If you’re spending a day lapping the terrain park or getting towed into hits on handrails, you’re going to need a pair of skis that will stand up to the abuse. Making those skis was Harrison Goldberg’s plan when he and partner Connor Gaetta teamed up to create HG skis. The goal: make the most durable park ski available.
The two met in 2007 at the University of Vermont. Both were mechanical engineering students who spent their downtime skiing. “I spent way too much time on my skis,” Goldberg, now 26, remembers. “I would sit down to do homework and still be thinking about skiing.”
Goldberg made his first pair of skis on a homemade press while a freshman and would take the prototypes to Sugarbush to test. Goldberg managed to bash his skis beyond recognition, but he noticed other’s skis weren’t faring much better: tips were blowing out and the edges were cracking underfoot. This spelled an opportunity.
In 2011, the pair launched their first skis. Today HG’s line consists of the Stinger, a fully symmetric cambered ski that’s designed for freestyle and park skiers. The thicker edges don’t wrap around the full tip of the ski, which allows the tips to hold a tighter bond and prevents blowouts.
New for this winter, HG rolls out the El, a 114 mm powder-specific ski that’s designed to be nimble and responsive where the snow is deepest on the East Coast—in the trees.
“Nobody is making a powder ski for the East Coast,” Goldberg says. “We made it as big as possible without it being unnecessary for this part of the country.”
Today, the company includes a group of four employees (including Goldberg and Gaetta) and a team of five East Coast skiers, which Gaetta captains. Being a small company, HG isn’t able to provide for their athletes what larger companies can, but Goldberg says he wants the company to be a starting point for freestyle skiers with exceptional talent.
“I always want to think of us as the Julliard of skiing, where going forward, every famous skier will have gotten their start with us,” he says.
To see HG’s skis and skiers in action, watch the videos the company releases throughout the season. The latest title, “Children of the Guan,” features HG team skiers tackling every staircase, parking garage gap and handrail within driving distance of Burlington with nary a powder shot or chairlift to be seen. While that may have some purists upset, in an age where a season’s pass or a lift ticket can be prohibitively expensive, that’s exactly where Goldberg and company see the future of the sport and continue to make skis that can stand up to the abuse.
“If skiers are taking it to the streets, then they need a ski that allows them to do anything,” Goldberg says. Cost: $699-$699. www.hgskis.com