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Sculpting Skiing Experiences

The Art of Crafting Folsom Custom Skis

Article by Kailey Beuerlein

Photography by Amanda Proudfit

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

In the heart of the snow covered Rockies, where passion for powder meets craftsmanship, Folsom Custom Skis stands as a testament to the fusion of artistry and precision. Owner Mike McCabe CO-founded Folsom Custom Skis in November 2008, and has been on a journey through the slopes and the workshop ever since. 

A Colorado native, Mike grew up skiing in the Rocky Mountains starting at age 2. After skiing in the CU Boulder Freestyle Program, he recognized his desire to ski bigger, more natural lines, and pivoted to the freeride scene. Staying close to the ski world, Mike met CO-founder Jordan Grano in Boulder, where they started building skis in Jordan’s garage in 2007 just off Folsom Street (hence the name). Creating skis for the past 17 years and in business for 15, Mike is now operating out of a 10,000 square foot private manufacturing facility.

“I have built this facility for over a decade, and we remain one of only a handful of manufacturers in the ski and snowboard space manufacturing in the USA with every process under one roof,” says Mike. In doing so, they can maintain their approach and ethos. “Making custom skis is extremely complicated and requires a lot of equipment and know-how. I didn’t want to rely on any outsourcing, so we could maintain the absolute highest, best quality, while maintaining an eco-friendly footprint.”

Building about 1,000 skis a year, the team at Folsom Custom Skis takes an unbelievable amount of pride in each and every ski. “We strive to change the paradigm of how outdoor products are built and delivered,” says Mike. As skis are typically built overseas and in massive quantities with unethical practices, collaborating with Folsom Custom Skis not only guarantees unparalleled craftsmanship, but also ensures an ethical and reliable partnership that reflects their commitment to sustainability and customer satisfaction.

Working with the team to design and create your dream skis is another fun and memorable experience in itself. “The product we build is tailored to the end user creating a much better user experience and customer support,” says Mike. “You will have a ski that has more personality to it, and something that you can use to grow quicker as a skier, as they will feel better and last longer.” 

With a small core team consisting of Christian Downing (Chief Engineer), Bailey Ashe (Production Manager), Erin Hurd (Graphic Design), Alden Kiarsis (Production Technician), Max Pugh (Production Technician) and Ryan Prentice (Web developer/graphic designer), Mike knows that finding good people is the key of running a successful small business. “The ski industry is shiny from the outside and has a lot of people that want to get involved,” he says. “Our team is dialed in. We keep our crew small so we can be ultra efficient and make this work in the long term.”

To see the benefits of buying local and custom, the proof is in the pudding. By choosing Folsom, their team gets to know your style, targets, and ultimately, you. They have three tiers to get skis: Retail ( they have their own retail program as well as Powder 7 out of Golden), Semi-Custom (brought back for the ‘24/’25 season) and Full-Custom (ideal for customers unsure on where to start, or looking for a highly customized/personalized graphic set). Typically, custom configurations require around two weeks for production once all elements of the build are assembled and ready to go. 

While creating custom skis for local clientele, the Folsom team also builds a lot of niche, powder specific skis, and this season have partnered with some of the coolest pow access organizations out there: Chugach Powder Guides out of Girwood, AK and Keefer Lake Lodge out of Kelwona, BC. “We are doing demo fleets for both, and will have some of the most amazing powder skis to try out through them!” says Mike. “We are also releasing a specific ski developed for deep, deep, deep heli access, called Rotor,” he says, the product released at the end of January.

On top of their custom creations, the team at Folsom is consistently generating fresh ski designs and ideas to cater to the evolving needs of their clientele. The most exciting innovation of the ‘24/’25 season? The Junior Trade Program. The program, ready to launch publicly next year, targets kids from ages 6-7, and allows enrollment until ages 13-14. The program will offer premium skis and bindings that the kids can use for the season to be returned at the end of the year, at $250. “This particular age group is the most underserved group in skiing,” Mike says. “And above that, these kiddos are growing fast, so it is likely that they’ll outgrow their skis in one year.” What started out internally for friends and family a couple of years ago has turned into a full-blown program due to the unbelievably positive response from both parents and kids. “The kids are stoked on the skis, and the parents are stoked on the price,” Mike says. “We will have about 100 pairs of skis available in the program next season.” 

Through exploring the innovation and art that defines Folsom Custom Skis, it’s clear that Mike’s small, but mighty team aligns with every skier’s aspiration: to get out on the mountains as quickly, safely and as confidently as possible. “Quality counts,” says Mike. In this realm where precision merges with passion, Folsom Custom Skis transcends mere branding; it stands as a pledge to provide an unparalleled skiing adventure, where skillful craftsmanship and unwavering commitment converge for the ultimate slope experience.