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Welcome to the RAMP Factory

Nestled in the heart of Park City, Utah, RAMP Sports is one of the few ski brands that manufacture its entire line in the U.S.A. Working out of its 10,000-ft. factory, RAMP emphasizes domestically sourced and green materials for its skis and boards. For every pair of skis or snowboards sold, the company buys 300 pounds of carbon offsets, which helps fund wind farms around the country. A number of steps in RAMP’s manufacturing process are patent pending but the company is confident it will change the way skis are made. Here’s a look inside at RAMP's operation.



Step One: Cut fiberglass rollups

Before any skis can be molded, all of the elements must be prepared. RAMP's production staff typically starts by cutting fiberglass/Kevlar layers before placing them into the ski during the molding process. 

Step Two: Bend the edges

As part of the prep, the edges must be bent in order to sit evenly in the ski mold. Cylindrical rollers bend the tips and tails for an early rise or rocker shape. Once bent, they are stored on the wall until prepping the base on molding days.



Step 3: Bring out the CNC machine

The CNC machine is integral to production, as it cuts most of layers that make up the ski including: the bamboo core, base, and bamboo veneer topsheet. The machine runs roughly eight hours per day, five days a week to keep up with demand. RAMP sometimes calls in the nightshift crew to keep the machine running and the process rolling.



Step 4: The Secret Step – Sublinate

Printing on bamboo veneer is an operation unique to RAMP. So, like any great chef, they can’t divulge their recipe–err, secrets. But, they will say this: Veneer plus vacuum equals a truly natural look.



Step 5: Make epoxy, prep base, and gather elements

On any given day, RAMP molds about 15 to 20 skis. This step typically requires a five-person crew: one-to-two base preppers, two molders, and one “runner.”

Base preppers start by placing the edges into the mold, which holds the ski in place while it's being cooked. 
Then the molders mix the epoxy, which is a pine-resin byproduct versus what most factories use—a noxious petrochemical based epoxy. The “runner” gathers the fiberglass roll, top sheet, and other elements for the molders to set into place.



Step 6: Apply Epox and Stack the Layers

During this process, the materials (everything from fiberglass to the top sheet) are placed on top of the base. Epoxy is soaked into each layer. In other words, gluing one layer to the other. Next, the ski is vacuum sealed in a bag before being placed in the mold and then the oven.



Step 7: Cook the ski

Tradionally, skis are shaped using large presses and heavy aluminum molds to compress the layers. RAMP takes a different approach. Using a vacuum molding system, they place the sealed skis into a giant "cooker", or oven, and attach a hose to suck out any air between each layer of the ski. Combined with heat, the cooking process allows the epoxy to try and all of the materials to adhere to each other.

RAMP's vacuum molding system allows consistent compression from the ski's tip to tail and relies on the materials' thermal expansion characteristics to create, for example, camber in the ski.


Step 8: Remove the ski and clean the mold

When the timer beeps, the runner removes the ski from oven and unwraps the “package.” He or she then scrapes the mold to remove epoxy and coats it with a de-molding agent to prevent the next ski from sticking to the mold.


Step 9: Cut skis, sand sidewalls, and smooth topsheet

Now that the ski is free of the hot mold, it’s placed in the “finishing room”. A bandsaw is used to cut the skis out of their sandwich construction.

The Trim-B sands the sidewalls and a rail is placed in the sidewall to aid the ski through tuning machines. Lastly, RAMP uses an orbital sander to smooth out the top sheet as a final cosmetic touch.


Step 10: Ready the Base

Next, the ski goes through the Sigma machine which sands the base to make it ski-ready. It takes four steps to go from rough sand to a final stone finish. The belt and stone even out the base and edges. 


Step 11: Wax, polish, and fine tune

Finally, the ski goes through the Trim Jet to ensure precise angles and give the ski a ceramic polish and edge tuning. Then, the almost-finished ski moves to the waxing machine and finally to the inventory wall.



Step 12: Ship ‘Em Out

From the inventory wall, our customer service manager places mounting points on all skis, and adds the final touch: our “handmade in Park City” sticker on the tail of each ski. Then the skis are packaged in padded re-useable travel bags and they’re off to FedEx.