Moment Skis, based out of the anti-ski town of Reno, Nevada, since 2004, has been doing things a little bit differently for a while now. Most readily spotted by their signature square tips and tails, the practice started when founder Casey Hakonsson squared the tips on his homemade skis so his friends would actually believe he built them himself. Moment brings more of a punk attitude to the ski scene, with dystopian graphics created by a family of forward-thinking artists, punk bands and PBR at their SIA booth, and hand-made product built in the casino backwater of Reno with a curious mix of American laborers using largely American materials. We sat down with Luke Jacobson, Moment’s Vice President, Engineer, and Art Director, to get a feel for how things are done at Moment.
How Moment Does Manufacturing
1) Pick out full-length (6-foot) wood cores, consisting of sustainably-forested Aspen, pine, and ash woods.
2) Vertically laminate the wood together. Vertical lamination is where wood cores are sandwiched side by side across the ski, instead of vertical from the base to the topsheet. This provides strength across the length of the ski; fiberglasss is added later to provide strength across the width of the ski.
3) The wood cores are then sent through a re-saw, a planer, and a CNC machine to cut the wood down to the shape of the ski.
4) Sidewall and tip and tail materials are tacked onto the wood.
5) Carbon fiber stringers are laid along the length of the ski to increase the pop, stiffness, and to prolong the life of the ski. Then triaxal fiberglass is laid on the top and bottom of the core, followed by biaxal fiberglass and a strip of matte fiberglass over the mountain area of the ski to ensure the hold of the binding screws. This is a “wet layup” process where the layers are sandwiched together with liquid epoxy.
6) Next are the graphics. Sublimation inks, which are eco friendly and can be poured down the sink without any harm to the environment, are used to print the graphics out on high release paper. Then the ink is transferred off the paper to the topsheet or base substrate. The inks dye the plastic. The used paper is then used as packaging for ski shipments.
7) German steel edges, one of the only components made outside of the US, come to the factory at Rockwell 48 hardness. Heat treating is then done in house to make edges more ductile (more bendable) where needed, then sandblasted. Templates are then made to the sidecut of the ski. They are cut out and edges are tacked on with glue. All prep elements are a tack process so the layup isn’t as difficult. The main epoxy system takes over for actual bonding.
8) The ski is put in the press for 40 minutes. The temperate ramps up to 185 degrees Fahrenheit and can vary depending on rocker type. The press then cools as well. The ski is then laid out for 24 hours so the epoxy can finish cross linking
9) Then the flash, or excess material (epoxy, fiberglass, etc.) is cut off the ski with a bandsaw, using the steel ski edge as a guide.
10) The sidewall bevel (angle) on the ski is cut on a machine called a Shaper.
11) The ski goes through 2 base sanders where theye use rough to finer grit belts as they go along. Then the ski goes through a production stone, finishing stone, and ceramic edge beveler and polish. The factory edge tune is 1/1 and the stone structure is pretty basic. Moment tries to leave as much edge on the ski for the consumer as possible.
12) After a waxing, binding mount marks are then set onto the sidewall along with registration info. and then the skis are hand-packaged for retail.
The topsheets of Moment’s 2012 Ghost Chant (top) and Night Train (bottom) skis
How Moment Sees Aesthetics
“Art is definitely one of the most defining elements on our skis. Max Louis Miller was the first Moment art director and he really set the tone for where we took the brand. He is one of my best friends and we actually ran a clothing company before Moment. I have since taken over and found a majority of the artists that work together with Moment. It’s more of collaboration than just an artist contract. It’s really cool how many of them become part of the Moment family and care about the brand and direction.
After Max set the tone and direction for the brand style we completely embraced it and had to find more artists to complete a collection of now over 18 different models. What Max and the other artists have in common are content, style and color. These artists know their shit. They are in tune with the art world and are flooded with new content every day from the blogs and inspiration they take in. They work in a digital platform when they finalize their art but their basis is very analog, very retro and distressed.
Max explains it best: "I embrace some of these occult images partially because it's obscure but also because I’m pissed off and annoyed at how hard it is to get by doing what I love. TV promised me otherwise… The reality is we're all chasing nostalgia. Whether it is the feeling of being a kid or when the '80s/'90s had the booming economy and America was living high on the hog. Now we're in a depression and we're sick of living high on the hog, sick of chasing this impossible dream."
Find evidence of Moment’s unique takes on manufacturing and art with skis like the Bibby, the Ghost Chant, and the Deathwish at Momentskis.com and at retailers internationally.