HANDMADE SKIS & SNOWBOARDS AT FACTORY DIRECT PRICES
RAMP SPORTS IS MADE IN AMERICA
Now handmade in the U.S., RAMP Sports is transforming the way skis are manufactured. In May 2012, RAMP opened a 10,000-square foot manufacturing facility in Park City, Utah. At a time when companies are moving their production to China, Taiwan, and Eastern Europe, RAMP is committed to being made in America. Using a modern patent-pending manufacturing process, RAMP is able to produce a high-performance product that offers complete flexibility in shape and ski design. As all business and manufacturing functions are executed under one roof, having total control over quality, R&D, and materials has been a major development.
Since the ’60s, skis have been molded using very large presses that are incredibly expensive and result in a process that is neither clean nor efficient. This undertaking also requires very expensive aluminum molds carved out with a cavity for every model and every size. These molds are typically at least $6,000-$10,000 each. These presses compress the layers against a camber plate at 4 bars of pressure, forcing the layers into un-natural shapes resulting in a very small sweet spot and loss of material benefits.
RAMP aims to revolutionize the way skis are made with its new process, which eschews the huge, old presses and replaces them with a modern vacuum-molding system (same technology used to make a composite blade for a helicopter). With vacuum molding, the pressure is equal in every direction and only 1 bar of pressure is used—a 75% reduction in the pressure used by traditional presses. As a result, the layers aren’t forced into any shape between the contact points. The camber results from the thermal expansion characteristics of each layer, providing a much greater sweet spot on the ski and maximum material benefit.
As RAMP doesn’t need to use traditional molds, this process allows for ultimate creativity in shape—to be able to test and make any shape at will—instead of being stuck with molds that quickly become outdated in this fast-moving design environment. In addition, RAMP is using U.S.-made machines and U.S.-made materials such as bases, resins, sublimation materials, and composites in order to support the “Made in America” attitude that has become so critical to an economic recovery and a new era of U.S. manufacturing.
The way manufacturing migrated out of the U.S. is an interesting study. Companies took their exact same machines and processes and moved them as they were to places with cheap labor to make the same types of products at an inexpensive price. It is a fact that most of the best selling models of skis and snowboards in the U.S. are made in China by companies such as K2 and Burton, brands that used to produce in America but now pay people—who have never skied or even seen snow—$200/month. RAMP is not willing to accept this and is excited to use the new technological advances it developed to offset this cheap labor and lack of environmental responsibility.
RAMP is dedicated to creating a cleaner, greener, and more efficient process using materials that are better: e.g. a resin that uses pine byproducts versus petro-chemicals; a FSC Fully Certified Bamboo Core that is four times as hard as a normal poplar core, which provides an incredibly, solid precise feel. And yet, a core three times as expensive as what other companies use but is so strong it eliminates the need for plastic sidewalls. By throwing out the old processes, RAMP is convinced U.S. companies can produce and thrive in America.
For this season, RAMP will manufacture all adult skis in Park City, and in the 2013-14 season, move into U.S. production of snowboards as well.
RAMP has a very compelling story:
• U.S. production using futuristic patent-pending processes
• Unsurpassed Green Practices (e.g., RAMP ships in padded and reusable ski bags versus boxes, buys 300 pounds of carbon offsets with every ski and board sold, purchases wind-generated electricity, and offers a used ski/board buy-back program in order to recycle or donate to youth programs).
• RAMP sells direct to the consumer and provides exceptional value as a result.
• RAMP works only with the best resort shops as dealers.