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.

Hello friends of RAMP,

We've posted about the seven magazine awards we won in the 2015 Buyer's Guides (Powder, Freeskier, and Skiing). It's one of the things we are very proud to have won. I'm particularly excited about how we won in so many categories. Each magazine test is different as to how many categories and models you can enter. As a smaller company, we can generally do three or four categories and two women's models. When we think about and analyze this, it's very complicated. We feel like because we have an engineer that came from 15 years experience at one of the big companies, we are unique as a small company in having this level of frontside expertise. This becomes very apparent as you get into the frontside type carving skis or when wider skis go out on harder snow.

So this means we have to test what we feel is going to be most appealing to our potential customers in each type of magazine. This year the Peacepipe in the Powder-Big Mountain category was entered and won two medals. The BigBambooski was entered in the wider All-Mountain category along with the Groundhog and Beaver, all three won medals. In the All-Mountain category, the 90mm (Chickadee) was a winner as well. Our only disappointment is we couldn't enter one of my favorites, the Frenzy. It is a ripping 80mm ski and when people try it, they buy it. But the craft brands aren't known for this kind of product, so if we had to leave out something, it was that.

This year in most of the tests we were in, the small and large brands were all in together. This is a big departure, there always used to be completely separate tests. Now the editors will say there isn't a difference like there used to be so why separate them? The Indy Skis have come a LONG way!

The amount of work that goes into being at a magazine test, and ready to go, is staggering. Firs,t all of the new skis need to be finished in development, graphics ready, all the testing finished by Christmas. Then they have to be produced while you are in the highest demand from consumers with the current product line. Next tuning; this used to take hours per pair. We are totally psyched about how our factory tune is so refined, a huge improvement in the last year. Each pair has to be mounted, then skied a run at least to make sure the tune is good, and break them in a bit for the upcoming tester, then touched up and re-waxed and carefully strapped so they stay perfect in travel. Then all this product needs to be at a test site early, ready to go. It's a lot of work, but I love this aspect of what we do.

For 15-16 we are already almost finished with the development, way ahead of last year. We have a new prototype that is the most versatile ski I've ever tried (more on that in an upcoming blog).

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

Mike Kilchenstein, CESnow