SKIER SERVICE QUESTIONS

How do I get some stickers? 

Email hello@wndr-alpine.com with your home address and we will send some to you free of charge.

I just ordered my dream skis! How long until you ship?

We typically get skis in the mail within two days of ordering. If you’re preordering a new pair during the fall, just check out the product page, where we list an estimated shipping date.

How do I start a ski return or an exchange? 

If you need to start a return, whether due to a warranty, sizing or any other issue, please begin by filling out our Love It or Return It form.  Once you’ve done so and submitted the form, we will respond via email within 24 hours informing you on how to proceed.   

How do I return any other item other than a ski?

If you have a need to return anything other than a ski, such as a shirt that doesn’t fit, or a broken ski pole, etc. please just email us at hello@wndr-alpine.com and we’ll provide instructions on how to proceed. 

Where can I demo your skis?

We understand that, for many, the whole “try before you buy” motto rings true, so it’s important to give skiers the ability to test our skis before pulling the trigger.  Currently, we have a demo program available for shops that align well with our mission and also want to be a part of the WNDR story. If you work at a shop or know of a shop that would be a good fit, we’re all for hearing from you. Click the button at the bottom of this page that reads, Demo with Us and we'll get you sorted out.  Never hurts to let your local ski shop know that you’re interested in trying out WNDRs as well.  

At the moment, we’re in the process of growing our demo dealer network.  But for now, you can find them at The Sports Creel in Spokane, WA, The Mountain Shop in Portland, OR and Tahoe Sports in Truckee, CA.  And, if you’re in Salt Lake City, we have an HQ demo fleet located at 918 S 500 W - Ste. B just west of Travis Roofing.  We’ve got Marker Griffons mounted for the resort shred and Marker Kingpins with Black Diamond skins for those looking to escape the crowds and get into the backcountry.

And, if you’re not in any of those areas, we have our HQ demos available to ship anywhere within the US.  You can find more info on that here.  And, for every dollar spent on testing out a pair of our demos, we’ll equip you with a gift card to apply to your new pair when you’re ready to pull the trigger.

I love what you’re doing.  How can I represent the brand?

If you’re an avid skier and align with our mission, we’d love to hear from you.  Please fill out our Ski with Us form.  We’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

SKI QUESTIONS

I'm torn on whether to get the camber or reverse camber profile. Do you have any advice?

We have an in depth write up on the camber vs. reverse camber debate that you can find here. If you still have questions after reading, we're more than happy to help. Drop us a line, give us a call or hit the chat button on the right of the page.

Are your skis gender-specific?

They are designed to be unisex, offered in a variety of lengths, with a large sweet spot underfoot for a variety of different skier types and skiing styles. Consult our size chart and/or get in touch with us at hello@wndr-alpine.com to find your perfect fit. As we grow, we will be adding shorter sizes if your ideal size isn’t currently available. For the 2020/21 season we are offering a 164 cm Intention 110, available in a camber and reverse camber profile.

Where do you recommend mounting?

Our recommendation for mounting is as follows:

Intention 110 Vital 100
164 cm - 75.0 cm
171 cm - 78.5 cm 169 cm - 77.5 cm
178 cm - 82.0 cm 176 cm - 81.0 cm
185 cm - 85.5 cm 183 cm - 84.5 cm
192 cm - 89.0 cm 190 cm - 88.0 cm

Our recommended mounting point is 1 cm in front of the waist or the narrowest part of the ski. Each measurement is from the tail. There is not any specified mark on the ski, so it’s best to measure from the tail flush along the base of the ski, taking into account the curvature in the tail. When in doubt, contact us on live chat at the bottom right of this page, via email at hello@wndr-alpine.com or call us at 801-415-1815 with any questions.

What edge bevel do you use on your skis? 

We run a 1° base edge bevel and a 2° side edge bevel. 

Do you detune your skis?

Skis are not detuned once they are finished.

Do you wax your skis? 

Yes, we use all temperature wax from MountainFlow Ecowax (an eco-friendly 100% plant-based wax), so they will be ready to rock straight out of the box.   

How did you decide on the dimensions and camber profiles for your skis?

We called our friend Logan Imlach to design the shapes. He is a structural engineer by trade and has plenty of feathers in his cap, designing a plethora of skis for Armada. As far as the design of each ski goes, the goal was to create stable, but easily controllable skis that could both turn on hardpack and remain predictable in variable conditions. The versatile shapes of these skis were designed complement the capabilities offered by the unique materials compositions inside them.

Tell us about your plan to have a model for each season; fall, winter and spring. Is the Intention considered the "winter" model? 

We would consider the Intention 110 to be more the "fall" model due to early season snowpack varying a lot in depth and density, making it more of a “do it all” kind of ski.  It’s a ski that can handle those deeper face shots but is also right at home in the spring corn and early morning hardpack. The all new Vital 100, which we’re introducing this coming ‘20/21 season, will be our “spring” offering for when the technical terrain locks up and you need a narrower and more maneuverable shape with a bit more damping.  We’ll have our “winter” model debut the following season for when the snow is really flying. 

