The Making Of: Saba + Nia Pro Collab
We started this project with a simple question: “What is your dream ski?”
With a little help from modern day technology and Excel spreadsheets, we took feedback from every single Icelantic athlete and ambassador who shared a common thread: passion for well-built skis.Let’s rewind:
For years, founder Ben Anderson knew he wanted to make some sort of athlete pro-model ski. The question became, how do we differentiate ourselves from other pro-models out there? What can make the Icelantic Pro-Model unique and different, while also being a badass, charging ski? The answer made itself evident: collaboration.
So, we took the feedback from every google form and began to digest the data: what were the common themes? What were the favorite shapes? Profiles? Ideal underfoot width?
We took the data and broke it down, bit by bit and line by line, to start designing our athletes’ dream ski.
The team quickly realized that we needed to provide a mens and womens offering: one ski just wouldn’t fit the bill. So, we invited a focus-group of women’s athletes and men’s athletes to come spend a few days at Icey HQ in Golden to begin the development of the skis.
We spent a few days at HQ around the conference table first with the male athletes, and then the female athletes the following week.
What emerged from the hours spent around the conference table was truly remarkable to watch. The passion, collaboration, stoke, and excitement were all palpable in the room. Ultimately, and in no word of a lie, the two groups emerged wanting the same exact shape for the ski. So, The “Reflective Rocker” shape was born.
The groups then headed to the factory (Never Summer Industries in Denver, CO) with their ideas and worked with the team at Never Summer to play with the shapes, profiles, dimensions, and specs. This would ultimately decide the mold we needed to build.
It was decided by the groups that the men’s offering would be wider & beefier at 117 underfoot. The women wanted something that could float but also be narrow enough to maintain control, and ended up at 105 underfoot.
"This is the ski for women ready to get creative and playful on the mountain while also charging fast lines and catching air. I used this ski with various conditions at the resort and in the backcountry. 105 underfoot hits the sweet spot for width if you want a ski that can cross over from hard pack to fresh snow days. The stiff flex combined with the reflective rocker not only enables powerful carving and decreases chatter, but it also is a sure-fire design for stomping big airs without wheeling out." -- Icelantic Athlete, Amy David
Fast forward 6 months and we had prototypes ready to test and play with.
We invited the two groups back to Colorado as soon as the snow started to fall. After months of development at the factory, we had skis to test. Piled in the Icelantic Jeep, the squad headed to the factory to take a first look.
The next day we headed up the infamous i70 corridor to Icelantic’s home mountain, Loveland. It was November, so there were really only a few runs open, but it was snowing--hard. The groups spent lap after lap testing the skis.
After a few days of testing the athletes got together to discuss: What was working? What wasn't? What needed tweaking? Further refinements on both skis were made.
One of the most fun parts to witness was the groups of athletes working with Icey co-founder and artist, Travis Parr. The groups had full creative control of what they wanted on their top sheets, and collaborated with Parr to make those dreams come to life.
"With the Nia, which represents the seven sacred symbols of collaboration, the women sought to tell the story of community: “The most unique aspect to this process was connecting the Nia meaning "to bring the community back to its traditional greatness" with the artwork of a fireweed flower which is the first plant to repopulate the soil after fire adding nutrients and stability to the ecosystem. When we put our minds together toward a common goal, we too can build our communities up. The Nia is a ski for shredding hard and its concept represents a bigger picture of collaboration versus competition.” -- Icelantic Athlete, Amy David
With the Saba, which translates to the number of seven in Swahili, the men sought to tell a more mysterious story using geometric shapes and patterns, all connected through the number seven.
After months of hard work, round-table meetings and zoom calls, the Saba and Nia were complete and ready to show off at Outdoor Retailer 2020.
“We all found common ground in producing what we all feel like is one of the most amazing freeride skis to enter the market. Very proud to be a part of the development of the Icelantic Saba Pro.” -- Julian Carr
We couldn’t be more proud of the athletes and crew members who brought this ski to life. Get out there and get yourself on a pair!