AN enterprising Scot is making wooden skis that sell for £750 a pair.
Jamie Kunka – the first Scottish ski maker for over 30 years – makes the skis using a technique dating to just after the First World War.
And although the skis are around double the price of mass-produced “plastic” skis, Jamie, 27, reckons they’re ideal for the challenging conditions found on Scottish slopes.
Jamie, who has a degree in Product Design and has competed in the British Cross Country Ski team, set up a workshop in Birnam, Perthshire, two weeks ago.
Making each pair of skis – made from eight layers of hickory, ash, poplar, beech, and cherry – takes about a week to complete.
Mass produced modern skis have wood at their core but this is surrounded by modern materials.
Making them wood only – apart from the modern bindings – also means the skis are easier to carry.
And while most skiers abroad can rely on nicely pisted fresh snow, Jamie believes his wood design can can handle the hard ice and slush frequently found on Scotland’s ski slopes.
He said: ““If they can work in Scotland, they can work anywhere – we get so many conditions in one day.
“You get a great ride out of wooden skis, they’re shock absorbent and long-lasting. They are easier to repair – you can just re-coat them like a wooden boat.”
He buys the wood locally and makes skis to order. They have been tested by pals on Ben Nevis and in Chamonix, France.
His company, Lonely Mountain Skis, was inspired by methods used in Scandinavia between WW1 and WW2.
He said: “The way that I build the skis started off just after WW1 in Norway. They were the first skis that were not built from a single piece of hickory or ash.
“I love skis, so I thought why not apply the same model?”
Jamie works alone, from a small unit on an industrial estate in Birnham, Perthshire. He has completed two orders and is working on a third