When I first opened the Zai
web site I was greeted by a poem written by Leo Tour "In the beginning was the mountain". I was sure that I was going to learn about a new bottled water from the purist of mountain springs or possibly even a zen retreat. I was in fact entering a kind of temple, a secular one, where the worshipers follow not a god, but snow and a the sport of skiing.
The word Zai means "tough" in the little know dialect of Sursilvan which is spoken in the mountains of Switzerland and specifically in the town of Disentis where the Zai skis are crafted. As seems fitting, the town lies below an ancient Benedictine monastery. The personal dream of Simon Jacomet, who insists that his skis be made by people who have skiing and the mountains in their heart and soul, the company produces some of the finest and most technologically innovative ski equipment on the slopes. The skis are produced in a small and tightly controlled production plant using state of the art machinery and assembled by hand.
All of the Spada
skis are limited editions, only 111 pairs of each model are made. The newest innovation just out for this winter season is a special ski that uses a carbon-stone-technology with a rubber exterior. Zai was the first manufacturer in the world to use a stone core in their skis and is still trendsetting in their product development being the first to use a natural rubber surfacing. It is not just rhetoric that the skis are "of the mountain" as each pair has Grisons granite in the core of the ski. As with all carefully thought out designs the skis themselves are beautiful too, they will definitely not get lost in the pile on the ski racks outside the lodge at lunch.
Available in the United States exclusively at the high end winter sports retailer Gorsuch
whose stores in all the nicest ski areas of Colorado, such as Beaver Creek, Vail and Aspen, sell the Zai Spada skis for $5,900.00 a pair.