extend that experience to any rider. Everyone has a chance to design the ski custom to where they like to ride, their turn style, weight and aggression level. All the rider needs do: look for the sweet conditions on a pitch they want to ride... the perfect turn. And once you have achieved that turn you know there is out there better yet. It is true rapture to chase something you can taste and know you will never catch. Day to day, I get a lot of joy from people smiling while skiing on Igneous. Did I mention I have a contract with the god of schushbooming where I get a commission of everyone's happiness. So, I've got that going for me, which is nice.
D: What did you ride before the birth of the Pinner?
I broke and bent the best of the best. I felt bad and still do. They were all great skis I was a hack and still am. If I just knew how to be more subtle, more correct in form, my skis would survive. Good thing there is Igneous.
D: How did you feel when you rolled the first Igneous off the line?
The first skis on the hill. It is exciting for everyone else. I wonder how the right brothers felt smashing their first bicycle with wings. My memory of it was that I had a lot of work to do. Other people have this view of a beaming smile and glorious rays of light and shit. It was at night on the icy town hill. Ran some gs gates and wanted to go back and make some changes immediately. I would not say disappointing, not that far down the scale. I was encouraged by the fact that is was a ski, just short of what I wanted to ride. I guess it gave me something to do for the next 5 years.
D: Is there a team Igneous?
There is a team Igneous. We have many people we give skis to for various reasons. But they are not the whole team. It takes everyone who rides Igneous to keep the stoke alive. Igneous does not support or promote the rock star image. Skiing is all about enjoying yourself. It is an expression of who we are. Igneous does not sponsor riders: Igneous enables people to ride for themselves.
D: Step in tele binding. Do you care?
The new step in binding. I don't know: lock me and keep me locked. I am usually not in a rush to get my gear on and off. I try to ski where other people are not around. I am all for new and better but I don't carry a cell phone either.
D: Where do you hold board meetings?
Board meetings are for bored rooms. It is critical to ones sanity that work is kept separate from skiing. There are times that you are testing skis or skiing with clients. That is not skiing. You may be out there surrounded by people in winter clothes with skis and boots on, sliding down hill; but unless you are riding your line, it is not skiing. You are only skiing when you are riding your line, expressing yourself and enjoying. It is interesting we participate in groups, at times, but I know that happiness is very contagious.
D: Anything else?
I hope this was entertaining and perhaps useful. Thanks for the interest and the publicity. It keeps the Igneous stoke machine smoking and rolling.
D: Thanks Adam!
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