I was able to catch up with Luke Jacobson, one of the principle owners of the Â independent ski manufacturer Moment SkisÂ in Sparks, NV.
What are the changes and updates you have made for the upcoming ski season?
Luke: The most exciting ski we have for this coming winter is the Deathwish. It features our Dirty Mustache Rocker, Triple camber with rocker at the tip and tail. Its amazing how versatile this ski is. We have also added some sizes in the Jaguar Shark and Belafonte models. We also retired specialty classic skis the Donner Party and Comi.
That’s too bad as it was one of your earliest skis made and I also just happened to like the name.
Have you been able to streamline your process as you’ve grown?
Luke: Growth has definitely been a hurdle we have had to deal with. Every time we grow we make it a point to make whatever bottleneck process we have more efficient and as good or better than the year before. Investment in quality machinery and a solid personnel have been key factors.
Besides probably selling more skis, what have you been happiest about concerning your Magazine Editorâ€™s Choice Awards?
Luke: I think the best thing about getting an Editors pick is having someone excited about your product. You know you did a good job designing it and other people are enjoying it.
How does it make you feel to be on the podium with the biggest manufacturers in the industry?
Luke: I like being side by side with the big guys. I think that’s what all actual ski manufacturers enjoy. You’re giving them a run for their money, progressing ski design and in turn progressing skiing.
I agree, you and all the other indies are giving them a run for sure. I also think that the independents have made the traditional manufacturersÂ re-think their freeskiing /Â off-piste lines ofÂ skis. All of the innovation and R & D as an industry has definitely been a boon for the skiers as we have never had so many choices before.
Are you trying to get into shops or are you comfortable selling primarily from your website & evo?
Luke: We are in a lot of shops across North America along with distribution Worldwide in over 15 countries. Evo is one of our main online retailers along with Backcountry.com
Wow, I did not know that your distribution network was already that developed.
Do you have any sponsored athletes?
Luke: We definitely sponsor quite a few athletes. Most notably would be Josh Bibby with his two Moment pro models, The Bibby and The Governor. KC Deane and Carston Oliver are two other amazing skiers who help us test a lot of skis and provide tons of input. These guys have just started to get some solid exposure the last two seasons and I think they are both highly underrated.
Whoâ€™s your target market?
Luke: The freeride ski market.
Did you have any lessons learned in the last yearÂ due to theÂ low snowfall?
Luke: Last season was definitely tough. A lot of our retailers went through a lot of hardships and are still going through them. This makes our cashflow tough since we are not backed by Mr. Coffee or some other large corporation. More planning and not over producing some models has been a factor going into the 13/14 season.
What are you most excited about in the upcoming season?
Luke: More ski days, new ski models, new high fives and new friends.
Who does the ski testingÂ and feedback for Moment?
Luke: Testing and design is usually done internally with our team. From there we get the skis out to friends and the general public for testing and feedback. We are looking into focus group testing with primates this spring.
Some have said that IÂ ski like one, so maybe I will have an edge to get into that select group 🙂
Do you have any demo days planned? If so where?
Luke: We are definitely doing a lot of demo days. Nothing is set in stone yet. Check out our website and facebook for updates.
Note: Moment does have demos at their factory in Reno.
Are you finding repeat customers coming back to add a different model to their quiver?
Luke: We have a ton of repeat customers. Its pretty amazing to see them come back year after year more stoked than ever.
Do you sell much to Europe or Australia/New Zealand or South America?
Luke: The Southern Hemisphere market isnt as big as you think but we definitely have distribution in Chile, New Zealand and a bit in Australia. The Europe market is huge but its hard to break into since all the big brands have been established there for years. Also, the market is more of a carver market but Freeride and Parks skiing a growing demographic.
Do you have a ski you are most excited about for this season?
Luke: The Deathwish. Dirty Mustache Rocker Technology.
No doubt, especiallyÂ after the DeathwishÂ receivedÂ a top 5 award fromÂ Powder MagazineÂ in theÂ 2012-13 All Mountain ski category.
It does not stop there as the Moment Jib receive the top honors in the Park & Pipe category. This really is not surprising as Moment has placed award winning skis the pastÂ few years in Powder Magazine, Freeskier Magazine, Backcountry MagazineÂ and Ski Canada.
Check out Moment skis on our Handmade & Independent ski page