I’m just back from the classic Colorado ski towns of Telluride and Crested Butte, which both totally lived up to their reputations – loads of fluffy powder, great skiing and full on Wild West downtown areas. You can’t get much more Wild West than having a bank that was held up by Butch Cassidy (Telluride) and a bar where he left his handgun whilst being chased by bounty hunters (Kochevars in Crested Butte).
We also stayed in some marvellous accommodation, from the rustic and highly atmospheric Pioneer Log Cabins just outside Crested Butte where we roasted marshmallows over a log fire in the teeth of a blizzard, to Telluride’s very upmarket Lumière, a boutique hotel where our five-bedroom penthouse apartment cost – well, let’s just say if you have to ask you probably can’t afford it…
The skiing in both resorts was stellar, and one of the best ways to make the most of the high altitude, snow-sure terrain to be found here is to hit the pow on your own custom made skis; which is easy since both towns have independent ski manufacturers.
There isn’t space here to go into the way the two businesses put their skis together, but check out their websites if you’re at all interested. Suffice to say you’d probably expect a pair of custom skis to cost considerably more than an off-the-peg pair, but no – Romp’s base price is $850, and Wagner’s €1,750 ($1,000 if you have custom graphics)($850 = £564 $1750 = £1160 – Exchange rate as of 18 March 2015).
The differences in price are partly because Wagner literally builds a bespoke ski from the base up, whereas Romp base theirs on one of nine different moulds (although they will also build you a one-off bespoke job for $2000).
Having been given a tour of both Romp and Wagner’s workshops and spoken with Caleb Weinberg and Pete Wagner at some length, I can honestly say I came away from Colorado thinking that one day I will have a pair of custom skis from one of these gents; when you see the work and craftsmanship that goes in to building bespoke skis compared to mass produced items the difference in price is insignificant.
And I’m convinced a custom made ski is sure to help me ski better too. In fact I think I’ve already talked myself into another visit to Colorado next winter, perhaps to pick up my new skis…