Featured image credit: James Mechie
It’s a mild January morning as I exit Caledonian Road station in North London and walk towards Busworks, a coworking space within a converted Victorian bus factory and timber yard. As I stroll along the mammoth building, an arched door swings open at foot-level and the head of James Mechie, founder of the micro ski brand Nix Snowsports, pops out brandishing a broad smile. “I’m down here,” he laughs. I squat down and peer inside. Skis and snowboards adorn the walls, a state-of-the-art CNC machine hums away on the side-lines, and the smell of wax radiates around the small workshop. Of all the places to find a micro ski brand, this is surely the most unusual.
“Of all the places to find a micro ski brand, this is surely the most unusual”
According to a study published by Absolute Reports earlier this month, the ski gear and equipment industry is worth a staggering $6277 million and expected to grow annually by 4%. You’ll be unsurprised to hear that 25% of this amount is shared by the top three players, with the likes of Amer Sports jostling for top spot. Yet within an industry worth billions and dominated by powerhouses, there has been an explosion of micro ski brands in recent years. You’ll be hard pressed to find a mountainside without an array of them: Black Crows, DPS, Faction, Movement, the list goes on. But even within this niche, there are the little guys, the hand builders, grinding away in epoxy-dusted workshops to produce bespoke skis for an array of clientele. Founded in 2013, Nix Snowsports is one of these unicorns.
At 6’6” and 15 stone, a fondness for skinning up and stomping down, and a need to ski resorts as part of my remit as a writer, the ideal single ski has long alluded me. Granted, any all-rounder has its compromises but it dawned on me recently that a ski made specifically for my compromises might just be what I’m after. I had first heard about this guy building skis in North London back in 2017, so after a quick email, the journey to ski perfection had begun.