24.01.2023 | Sustainability, Advanced Manufacturing | Reading-time: 2 min
Unique skis developed by Swiss Massiv are recyclable
Doppleschwand - The ski factory Swiss Massiv manufactures skis made from wood, bamboo and aluminum laminate that are 80 percent recyclable. The flexible bamboo on the edges of the wood core is designed to benefit the performance of the skis out on the slopes. Swiss Massiv has won the Swiss Mountain Aid innovation award for this technology.
René Unternährer manufactures around 200 to 300 pairs of skis that leverage the benefits of natural fibers and are 80 percent recyclable per year at the Swiss Massiv factory in Lower Entlebuch in the canton of Lucerne. Each pair of skis is unique and is tailored to the individual needs and abilities of the skier.
Unternährer developed these skis across a period of two years together with Mateusz Wielopolski, an expert in sustainable materials. The elastic bamboo on the edges of the wood core should have a positive effect on the performance of the skis out on the slopes. “Bamboo is flexible but stable”, explains Wielopolski, adding that: “There is energy in it that is transferred to the performance of the skis”. In order to improve the ecological footprint of the bamboo, which was previously sourced from China, a supplier based in southern Europe is now being sought. Unternährer and Wielopolski are currently working on the development of fully recyclable skis.
For this development, Swiss Mountain Aid and the InnovationsTransfer Zentralschweiz (ITZ) association awarded Swiss Massiv the Innovation Award 2022, which comes with prize money of 15,000 Swiss francs. According to an ITZ report presenting this year’s winners, Kurt Zgraggen, Managing Director of Swiss Mountain Aid, considers this to be “a great idea that perfectly reflects the zeitgeist”. He goes on to state that it would not come as a surprise if, in a few years’ time, the world’s best skiers end up showing the competition how it’s done using the bamboo technology developed by Unternährer and Wielopolski.
Unternährer explained in an article by the newspaper “Luzerner Zeitung” that the award is “huge recognition of our pioneering work” that “also proves that other people believe in the technology”.