How would you describe the handflex in the tips/underfoot/tails on the Intention 110?

The flex is progressively stiffer front to back. There is a short rise in the tail but just to add the pop in and out of the turn and aid in the surfiness in powder. The flex graph is on the ski page. Pretty standard bell curve with a wide sweet spot under foot. The biggest change we made in the testing process was mellowing out the apex of the core we originally drew to be a little more even flexing. This gives the ski’s tip and tail a little reinforcement going into the turn but also you feel the ski flex through the turn which gives you a good feel for how much load there is as you release and transition to your opposite edge.

Where are these skis built? 

We develop our materials in the Checkerspot laboratory facility in Berkeley, California. Then we design, test, and manufacture our products incorporating these materials at our Design Lab in Salt Lake City, Utah.

How do WNDR skis compare to a full wood core over the lifespan of the ski? 

Based on internal data from testing we’ve conducted, we feel great about the longevity and durability of the current product. We have a profiling machine that we can run tests on a variety of specs. To measure bulk strength and torsional strength, we test new straight off the press, after minimal use and at the end of the season, as well as at room temp, outdoor temp and below freezing. The sample set is small but growing with every pair off the press. We are also in the process of mechanically measuring life cycle where we use a gear motor to count rotations, flexing, tensile and compression in the ski. Based on X amount of rotations, we can re-profile the flex curve and see how it changed. The data will lead us to ways of improving the current materials used in ski building today.

How do you test your equipment?

It’s really a 2-part answer that involves both lab testing and field testing. We have a ski profiler designed by researchers at Sherbrooke University on site in our design lab here in SLC that is one of only a handful in the world that we use to extrapolate data that includes dimensions, profile, camber and rocker heights, as well as flex and torsional stiffness. We pick one ski out of each batch of skis (usually on average 6 pairs) to gain valuable data on that specific ski. We then compare that data against other competitor brands to see how our skis stack up in regards to weight to strength ratios, flex profiles, etc.  

We also have our Friends of WNDR (FOW) crew of veteran skiers, mountaineers, instructors, patrollers, etc. that continually test our skis on snow, comparing different shapes, camber profiles and flexes.  This was a crucial step in the process to arrive at the current iteration of the Intention 110.  As we roll out new models, “field testing” and “R&D” will be an essential part of the process with many experienced, passionate and talented skiers from all different disciplines taking part in the “work”.     

How do you test the dampness of the ski?  What sort of data do you get from the tests and how do you use that data to characterize a ski's dampness?

We start with Instron (3pt bend; tensile, impact, fatigue) and DMA (Dynamic Mechanical Analysis) tests performed by our mechanical engineer at the Checkerspot Design Lab here in Salt Lake City, UT.  We use super small coupon specimens that represent different formulated materials. We test many different materials with these machines, not just our own, to understand their behavior and establish baseline characteristics. 

Then we move onto full ski material testing, as the dimensions of a ski exceed traditional lab testing dimensions. We test raw parts and whole ski composition with an impulse machine that we fabricated. The load strikes the ski at an array of contact points, and using a string potentiometer, we can chart frequency (vibrations) as a result of the impact. The complete ski data is still being collected and we plan to release the results once we reach a critical sample set of measurements. 

We are also working with outside engineers about ways to even further simulate dampness from on edge, much like we feel on snow. The more we look into it, the more ways there are to isolate these characteristics, especially in industries outside ours, such as hockey. We dug up a really fantastic frequency report some legendary K2 engineers did back in the day and we've looked at their setups a few times and how they measured the data for reference. Nearly all their tests were performed on snow. That stuff is wild and it's perhaps a lost art form but they were really onto something back in the day when all skis were the same dimension and brands were really focused on differentiating themselves from competitors with different construction techniques and materials. Some material companies that had brands back in the day are now lead suppliers of composites to aerospace. Pretty cool to see the passion in skiing fuel those other industries' innovations as well. It's also funny to see history repeats itself a bit with a lot of brands still making not only the same shape, but also using the same materials. And that's where we fit in. Stay tuned for more graphs and squiggly lines!

BRAND QUESTIONS

Why the snowy owl? 

Inspired by sightings on ski tours deep into the backcountry of Interior BC, the snowy owl symbolizes the magic and awe of the alpine experience. Fast and agile, yet powerful, we think it’s a fitting metaphor for the products we create. Learn More.

Did Matt Sterbenz join Checkerspot having skis in mind?

I joined Checkerspot with the title GM of Winter Sports so I would remain engaged in my life long love affair with skiing in some way. Of course, the first few months were very exploratory. I focused on setting up a "Design Lab" in SLC where we would have the resources to animate the physicality, as everything back in Berkeley is molecular research and testing materials at a super small scale. Once we got a spot, we started to identify a team of local suppliers with experience casting polyurethanes, as well as engineers. A lot of those relationships carried over but some are completely new.

