Black Diamond has its roots in climbing and alpinism equipment – and that’s most likely why we see them churning out ski touring and backcountry skis fit to scale lofty alpine peaks. Black Diamond is well rooted within climbing history and was, technically, founded by none other than Mr Yvon Chouinard (the founder of Patagonia and an all-round legend).
Yvon began hand-crafting pitons (the bits of climbing kit you hammer into the rock to save you from a fall), and began selling them from the boot of his car in the Yosemite Valley. This Chouinard side hustle soon became Chouinard Equipment. However in early 1989, after various liability lawsuits and a lack of profitability, Chouinard Equipment filed for bankruptcy. This company was then snapped up by former employee Peter Metcalf, who created Black Diamond Equipment. The rest, as they say, is history.
Black Diamond still focus on making some top notch climbing equipment these days, but it’s their range of backcountry and ski touring skis that impresses us the most. A combination of lightweight materials that are still able to provide power on the downhill seems to be a trademark of Black Diamond skis.
Check out Black Diamond Skis here
A star-studded athlete roster, sellout film premieres and some of the sickest topsheets in the business. Thanks to their incredible recent work on the freeskiing scenry, very little needs to be said about Swiss-based Faction Skis.
Born in 2006 in Verbier, Switzerland, Faction have utilised some of the best names in the game (Candide Thovex, Sam Anthamatten and Sarah Hoefflin, to name a few), to produce a brand that’s at the of every park rat’s shopping list. They’re pretty handy at shaping skis too, mind.
Their ski designs usually feature lightweight hybrid wood cores, playful rocker profiles and more planet-friendly recycled materials. Their range features everything from metal directional chargers (the Dictator series), to nearly symmetrical freestyle numbers (the CT and Prodigy series).
If you’re someone who likes the idea of putting your money into the companies that produce the planks of wood that go under your feet when you’re skiing, it’s worth noting that Faction is a (largely) skier owned project that you can invest in yourself. They very often open up rounds of investment that you’re able to get involved in. If this is something that interests you, then you can check out their investor page here.
Check out Faction Skis here