This is the test every Peak ski must pass


Behind every pair of Peak Skis is an unmatched attention to detail, signed off on by a trained staff person in our warehouse.

At the Peak warehouse in Bozeman, Montana, an operations team of four people inspects each ski—tip to tail; base to topsheet—to guarantee the skis live up to Peak’s value-driven promise of performance, innovation, and precision.

Alex Ford, Peak’s operations manager, says the job suits him. “I like being hands on,” he says. “I’ve done almost every trade job.” The same is true for the rest of the people on Ford’s team—one person’s father worked as a ski technician on the World Cup, another is an engineer, another worked the trades back East before moving to Montana.

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Ford once owned a painting company. He worked at a glass blowing factory. But his path took an arc to ski manufacturing and quality control when he took a job at a small, boutique ski builder in Seattle, where he first crossed paths with Bode Miller. That connection eventually led Ford to running point on operations in Peak’s warehouse, which is a job that requires a hands-on attention to detail, a pride for the company, and a passion for quality.

Thanks to the years he’s spent with that small ski builder, Ford has the experience to know exactly what to look for when he’s receiving freshly pressed and finished skis from Peak’s European manufacturing partner. Before a pair of skis goes to a customer, Ford and the team inspect them with true bars, micrometers, and seasoned eyes.

The attention to detail behind every pair of Peak Skis

The first months of the year were a busy time for Ford. His department oversees all handling and receiving, as well as shipping and order fulfillment. But in between the coming and going, Ford and his small team—they call themselves Ski Team Four—make sure that every pair of skis gets some personal attention.

“The biggest thing with our QC process—we’re trying to get a perfect pair of skis out to the customer,” says Ford.

The first thing Ford looks for during the Quality Control process are any visual blemishes or defects on the ski. “That’d be anything on the top sheet,” he said. “There might be printing issues, so ink spots, or misalignment of the print, dimples, dents, bubbles from the layout process.”

Then his eyes turn to build quality, from tip to tails, to the edges, to the base of the ski. He’s making sure the ski is “seated” correctly, meaning it’s constructed nice and tight. Sometimes he’ll find a slight edge gap that hasn’t been filled with resin. Even a millimeter between the base material and the edge can cause trouble. “A gap is a surefire way to have someone rip out an edge because there’s something that a little rock could grab,” Ford said. Any ski with that kind of defect in its construction gets intercepted in the quality control process before it could ever reach a customer.

It takes about 10 minutes to inspect each pair of skis that arrive at the Peak warehouse. Once the skis have passed the quality control test, Ford takes a gummy stone to take off any burrs or tarnish that were left on the ski’s edges during the manufacturing process. The skis also come pre-waxed, so he makes sure to buff the them with a brush and “give it a really nice finish.”

The Final Touch

The Peak crew takes pride in attention to detail and they’re all about building a strong connection with customers. So when Ford or a member of his team completes the QC process, they’ll sign and date a sticker that’s attached to the ski before it’s shipped. “It shows that this was hand-QC’d by one of our people,” says Ford.

Ford and the operations crew spent most of this winter logging long hours in the warehouse, up to 120 hours a week, just fulfilling the orders from Peak’s big end of season sales. So a few weeks ago, when the big push eased off, they had more than earned their turns at Bridger Bowl.

That day at Bridger was classic bluebird with five inches of creamy soft snow and almost nobody on the hill. Ford and his team are all ripping skiers, but they don’t carry any elitist attitude. They’re here because they love skis. But skis are a means to end. At Peak, the whole point of spending so much time fine-tuning the gear is to deliver a worthwhile experience on the mountain.