WSD sells only customized skis, so take this review as an indicator of the potential of the ski (and the brand) instead of a definitive review. I arranged to test a demo version of the Amalgamate, a stiff, 100 mm underfoot, double rockered model in their line.
WSD Custom Skis (renamed from WuBanger) was started about seven years ago by a passionate skier/engineer named Howard Wu. The company has team athletes at its disposal. In my opinion, it’s NICE to have endorsements of pros but more importantly, these folks can provide feedback to the manufacturer about the design (does the ski work for its intended purpose?), construction (does it hold up?) and feel (is this a tool I want to use?).
I picked up the Amalgamates in a 175 cm length and got a few days of skiing them but only after the mountain was tracked out. Despite not being able to take them into soft powder, I got a good taste of them on slick groomed runs, soft bumps and the bit of leftover cut up crud 2-3 days after the storm. My take is these are really nice “all mountain” skis. Like any well-designed double rockered 100 mm ski, they have a nice feel in all soft conditions. I’ll guess they’re serviceable in a good amount of powder. But, what I really liked is their edge hold on slick groomed runs late in the day, especially when they’re freshly tuned. (To be honest, they could have benefitted from a bit of edge sharpening late the second day. But I always retune my skis whenever necessary with an edge file, so this wouldn’t be a deal killer for me. IMO, every serious skier and boarder should learn how to sharpen their edges and change the base-edge angle since any ski can be improved when properly babied.)
But, DAMN, these had a nice solid feel on hardpack. I could really crank into the turn, either tipping-and-ripping or simply jamming the forward edge into the snow with the front of my boots and feeling the back of the sidecut follow around. They would also release from the snow when called for, a highly admirable trait in my opinion. The skis also felt solidly built. I noticed this demo pair had a bit of edge chipping on the tops, but the chipping was controlled in a way where I felt confident these things would hold up to a hard pounding. They were heavy in spite of having no metal other than the edge (maybe due to the demo bindings) and a shade less damp than some other skis I’ve tried or own. However, that’s the way this pair was built – lots of poplar for, well, pop. The beauty is I could order skis with more ash, which would add damping although with a bit more weight. Incidentally, WSD uses the same piece of poplar for all four edges for consistency, matching flex from edge to edge and ski to ski. A nice touch.
The folks at WSD clearly know what they’re doing. If you have a chance, give the brand a look see and try some demos. And if you’re flush with cash and want a custom pair of boards, add WSD to your short-list of options.
Availability and Price: Full custom pairs (starting from the ground up) starts at $2,000; semi custom (pick from 80 different shapes and customized flex and help with top-sheet) for $1,000. Demos are used to test shapes. The process takes about 4 weeks, including customer input.