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Bluehouse practically giving away skis

Blue House We had a tip about a crazy sale for all you ski junkies out there. A new home-grown, Utah-based ski company is launching a pre-season sale. With 9 days to go, we wanted to let you know so you could pre-register and score some great looking skis with flexible bamboo cores to satisfy your winter sessions. Interested in the sale and the company, we had an interview with Jared Richards, co-owner of BlueHouse:

5ones: We caught wind of your September 1 – September 14 pre-season sale. We think it is a great way to get your products on the mountain, but is it really wise for such a young company to basically give its skis away?

Bluehouse: Well our motivation for the company is a bit different from that of some of the larger corporate players. First, we don’t have to play by the same rules as many other companies in the industry since we are a private company operating on paychecks from each of our other jobs. We don’t have a huge financial backer that we have to please, so we really get to take this company in the direction we want. We created Bluehouse to produce skis lines in which skiers especially on a local level in Utah and neighboring states can have serious input into the designs and ultimate outcome of our skis. We want personal interaction with those on our products. We care more about people enjoying our products than we do about raking in loads of cash, so long as the money we do take in will allow us to cover our costs in addition to expanding our R&D and product lines. We have done our homework though and believe that based on the sale price we will be able to at least break even. We plan to continue to provide well designed and durable products at a reasonable cost even after the sale. The sale was conceived as a way to show our appreciation for those who believe in Bluehouse early on and to give many of those people how could not otherwise afford a new pair a chance to ride them, work them hard, and then let us know what they think. For us, we thought this a much superior method to providing demo days across the world.

5ones: Recently there has been a lot of news unveiling shoddy workmanship from Chinese manufacturers. How can Bluehouse sure that the same will not be said of its products?

Bluehouse: Although there are so many factors that will determine the overall outcome of a product, we are convinced that our manufacturing partner is competent, socially responsible, and is mature enough to prevent foreseeable defects. For starters, our Chinese manufacturer has been around for quite a while producing products in the snow sports industry most significantly snowboards. Furthermore, together with our manufacturing partner we provide quality controls at several levels beginning with the selection of materials, then after production, before finishing, and finally before shipping. Products we find unacceptable will not be delivered to our customers, even if that means us losing a sale. Furthermore, a Bluehouse representative personally visited the manufacturing facility to oversee some production, as well as to insure that the plant complied with labor and environmental laws and acceptable practices.

That said, we are very interested to see how our products hold up after 100 days of use. Although Adam and I skied on the Bluehouse prototypes last year, we know that there are lots of skiers out there with different styles and who put more time on their skis and can really put the skis to the test.

5ones: We understand that you recently had a group test your skis in Chile. How did that turn out?

Bluehouse: Yeah. Shane hooked up went with a few decent skiers, took our full ski fleet, and got a few reviews from a variety of skiers.

They went to Portillo and the ski conditions were mediocre while they were there. Especially since our skis are designed primarily for Utah conditions. The snow was either hard-pack, groomed, or slushy. They managed to find a few soft turns nonetheless. Regardless, we got a few people’s unbiased opinions about the skis.

5ones: Let’s talk about the skiers’ responses to the park skis first. What was the overall feeling about the MRs?

Bluehouse: Well, Shane was very clear with the skiers to tell him everything they thought, even if there was something they didn’t like. In spite of that, we got very little negative feedback about the MRs. It was everything they expected in a park ski. Basically, our testers raved the MRs flexibility and light weight. They felt great maneuverability and a lot of dampening on landings, although jumping was minimal with the conditions. Shane rode each of the skis for the first time as well. He was most impressed with the MRs for the way they handled the crud at fast speeds.

5ones: What about the Districts?

Bluehouse: The Districts are a little more complex and the reviews were more mixed. We had one rider who loved them from the moment he clicked in. He couldn’t get enough of them and made offers to buy our demo pair on the spot. He liked the bamboo performance. He spoke of enjoying the soft flex while stomping mediocre landings and floating through somewhat soft turns. He was also pleasantly surprised how well they held an edge at high speeds despite the way they hand flex. He never felt chatter from the charge. Then we had another skier who only took a few runs and wanted to switch out. He felt like they were too soft. I personally think it takes a few runs to adjust to the bamboo flex. When you learn to trust it, it provides a nice experience. Chile was Shane’s first time on the skis. He felt that they were soft until he learned to ski them after a couple of runs. After adjustment he was pumped on them. Shane rode them mounted at both traditional and more center-mounted settings and found the ride superior at the traditional mount.

5ones: So how do you feel about the upcoming season and Bluehouse skis?

Bluehouse: I think as long as we’re honest with our customers and the ski community, we’ll achieve our goal. That is to be a ski company for the ski community. This is our first year. Our company identity and product line are far from established. I’m excited to see the renditions, advancements, and additions we’ll make from this year to next and then the next. As far as we’re concerned, it’s all about what our skiers will want.

To register and to be notified for the pre-season sale, visit www.bluehouseskis.com.

Posted by Patrick on Thursday, August 23rd, 2007 in Snow.

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