Can a math equation create the ‘perfect’ ski?
- A Colorado engineer is using an algorithm to design one-of-a-kind snow skis in his factory
- Find out what makes Wagner Custom skis this week’s ‘Small Business Success’ on HLN
You don’t often think of math and snow skiing as going together. But engineer Pete Wagner is using algorithms to create custom-fit snow skis in his factory outside Telluride, Colorado.
“Once [our algorithm] figures out what your perfect ski’s going to be mathematically, then it actually creates a recipe for all our shop equipment here,” he says.
Computer-controlled milling machines design the parts that are assembled by hand — combining 21st century technology with skilled craftsmanship.
“If you’ve got a set of skis that fit you properly that’s going to improve your balance, your comfort, your control,” he says.
Wagner came up with the idea after riding on a bum pair of skis.
“My eureka moment happened about 10 years ago,” he says. “I bought a pair of skis skied on them for about 70 or 80 days and then I tried a different set of skis…I realized I’d been crippling myself with the equipment I was on.”
So he combined his passion for skiing and his background in mechanical engineering to create Wagner Custom skis.
He went from selling 200 pairs in 2006 to more than 1,000 last year.
“We’re essentially making toys for people,” Wagner says. “And we’re sharing our passions with people around the world.”