WNDR Intention 110: A New, Innovative Backcountry Ski

Photo courtesy of WNDR-alpine.com

WNDR Intention 110: A New, Innovative Backcountry Ski

About WNDR

There’s a new outdoor brand out there that’s making backcountry skis in a radically different way: WNDR Alpine. The Salt Lake City brand was born out of a few ski industry veterans’ frustrations with the industry’s reliance on petroleum based materials. They wanted to do things differently, to make better performing backcountry skis out of renewable resources with a smaller carbon footprint. But at the time, suppliers didn’t offer any materials that fit the bill. They found a solution by joining Checkerspot, a materials startup using biotechnology to create materials with new performance characteristics. Equipped with cutting edge biotech and decades of ski building experience, they took it upon themselves to create a bio-based composite that became the building block for their skis. After rigorous materials development and ski prototyping, WNDR Alpine was born.

Innovative Tech

How do you create a better ski?

WNDR says better ingredients. The ski industry is dependent on large scale suppliers for materials like carbon fiber, wood, and plastic. Materials that were never created with ski performance in mind, according to the folks at WNDR. So instead of relying on the same petroleum based products that wreak havoc on the environment, they teamed up with the scientists at Checkerspot to create a new composite from algae. 

So how does this work?

The process begins by growing microalgae in fermentation tanks (similar to brewing beer). The algae are fed sugar, and in turn, produce oil that becomes the building block for the ski materials. Scientists use these oils to create composites that are customized to specific ski performance. Here’s what all that freedom of design means for your ski – “The result was a backcountry ski with better stability, less chatter, and better torsional stiffness, all at a competitive weight to similar skis on the market.”

Photo courtesy of WNDR-alpine.com
Just a little more in depth than the old hand-flex test. Mechanical engineer and Director of MFG, Daniel Malmrose, evaluates a prototype Intention 110. Salt Lake City, UT. Photo: Carson Meyer (@carsonmeyerphoto) courtesy of WNDR-alpine.com

Better for the Environment

By now we know that making skis from microalgae has performance benefits, but does it do anything to benefit the environment that we all love to play in? You bet. Here’s why WNDR’s algae composite outshines frequently used petroleum based products:

  • Renewable, biological resource
  • Less land and water use than other bio-based oils
  • Small carbon footprint
  • High yield for little input

And WNDR doesn’t stop there. They ship all of their skis in reusable packaging and offer a takeback program at the end of the skis life. When you send your skis back to WNDR at the end of the ski’s life they do one of the following:

  1. Refurbish and find them a new home
  2. Deconstruct and re-use parts of the internal materials
  3. Upcycle the skis

In all cases, they inspect the worn skis and utilize the data to help them improve their manufacturing process and ultimately the ski’s performance.

Nonetheless, WNDR stays modest about their environmental impact. “It’s an incremental process where performance comes first, ” Xan Marshland, WNDR’s Manager of Brand Development says. “We’re targeting all aspects of a ski’s construction and considering how we can utilize new materials to boost each component’s performance. And since we engineer these materials from a renewable resource, we can reduce our reliance on petroleum at the same time.”

Made in the USA

There are a lot of things that set WNDR apart from the crowd. One being that their skis are proudly made in the USA. First, the bio-based composites are developed in Berkeley, CA. Then, the raw materials head to Salt Lake City where they are transformed into skis at WNDR’s Design Lab. 

Intention 110 – The Ski

Their first ski is the Intention 110, named after the intentional design that starts on a molecular level. It’s a ripping backcountry ski that can take on all kinds of conditions, in part because the materials are designed for it. It has the stability of a beefier ski at a weight that rivals the best “fast and light” skis out there. 

There are a few notable features of this ski’s design. It has a semi-cap sidewall that provides a nice balance of stability, durability, and energy transmission. The sidecut profile lends feelings of buoyancy and nimbleness to the ski. The best part is that you get to choose the camber profile you like best: camber or reverse camber. All in all, this ski is remarkably light on the uphill and wildly fun on the way down.

Photo courtesy of WNDR-alpine.com
Bridger Range, MT. FOW: Matt Sterbenz // Photo: Carson Meyer (@carsonmeyerphoto) courtesy of WNDR-alpine.com
Intention 110Tech Specs
Price$799
Dimensions136-110-128mm
Turn radius 185cm – 22.5m
Weight178cm – 1750g/ski
185cm – 1800g/ski
192 cm – 1900g/ski
Core ConstructionAspen, Paulownia, Checkerspot™ Algal Composite
Rocker TypeRocker-Camber-Rocker, Reverse Camber

Trail Tested: The Verdict at TMS

I ski the Intention 110 in the 185 Reverse Camber. What I really enjoy about the ski is its lively nature – I want to pop off every little roll and bump, and the landing is always smooth. The ski has enough flat profile under the feet to hold traction while skinning, but with the reverse camber profile overall floats through powder incredibly well, and turns on a dime!

Johannes

Want more reviews? Click here to read What Skiers Are Saying Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 on WNDR’s blog.

Will Howard playing in his Colorado backyard. Summit County, CO. Photo: @glevity courtesy of WNDR-alpine.com

Call us at (530)536-5200 or email [email protected] to shop the WNDR Intention 110 at Tahoe Mountain Sports.



Siobhan works at Tahoe Mountain Sports and currently manages TMS blog content. She loves everything about living in the mountains, from snowy winter days on skis to the hot, dusty trails of the Sierra's in the summer. Favorite activities include skiing, trail running and backpacking.


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