In the world of big mountain skiing, Dean Cummings is a legend. He was the captain of the US Freestyle Ski Team, has hundreds of first descents to his name, has been featured in dozens of ski films and shows, and for years was a regular on the World Extreme Skiing Circuit (he won it in 1995). Now, as the owner, operator, and head guide of H20 Guides in Alaska’s Chugach, he has permits on the largest tract of heli-ski terrain in North America.
Since the beginning of his career, Cummings has had his hand in product design with some of the largest brands in the ski industry. Now he’s introducing his own skis, begining with three models this year.
In a market where boutique brands abound, we asked Cummings why we need another one. Cummings response: "Our skis allow skiers to ski all terrain and all conditions, including and especially hard snow, because they lay down. We wanted camber but we didn't want floppiness. We still wanted some rigidity and a ski that's lightweight, versatile, and durable. At the end of the day, you shouldn't need three pairs of skis when one should be able to do the job. My skis simplify the decision-making—you don’t need a quiver, you need a pair."
Cummings continues: “The way Steve Jobs approached Apple is how I've approached my heliskiing operation, and this launch into building my own skis. I want to get away from the trendy terms and tech talk and create a ski that breaks out of the mold of prevailing industry conventions. No matter how wide skis get, or how much reverse camber or reverse sidecut there is, you shouldn't have to lose the dynamic technique that high-performance skiing demands.”
Cummings skis are relatively light (weighing close to 3 pounds per ski for shorter all mountain skis; the fattest, longest big-mountain skis check in at 5 pounds per ski) and designed to handle the rigors of big Alaskan-style descents, while also making skiing fun and dynamic for the weekend warrior. The three models, named after Cummings wife, son, and daughter, each come in three lengths.
The Specs are below, or you could watch Dean himself explain what's going on with his skis here.
big mountain, all mountain, backcountry, resort
• Length 191cm: 165-133-149, Flex (7), Radius 26m, Weight 5 lbs single ski
• Length 181cm: 165-133-149, Flex (7), Radius 23m, Weight 4.09 lbs single ski
• Length 171cm: 165-133-149, Flex (7), Radius 20m, Weight 4.05 single ski
backcountry, big mountain, resort
Length 191 cm: 151-120-132.5, Flex (7), Radius 27.5m, Weight 5 lbs single ski
• Length 184 cm: 151-120-132.5, Flex (7), Radius 25m, weight 4.07 single ski
• Length 174 cm: 151-120-132.5, Flex (7), Radius 22m, weight 4.04 single ski
All mountain, Backcountry, Resort
• Length 191cm: 137-108-124, Flex (6), Radius 27m Weight 4.08 single ski
• Length 184cm: 137- 108- 124, Flex (6), Radius 25m Weight 4.02 single ski
• Length 174cm: 137-108-124, Flex (6), Radius 22m Weight 3.13 single ski
While the skis are available now ($900, h2og.com), we weren't able to test them out this past winter. We'll try to jump on some soon; stay tuned. In the meantime, watch Cummings rip it up below on his new boards in his latest film, The Steep Life, due out next fall.