At RAMP, we take pride in our technology. We have invented a number of new processes in ski manufacturing that are explained below by RAMP President Mike Kilchenstein.
Since the ’60s skis have been molded using industrial presses that crush downward at 4 atmospheres of pressure forcing the ski layers against camber plates. The resulting layers are pressed into un-natural shapes along the contact length of the ski creating specific sweet spots, & very sensitive to small variations. RAMP is using a modern vacuum-molding process modeled after aerospace processes. In the vacuum bag, we work with 1 atmosphere of pressure, which distributes forces evenly. Our process allows the layers and materials to retain their natural shapes creating a bigger sweet spot. The result is a high quality, better performing ski that is much easier to use.
Vacuum Molding from RAMP Sports on Vimeo
FSC Certified Bamboo Wood Cores
Virtually all skis and snowboards made today use poplar, a light durable wood that is relatively inexpensive. RAMP is using a core material that is 3 times as hard as poplar, but triple the cost. The result is a core that provides a dramatic improvement on the behavior of the ski. Normally wood cores provide an energetic feel due to their fibrous nature; from an engineering standpoint, the core is the center section of an I-Beam, the composite layers on top and bottom do most of the work. RAMP’s cores are so hard they actually make the ski feel like it has layers of metal but without the bending problems usually found with metal in freeskiing skis. Another great thing about bamboo is how renewable it is. Bamboo harvesting in Asia is notorious for its poor practices—no harvesting management and laminations wrought with formaldehyde. RAMP found a company called Plyboo in California that owns the factory, controls the harvesting, and the resins used. Our cores have Forestry Stewardship Certification, which is very rare with bamboo. We’ve noticed that some companies say they use bamboo cores, but when you look closely, it is usually bamboo strips mixed with poplar or simply a bamboo veneer. We don’t know of another company using full bamboo cores, especially at the level of quality and best practices being described here.
Green Initiative from RAMP Sports on Vimeo.
Total Sidecut Flexibility
RAMP has a patented process that gives us the ability to change the sidecut shape of the ski without having to invest in a new mold. This is a serious breakthrough as it provides for maximum creativity. Normally a company tries to identify a trend in new shapes, buys/makes the molds, and then commits to the tooling. Trends may change or the new shape may not ski well. In any case, they are stuck with that mold for years as the tooling is very expensive, generally $8,000-$10,000 per model and size. At RAMP, we can now change the shape by changing the computer files. We can experiment with any shape and adapt after any test we do. It’s called rapid-prototyping and means ski design and shape are only limited by our imagination.
Total Sidecut Flexibility from RAMP Sports on Vimeo.
RAMP is using more expensive, higher quality U.S.-made composites compared to skis made in Eastern Europe or Asia. When a ski flexes, the bottom layers are being stretched and the top layers compressed. We invested in a full layer of Kevlar in the bottom laminations of the ski, which has a dramatic effect on rebound, energy, durability and vibration absorption. Kevlar is used in bulletproof vests as it is so resistant to stretching-distortion and is incredibly strong. It is 7 times more expensive than fiberglass, but the effect it has on ski behavior is amazing. Imagine a smoother more solid ride. There is a very precise orientation of 45-degree triax fiberglass in the top and bottom outer layer to improve torsional characteristics. There also is a layer against the core on both sides of 90-degree fiberglass to provide strength and durability.
Composites from RAMP Sports on Vimeo.
Resins used in skis and snowboards are generally petro-chemical based. RAMP works with Entropy, a U.S. company that makes a resin called “Super Sap.” It is pine byproduct based. It has superior adhesion and strength characteristics and is much cleaner. No need to wear masks in the RAMP factory, we’re free to breathe here. Sure, it’s more expensive, but much safer for the environment and RAMP employees’ health.
Resin from RAMP Sports on Vimeo.
RAMP works with Crown Plastic that makes a superior 7500 Sintered Base here in the U.S. The Ohio-based company has a technology that allows it to introduce additives like carbon and wax directly into the material. The material combines the greatest impact strength of any thermoplastic, with a low coefficient of friction and tremendous abrasion resistance, which makes it an ideal material for the running surface of skis and snowboards.
Base from RAMP Sports on Vimeo.
Ski Like a Girl
At RAMP, we enhance performance and usability for the size and strength of each rider by developing specific flexes and characteristics for each size ski and board. The old model for creating women-specific skis and snowboards was tweaking men’s equipment with features like more forward ramp angles and binding positions. In reality these features are for skiers with less athletic ability and skill. At RAMP, we’re breaking the mold by creating skis and boards designed to fit your ability and size. Women who are athletic and strong want the same high-performance equipment men want. That being said, RAMP delivers unmatched women-specific models. A girl needs to be able to express herself!
Women's Philosophy/Product from RAMP Sports on Vimeo.
Razor Cut Sidecut
Increased Edge Grip on Skis
After extensive testing RAMP is introducing a new sidecut concept called Razor Cut. This new shape drastically increases edge grip on skis. From the midpoint of the boot back the sidecut is straighter where you need cutting power and then becomes curved again for turn shape. This unique shape makes even our widest skis excellent on hard snow.
Razor Cut Sidecut from RAMP Sports on Vimeo.