Skiing is not just a sport, it’s a way of life. (Otto Schniebs)
There is a fine red thread that links the beginnings of the best artisan companies. A thread that unites passion to manufacture with strong feelings such as esteem and friendship. This is true for many Italian companies including Zero Ski.
Zero Ski was founded in 2011. In its workshop in the heart of the Alps, capable artisans create unique skis using the traditional sandwich structure, 100% customisable and made to last.
Today, Claudio Valsecchi is responsible for marketing and sales, and in between his various duties he is also in charge of closing new contracts with fashion and luxury brands to create limited edition dual-brand skis. Andrea Bonacina is in charge of the technical side of things, looking for new ideas to give life to a unique collection but at the same time looking after clients’ individual made-to-measure requests. And it was Andrea that we met.
Three shapes for the Zero Ski collection:RACE CARVER for track purists on the piste, ALL MOUNTAIN for use on and off-piste, FREE RIDE for for extreme off-piste experiences.
How did Zero Ski start?
The idea came from a strong passion for skiing, and an equally strong friendship. Claudio and I wanted to do something together, so in 2011 we thought “why not make artisanal skis?” The concept was missing not only in the Italian market but elsewhere too. After a year of research we realised that even around the world there weren’t any customisable skis either structurally or aesthetically, which in our case is characterised by natural products and not screen-printed like others. Then we found the artisans, one of whom has been making skis by hand for 30 years.
What does “Made-in-Italy” mean to you?
A guarantee of quality, that gives a product that something extra that only Italians can give: elegance and beauty. For example the Zero Lignum ski is a timeless ski, something that reminds those who use it of Italian style. We are particularly proud when clients from abroad buy our skis without trying them and then send us positive feed-back, appreciating the quality and the materials selected.
Can you tell us of a champion who has had made-to-measure Zero skis?
We have made skis for Flavio Roda, president of the Italian ski federation an expert and Alberto Tomba’s ex-coach. Not being tied by contracts, Flavio still tours in the world cup with our skis.
Every ski has a “race running” surface, smoothed with diamond points that produce a pattern on the underside of the ski. Even after 450 days of intense use Zero Skis don’t show any visible signs of change.
I remember an Armenian professional amongst our clients who was so taken by our skis, that he had some made and now keeps them as something special. He sends them back to us every season to service, because he doesn’t trust anyone else. The stories that I like are the challenges that we overcame, such as making skis in slate. The union between ski that is a dynamic element and stone that is an absolutely static element, is one challenge that we overcame by using layers of slate. Zero Sten is definitely a unique product. Something else that I have enjoyed over the past eight years has been the collaborating with other Italian excellences from Stefano Ricci and the Florentine men’s fashion maison, to Simonetta Ravizza at Stone Island. These collaborations showed us the best of “Made-in-Italy”, made of design, artisanship, technology and beauty. Values that are a common denominator.
How do you see yourself in a few years’ time?
The real challenge is to hold on to the principles that we had when we started. We’re not interested in increasing our production because our capacity is limited by our values: if we increased our production we probably wouldn’t be able to keep the customising service, our direct contact with our clients or the uniqueness of each ski. We started out with this dream and we want to continue to dream and make others dream too.