By December, 2018, we wanted to begin laminating and then on-snow testing to follow after the holidays. By February, I was already on version 5, enjoying our "prototype" so much that I became convinced that after a few more tweaks we should just make our own skis. So we decided to build a brand to drive the technology and story forward, as the lack of proof in design of our technology wasn't very conducive to setting up partnerships. Along the way we've identified several polyurethane applications in skis and snowboards that our molecule will improve the performance characteristics of what is currently used. This approach to ski building is providing us the physical vehicle we need to show and prove our technology and fuel the innovation of new materials for specific applications. We can dissect what’s existing and reimagine the origin of how petroleum-based materials perform and, for me, that’s at the heart of why I decided to join Checkerspot, and start WNDR Alpine. - Matt Sterbenz - WNDR Alpine Founder & GM

Why should I buy WNDR over a well established brand?

As to why support WNDR versus any other established brand, just look down and see that the materials haven’t changed that make up your skis. Those same brands use the same materials as all the others, just in a different configuration, shape and color. In some cases, they even feel the same. We’ve taken on the challenge to reinvent what these world class skis are made of. That being said, WNDR is more than a product, it’s given birth to a community of advocates who are seeking change across a variety of technological and environmental interests, all seeking to play a role in reducing our impact on the tracks we create and leave behind. 

First and foremost, our goal is to use biotechnology to introduce new, better materials, from a non-petroleum source. While we never claimed that we’re the most sustainable right out of the gate (again, above all we’re performance-driven), we’ve made it a goal to use this technology to increase the amount of bio-based plastics and composites in a ski, and in doing so, reduce our reliance on petroleum products in ski building. We view this project as a continuum, and we’re just getting started.

We invite you along to experience this journey into the world of new materials for outdoor gear - it's sure to be an interesting one. Or, if you're in the SLC area, come by our design lab and check out what we're working on in person!

MATERIAL QUESTIONS

What’s different about WNDR Alpine’s materials? 

The outdoor industry has long been restricted to materials that aren’t purpose-built for use in technical outdoor gear. And the vast majority of them come from environmentally harmful resources.  Using the power of biotechnology, we’re unlocking new materials with improved performance characteristics. Using Checkerspot’s unique biotechnology platform, we’re building better materials, with better performance properties for specific use in alpine products. The icing on the cake: we derive these materials from microalgae - a renewable, biological resource.

Why are microalgae so special?

Microalgae are one of the oldest forms of life on Earth, having existed for literally billions of years. In fact, all higher plants evolved from microalgae.  Over these billions of years, some microalgae developed the ability to produce large amounts of oil. We can use this pristine oil to create a wide range of new materials - using biology, polymer chemistry, and materials science along the way to reach novel performance characteristics.  Microalgal oils also have an extremely low impact in terms of land and water use, and carbon footprint, as we can produce large amounts of it with very few inputs.

How do you grow your microalgae? 

We grow them by feeding them sugar in stainless steel fermentation tanks. Picture your local microbrewery, but with more scientists :)

Does the Algal Core take the place of carbon? 

Our Algal Core isn’t replacing carbon, as we still use a small amount to help with stiffness in our skis. Carbon doesn’t aid in making a ski more damp but the Algal Core does. The Algal Core doesn’t directly mimic other ski building materials; rather, it’s its own material with its own unique performance benefits.

What does the algae have to do with the ski's performance? 

We're creating our products because of the new performance characteristics that our technology can unlock. In the case of the ski core, we developed a bio-based material to improve bulk strength to weight, torsional rigidity and dampness characteristics. These materials, aside from targeting our desired performance characteristics, are derived from a renewable resource - in this case, microalgae. Granted, the most sustainable ski possible would be a hand-carved single plank of wood. But for those of us that want cutting edge performance from modern materials, microalgae offers something quite revolutionary:  The ability to gradually reduce our reliance on petroleum products, and improve ski performance while we do it.

How quickly does the microalgae produce the oils you use?

The cells double in a little less than four hours and we'll start with a very small volume of cells, about 2 milliliters containing on the order of 200 million cells. Over the course of about four days we will grow a seed train, expanding the volume of cells until we dump all of these cells into our big tank (625 m3) and run that process for an additional five days. By the time we finish, we'll have on the order of 4E+018 cells, and we'll have gone through about 32 doublings from that original 200 cells. In total, it only takes about nine days to access our oil. Making petroleum, on the other hand, takes about 100 million years.

Is there a strategy for the end of life for these products created from algae plastics?

Yes, Daniel Malmrose, our director of manufacturing, has started experiments varying acetic acid and heat to depolymerize the epoxy, recover the materials, and see which ones can be used as a post-consumer recycled input for a new product.