When we first conceived the idea of Denali almost 10 years ago, we did not know where it would take us. We started with an idea that if we could figure out how to iterate our ski design ideas quickly (in terms of days or weeks), that we could leapfrog an industry that iterates slowly (in terms of months or years). That led us to build our first CNC mill on a shoestring budget that was just big enough to cut a mold, and to figure out what materials were cheap and would work well enough to make prototype ski molds. The first ski was Version 1.0, and it was based on a modified Sixam we had hand shaped. Since then, we have tested theory after theory by cutting more than 60 prototype molds.
We weren’t really sure where all this iteration would take us, but we bet that having the ability to design and test ideas quickly would lead us to something better than what other ski manufacturers had to offer. We looked everywhere we could think of for inspiration: race boats, surfboards, fighter jets, sailboats, snow skis, submarines, rockets...the list continues to grow. We tried some really out of the box ideas in those early days, with some skis being unbelievably bad, and others surprisingly good. The important thing then was that we were learning as we went, and the skis started getting better and better.
That leads us to what we have been working on this past year, starting with ski Version 8.0 and culminating in Version 8.5, also known as the Denali c85. We’ve continued to take an holistic approach to the 8.5 design philosophy:
Starting with the lift distribution, we have made several key design decisions that make the 8.5 more stable, while also being more powerful than any ski we have tested before. We do this by concentrating both the lift distribution center as well as the induced drag peak at the same place, under the toes and ball of the front foot. This gives incredible positive feedback to the skier, allowing them to feel the ski’s lift center and drive into it as needed to create a powerful turn and build angle at will. This also takes away the ability of the tip and tail of the ski to disrupt the pitch angle though the turn, even when the skier is out of position or too far forward or back.
This induced drag profile causes the ski to keep building angle and speed all the way into the wakes, making the amount of time and space it takes to get from turn apex to the course centerline blisteringly fast. This of course sets the ski up to run a very early line and have maximal time and space before the next buoy.
Another aspect that goes along with the lift distribution is the rocker pattern, with more rocker through the tip and tail than previous iterations. More rocker in the tip makes the ski more forgiving to skier movement in the turn, and more rocker in the tail allows the tail to keep slipping even while sitting deep in the water. This dynamic makes for a hyper-stable turn that feels very planted without getting stuck, and it allows the skier to get away with a less than ideal body position.
Lastly is the flex, which complements the lift and drag profile, giving the skier maximum support where the lift forces will be at their highest, and allowing the ski to flex as needed in times where more rocker is needed to relieve pressure on the bottom of the ski. This allows the ski to stay down through the turn through higher loads when needed by letting the ski rotate in front of the skier through the turn, letting the induced drag do its job of keeping the line tight.
Understanding waterskiing is an incredibly complex challenge, and we hope that we have made at least some progress in pushing the limit of what is possible in the sport.
The c85 is now shipping in all sizes. We have a 14 day demo/return policy and we have expanded to 5 sizes, XS, S, M, L and XL. All skis are 65.5” long, and each size progresses in width in 0.1” increments. Skis come standard with our custom 6061 anodized aluminum fin block, a RFF or LFF specific 7075 anodized aluminum CG Fin, anodized aluminum wing, and brass corrosion resistant inserts. The insert pattern fits all modern bindings available. Place your order today at Denaliskis, or visit Trophy Lakes in Charleston, SC to demo a ski.