Two homegrown skiers from Whitefish launched the new Montana Ski Company last December with one goal in mind. They wanted to create a custom grassroots ski made from sustainable timber and using the least toxic chemicals, but sell it at a reasonable price.

Zak Anderson and Chad Wold, who grew up racing the slopes at Whitefish Mountain Resort, spent last winter developing the skis. They, along with several of their buddies, tested about two dozen pairs of skis to refine the product. "We got solid shapes last winter and met with different manufacturers to design the ski," Anderson, president of the company, told OnTheSnow.

The lightweight skis rely on wood cores, from poplar and fir harvested mostly in Montana. "We're using poplar for the most part because it's the softest and good for big powder board flexing," explained Anderson. The skis can take on a natural look with a wood-grained top sheet.

Manufacturing of the skis went to T.J. Sneva in Spokane, Wash. But Anderson hopes to move production to Whitefish this year.

Boutique skis can be pricey, but Montana Ski Company aims to reach a broader clientele and keep the price reasonable by using what Anderson calls a "sliding scale of customization." Buyers can pick and choose different levels of customization or stick with the base model that does not require customization.

Base models, which will retail for around $850, can be ready for delivery immediately or within two to three weeks, depending on supply. Semi-custom skis, built from the platform of the base model, but using the customer's desired dimensions within three centimeters from tip to tail and under foot, will run around $950 and require three to four weeks for delivery. Those wanting a full custom ski will work with a ski engineer to design a mold; the cost will run around $1,550 with a two- to four-week window for delivery.

The wood grained top sheet can be replaced with a custom top sheet on semi-custom or full custom orders. The company has a stock supply of top sheets with varied designs, or buyers can have their own graphics designed for $500.

Montana Ski Company skis are not available in shops yet; however, they can be ordered now by phone for skiing this winter.  "We're starting small, but we have long term goals," added Anderson.

More information. Or call 877-208-3968.