WNDR Alpine launches the Reason 120 backcountry ski with new material properties and greater biobased content
July 8, 2021
Salt Lake City ski brand demonstrates that moving away from petroleum can make our favorite outdoor products perform better
Salt Lake City, Utah – WNDR® Alpine, – the pioneering outdoor brand launched as part of advanced materials company Checkerspot – unveiled its new ski lineup today, complete with improved material properties, increased biobased content, and a new, powder-focused backcountry shape: the Reason 120.
WNDR Alpine’s innovation lies in cutting edge product design merged with advanced materialscreated through biotechnology. Using industrial scale biomanufacturing techniques andmaterials science, Checkerspot grows microalgae to produce renewable, biobased oils, which ituses to design materials to deliver against the unique performance demands of backcountryathletes.
New for the 21/22 season is the Reason 120, which WNDR Alpine positions as its mostpowder-oriented ski yet. With a 120mm waist, heavily rockered tips and tails, and a 20m turnradius, the ski is engineered to provide effortless buoyancy and response in soft snow. Theperformance offered by the ski’s unique shape is amplified by an increased proportion ofperformance-focused biobased materials in the ski’s layup.
“As soon as I joined Checkerspot, I always knew I wanted to create a ski like this,” said PepFujas, professional skier and WNDR Alpine’s VP of Marketing and Product Development.“Although it may look like a one trick pony to the uninitiated, I have personally been amazed bythe capability enabled by the materials in the ski, whether it’s a deep powder day or not. So I’mincredibly proud to unveil a ski that I’ll be skiing day-in, day-out through the middle of winter.”
Like WNDR Alpine’s Vital 100 and Intention 110 skis, the Reason features the brand’sproprietary Algal Core, a composite of domestically sourced aspen and high density algal foam,which improves torsional stiffness and strength to weight ratio throughout the ski.
For the 21/22 season, the Reason, Vital, and Intention feature WNDR Alpine’s updated AlgalWall, a new biobased polyurethane sidewall formulation designed to provide increasedperformance over traditional materials when incorporated into a backcountry ski. Keyinnovations include:
- Over twice the vibration absorption (damping) capabilities than traditionalpetroleum-based ski sidewall materials, including ABS and petroleum-based PU.● A liquid casting process during fabrication, which results in almost no excess materialwaste going to the landfill.
- Significantly better durability under impact than the original 20/21 Algal Wall formulation.
- An increase from 58.41% to 67.89% total biobased content.
“The 21/22 Algal Wall is a big step forward in our mission to optimize our materials for greaterski performance and longevity, while simultaneously reducing our products’ reliance onpetroleum inputs,” said Dr. Charles Rand, Checkerspot’sManager of Material Science andApplications Development. “It’s also a great proofpoint that shows what you can do when youhave the capability to prototype and iterate rapidly under one roof. With biologists, polymerscientists, engineers, product designers, and athletes all working together on the same project,you can make rapid improvements to the materials used in your products year over year.”
“The best part for me is that we have the opportunity to control the properties to meet the highdemands of ski performance, which is virtually impossible when you are grabbing off the shelfmaterials,” added WNDR Alpine’s founder and Checkerspot’s GM of Wintersports MattSterbenz. “The Reason 120 has not only allowed our biobased materials to shine, but hastaught us a lot about how to utilize them, and of course, share them with others across productcategories and industries. Having multiple formulations with different properties showcases theflexibility of the Checkerspot platform. This journey has just begun!”
Checkerspot is a B Corp™ certified company that designs performance materials at a molecular level. It does this by optimizing microbes to biomanufacture unique structural oils produced in nature, but not previously accessible at commercial scale. The company is currently commercializing three materials: a light-weight urethane-based composite (Algal Core) and a cast urethane (Algal Wall), both commercialized initially through the brand WNDR® Alpine, as well as algal oil formulated into MiDori® BioWick and sold in partnership with Beyond Surface Technologies to clothing brands worldwide. Checkerspot empowers product designers and innovators, including Beyond Surface Technologies, Gore and WNDR Alpine, with better materials to develop improved consumer and B2B applications for a post-petroleum future.