One of the more satisfying trends in the ski and snowboard industry in recent years has been the growth of local, boutique ski manufacturers. These brands allow you to support your local ski community; and often offer interesting, unique designs that large companies don’t. Small ski companies are a dime a dozen in North America and Europe, but are nearly an unknown here in Japan. This post will give an inside look at Hakuba’s local ski and splitboard builder: BanYa Craft.
BanYa Craft produces hand made skis, splitboards, and telemark skis. They also turn snowboards into a splitboards. BanYa Craft supports all forms of snow sliding, but specializes in powder and touring. The common theme in all their planks tends to be fat and light. They work with a number of core materials, including bamboo, fiberglass, and carbon. BanYa Craft is quite small, selling about 20 skis and snowboards a year. Prices range from 100,000 to 200,000 yen. Producing a small number of skis a year, they can customize skis and snowboards to fit the customer’s needs, and adjust the price accordingly.
BanYa Craft is actually the hard work of one man: Shinichiro Matsubara. Shin-chan started BanYa Craft and began building skis 5 years ago. He is an industrial design engineer by education and profession, and an avid skier, snowboarder, and telemarker. Whatever the tool, he likes to ride powder and tour the Hakuba backcountry. Shin-chan has designed his entire ski building setup from scratch; including his ski planer pictured below.
- Shin-chan’s planer. It took him two months to build it!
BanYa Craft offers a number of very interesting ski and snowboard shapes. For a look at some of the shapes Shin-Chan has built in the past, click on the links on the side of the Handmade Ski and Snowboard section of their website. Notable shapes include the Nag, a big mountain ski that is 200cm long, with dimensions of 200-160-140. Also, the Tuchinoko, a reverse camber reverse sidecut snowboard. Because BanYa Craft produces a small number of skis and snowboards each year, they don’t have to mass produce a couple of specific shapes. Instead, Shin-Chan can work with you to make a fully customized ski that fits your needs.
If you are interested in finding out more about BanYa Craft, check out their website, Banyacraft.com . If you are interested in buying BanYa Craft skis or splitboards, contact Shin-chan via his website, and he can build the powder board for you.