Until now, there hasn’t been an all-mountain ski that rides well in any conditions. Skis must be either sturdy and narrow to chop through icy snow or flexible and wide to glide across powder. The core of a ski determines its weight and strength, and thus the conditions it’s best suited for. Engineers at Wagner Custom have created a core that’s strong yet light, and the first skis to incorporate it, the 2-4 Ultralights, are fit for just about any mountain.
To create a core 40 percent lighter and 30 percent stronger than traditional hardwood, Wagner engineers pressure-soak soft, light East Coast timber in a epoxy resin derived from paper mill waste. When hardened, the resin turns the wood into a plasticized block. A double helix of carbon fiber woven around the core adds even more lateral (i.e., turning) strength. The resulting skis are so light they could offer relief from hip-and-knee-straining hardwood models, and so versatile they could replace stacks of skis in lodges and garages.
Weight: 3.8 pounds (70.9-inch ski)
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.