WNDR Alpine was born out of a need for new materials and better products.
I pen this introduction just over a year into this brand’s history, and while I may be coming up on two decades of ski building in my career, I remain more inquisitive and more motivated than ever before. When I was called upon by Checkerspot, Inc. to lead a project in wintersports for their advanced biomaterials, I knew how much I didn’t know. Over the last year, I’ve learned, grown, led, and helped educate others on the importance of alternative perspectives when it comes to the creation of materials that are vital to our sport, community and impact on our environment.
Throughout the season and into the spring, one theme persisted in my discovery of the health and wellness of our alpine ski segment: the lack of eco-innovation in alpine ski hardware. Skis are not textiles, but they are similarly complex compositions of a variety of synthetic and natural materials. Since the introduction of biobased resins, ski building simply hasn’t kept pace with other outdoor categories and adjacent industries. True innovation requires a complete shift of focus while taking a bold step into uncharted terrain. This approach is how we landed on our new AlgalTech™ ski materials platform, which has now brought about the Algal Core and the all new cast PU sidewall application we refer to as Algal Wall.
Being data driven and mindful of manufacturing efficiency leads our technology and product development. During the design phase of the Algal Wall, we found that process performance was as intriguing as material performance. For our sidewall manufacturing, we optimized the process to net a near zero waste solution.
Creating material solutions opens opportunities to showcase new products with never before seen materials. Our most diverse ski shape, the Vital 100, was designed in a collaborative environment by a growing team, with equally diverse perspectives on ski design. From the production of algal oil by Checkerspot’s molecular foundry and its team of microbiologists, chemists, and material scientists, to the biobased polyurethanes we deliver to our designers and engineers, to the printers, builders, brand managers who implement, produce, and share our products, it simply has been incredible to be a part of this young and motivated brand.
But what I’m looking forward to the most is spending more time with our Friends of WNDR for the rest of this season. Last year, we debuted the WNDR Roost, a 3 day backcountry ski symposium that welcomed early adopters to join us in exploring our local Wasatch Range and witness some of the work we do in the lab. This year, we've grown the event further, offering a women's-specific iteration, and Roosts across the west in partnership with our new retail/demo locations at evo. This kind of gathering and camaraderie is exactly what makes our outdoor community special, and for that I eagerly anticipate what’s next. I welcome you to join us.
Tread light, charge hard!
Matt Sterbenz, founder
• The Vital 100 recieved an ISPO Award and Sustainability Achievement
• Received the only B Corp™ Certification ever awarded to a ski maker
• Debuted the first ever WNDR Women Roost, led and masterminded by FOW Melissa Gill2020 Milestones
• Production facility converted to 100% renewable energy
• Created an in-house material science and screenprinting department
• Published our Responsibility Statement
• Introduction of AlgalTech™ ski materials platform and creation of the Algal Wall, a complement to Algal Core
• Hosted the Inaugural WNDR Roost in the Wasatch Mountains
• Introduced the Intention 110, the first ever ski to include algae as a core ingredient
• Launched WNDR Alpine on July 8th, 2019
• Pep Fujas added to the team as VP of Marketing and Product Development
• Sold out of popular lengths of the Intention 110 by the end of the year
2:30 min watch
Checkerspot is a 21st Century materials company founded in 2016. Checkerspot's technology unlocks the potential found in Nature, and expands the palette of materials available to product designers. Through our science platform, we empower product designers with purpose-built materials that offer new performance characteristics. In doing so, we enable a more intentional way to design products across industries.