In an effort to be transparent with our valued customers, we wanted to offer a place for customers to ask our president questions about RAMP skis, snowboards, and longboards. If you have a question for Mike that you want addressed in his weekly blog, please email [email protected] and include "Ask Mike" in the subject line.

HI friends of RAMP,

A big topic around here this summer is OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) business—products we are being contracted to make for other companies that need high quality production with flexibility. One of the big reasons we created this factory was based on the premise that outsourcing is tough and you don't get the best results. Factories are usually so limited on what they can put in the molds as old press processes are so restricted on thicknesses in order to maximize consistent pressure. Also, they can't create new shapes without making all new molds, which is extremely expensive. Getting the factories we talked to (and we talked to many) to make new prototypes and go through a thorough testing process is all but impossible.

At RAMP, we can use any material with vacuum molding versus the old presses and we can make any shape, width, and radius within existing molds. This is obviously extremely attractive to companies in need of production. Recently a guy came to us that wants to make very high end kite snowboards. He and his crew are some of the best in the world at doing this and had some really specific ideas on how to design the board. In less than 2 weeks we were able to make a 183cm with the exact shape and camber configuration they were looking for,and they are now testing it. Of course they are giving me kite lessons on the water so I have a better idea what they are talking about—very fun.

We have also had several companies come to us about making skis for snow bikes. We've seen all kinds of cool ideas on this, one with a single ski in front and the rear tire to get around. One that has a ski in the front and the back for downhill. Recently one that uses a front ski and 2 rear skis with a very sophisticated rear suspension system. We are working on different ideas for the skis with various shapes. We will be testing them at Mt. Hood on Labor Day Weekend to correspond with the RAMP test for 15-16 product.

Last year, a French company hired us to make ultra light touring skis for them and export them to France. We made 2 models, and this year the order has increased—a very good sign. One ski is the shape of our Woodpecker but one-third lighter. The other is a 700 gram race tour ski. This is a very technical product and is among the lightest skis in the world.

We have many companies who are talking to us about using our existing shapes and structures. We are also pursuing license agreements with other big companies, which will open other exciting segments. It's putting a lot of pressure on us this summer as we are also launching skateboards-longboards. We are already getting requests for them as OEM products.

Our poor creative director is having to make a LOT of graphics and our engineer is writing a lot of CNC programs to take into account all of these shapes, core profiles, and graphics. It's all good though, that's what we signed on to do.

Thanks for listening. Let me know your thoughts. Comment below or email me questions ([email protected]). Be back next week.

Mike Kilchenstein, CESnow