FullSend Ski Co is South Dakota’s premier ski manufacturer
Growing up in the Stone Plains, South Dakota, Doug Bachand was not exactly a born skier. But why would that stop him? by Bachand FullSend Ski Co, influenced by independent giants like Moment and LINE, is starting to make waves in the ski community. Its softer flexes are designed to extract every drop of pleasure from the small hills of the Midwest. But as a manufacturer of custom skis, Bachand can adapt any flex to his few shapes, which he is constantly refining. Working from a 240 square foot closet, FullSend Ski Co is a serious passion project, and the end products – a line that includes a mono-ski and snowlerblades – are pretty darn intriguing.
Bachand didn’t see himself as a natural builder, but his days tinkering with Legos as a child resulted in a mechanical mind, and after high school he went to South Dakota School of Mines to study mechanical engineering. He quickly discovered that mechanical engineers only design pieces of machines. Frustrated, he began to dive deep into forums like SkiBuilders and resources like Newschoolers ski construction wire. Going from his major to industrial engineering has become an obvious choice. There Bachand learned about complete production lines, quality control, and manufacturing safety and efficiency.
Attracted by unique shapes and geometries, Bachand has found himself collecting skis over the years. His favorite pairs included LINE’s Mr. Pollard’s Opus, the former Moment Bibby Pro, Atomic’s BentChetler and the Nightingale Sickle. He has been trying to merge the design elements of these skis for years. If you think, what is a man doing on Terry Peak with 115mm powder skis? Well, they are his daily driver. Bachand skis with a deeply sagging hip, and he finds these fat skis sculpt as well as skinny boards when you put them down. all the way. “I once put on a pair of skis at 88 feet and dug so deep my boot hit the snow and kicked off,” he says.
Bachand began to develop skis unique to his style and that of his native slope. He found that wide, soft powder skis were a lot more fun to ski fast than a rigid loader was to ski slowly. He wanted shapes that were home for sculpting, buttering, jumping on rollers and skiing, which led him to design with the local cadre of deviant SD skiers who frequented Terry’s shop. The green bases may be a tribute to ON3P, which helped Bachand get started, but don’t think of them as a knockoff. FullSend Ski Co works in small batches because it’s just Doug, who makes about two to four pairs of skis a week in his closet at home.
Another signature element is the wood veneer top sheets. Bachand started printing on plastic, but quickly found a local source of high quality wood veneer in Rapid City. By sourcing his materials so close to home, he is able to hand select the best pieces of veneer they have available and paint or engrave images to suit the buyer. So far he’s done mountain views and even WallStreetBets Reddit memes.
But perhaps the most exciting part of FullSend is Doug’s willingness to explore and expand into new forms. First, he did a mono-ski; then, encouraged by artist and skier Cy Whitling, Bachand dove into the blades of ski touring. “Cy wanted to go on really long tours out of Jackson, Wyoming, and found the ultralight skimo setups didn’t ski as well as he wanted. He figured if we took a very stiff and light ski and just cut it in half, it might create a better downhill experience.
Bachand squeezed a few pairs of blades, including a full carbon setup with a dovetail and a really thick shovel to help it float, and took them to the Beartooth range this summer to test them out. Initially questionable, he was blown away by their ability to handle poor snow conditions. They spread like wildfire. “My workshop is currently full of blades at different stages of the finishing process,” explains Bachand. “I get messages every day from people about their enthusiasm for blades and skis. Extremely heartwarming to see, I am very grateful to them.
The biggest challenge in starting a ski business? Setting. Building a pair of skis from scratch is a different game than getting a good basic grind and tuning them. A good set-up out of the box can make or break the ski. Bachand didn’t start selling the skis until he found the correct factory setting. After making sure they would stick together and go smoothly, he started his business thoroughly.
Next, Bachand wants to get big enough to hire more people and start giving back to the local South Dakota ski community. “We don’t have the biggest or the toughest mountains here, but the locals are constantly thrilled and it’s a great community to ride with,” he says. “I really want more people to fall in love with skiing like I did. It’s a great sport for everyone.
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