Founded by Pete Saari and Mike Olson, Lib Tech has been in business since 1988. While the brand made a name for itself with its popular snowboards, you may not be as familiar with its innovative skis, or “Narrow Ass Snowboards (NAS),” as they’ve been called since 2008. The NAS label couldn’t sum up the company’s carefree and fun mentality any better.
￼￼The duo grew up die-hard skiers, but they began developing snowboards in the late 70’s for the added flotation in the deep snowpack of the Pacific Northwest. Through the years, design innovations like Magne-Traction gave the boards a hardpack advantage, too. Soon, the pair’s skiing buddies at Mt. Baker took notice of the inventive designs, and requested Lib Tech bring similar advances to ski design.
“Skiing’s always been in their hearts,” says Lib Tech team manager Jesse Burtner of Saari and Olson. So, it came as no surprise when they jumped into ski development, keen to expand the brand and get back to their roots.
In addition to working with Bland, the company then partnered with the late greats, Jamie Pierre and Timy Dutton on research and development. In Saari’s words, Lib Tech was, “a pioneer in implementing dynamic early rise rocker and camber combinations in skis, featuring both flat and rockered lifts.” Those early experimentations became the inspiration for the next wave of design innovations for Lib Tech.
Enter reCurve technology. All-Terrain reCurve is featured in Lib Tech’s more jib-oriented skis, with traditional camber underfoot and a flat profile in the tips and tails for better turn initiation and a stable platform. Powder reCurve utilizes rockered tips and tails with camber underfoot for maximized float, a widely adopted construction among today’s powder skis.
The profiles are built in harmony with Magne-Traction—a serrated ski edge, much like a steak knife. The construction yields a more pronounced bevel underfoot, where the skier’s center of gravity is. The result: an elongated point of contact with the snow for better edge control and power. An added bonus for freeskiers: Magne-Traction allows you to leave your skis detuned for rail skiing, while the serrated edge will still give optimal carve for the hardpack, pipe or hitting jumps.
Today, Lib Tech builds its skis in the company’s factory in Sequim, Washington, on the western shore of Puget Sound; the brand utilizes its location near the peaks of Olympic National Park as an ideal testing ground.
“[The builders] just whip up these skis and go up to Hurricane Ridge [Ski Area],” says Burtner. “They drive from the factory straight up into the mountains. You can, and they have, make a pair of skis and ski them the same day.”
While Pierre and Dutton provided much input in their time, team riders Tory Bland, Lucas Wachs and Colby Albino now carry the torch, working with Lib Tech to refine tech advancements, testing product year-round both in the terrain park and the Pacific Northwest backcountry. Burtner explains that, “we’re getting the message out there, slowly but surely,” and that continued success will lie in simply getting more skiers on those darn Narrow-Ass Snowboards. From there, the product should speak for itself.
“The Lib Tech NAS Backwards skis feature a twin freestyle shape and is a little wider and a little shorter, for extra fun. The mild…” Click for full review.
“The ideal tool for powder skiing. The Lib Tech POW skis feature Rocker entry reCurve and Magne-Traction, with a versatile pow…” Click for full review.
“The Lib Tech Fully Functional Five skis are all parts powder freestyle. Featuring Rocker entry reCURVE and Magne-Traction, the ski ensures good times all the time and has…” Click for full review.