We caught up with Wiley after a month of testing his new prototypes to get a little more information on how the ski is progressing. RMU's first YLE Pro model is set to debut this week exclusively on EVO and the following is an update to the progression of the ski and where RMU took it for its release. For those who didn't catch the design considerations of the ski you can catch up on how the ski came to life here. https://rmuoutdoors.com/blogs
/rmu-blog/yle-x-rmu-pro-model- . Otherwise my name is Courtney Long and here is the interview I had with Wiley Miller on the prototype process. project
CL: Wiley good to catch up with you looks like you have been chasing some good snow.
YLE: Ya good amount of travel, I was out in Revelstoke filming with Level 1 and was able to get some time with the boys at Eagle Pass Heli. Been filming quite a bit in Pemberton and looking forward to a good spring.
CL : Sounds epic and we saw some of the instagram posts from @yleski. At any rate you have had about a month on the skis you built at RMU HQ, and we wanted to catch up to hear your thoughts on how the project is shaping up and where you are taking the ski from here.
"From the 10 prototypes we built I really began to focus in on two distinct builds, we have been referring to them as the 19oz and the 22oz."
YLE: Ya for sure, so not sure if everyone knows the background on what we were testing but we built 10 pairs of prototypes focusing on different flex patterns and configurations. One of the things that is overlooked, is that snow packs are very different around the world and a ski that is great for Colorado might not be the best set up for BC. With this I really wanted to focus in on the ability of this ski to perform in a number of conditions. From the 10 prototypes we built I really began to focus in on two distinct builds, we have been referring to them as the 19oz and the 22oz. This is from the glass configuration we used on these skis, the 19 oz is a bit stiffer and the 22oz is a bit more play full.
CL: So following you through here the 19oz is stiffer then the 22oz?
YLE: Ya a bit backwards but the 19oz as we call it actually has a layer of 22oz Triax, above and below the core with a 19oz Triax running full length above the core for binding retention as well as additional compression stiffness/torsional stiffness. The 22oz as we call it is just the layers of 22 oz glass with extra binding retention added to hit our 3600 psi for pull out strength on the binding.
CL: Wow ok,.... so 19oz is stiff 22 oz is the soft got it. So you have these two skis what are you looking for from them or how did they make the top of the list?
YLE: Actually quite a bit, heres the overview of the things I was looking at in these skis. I will admit there are a couple variables I wish we could of controlled a little better but as I am bouncing around filming this year I had to have a touring set up and a binding I could trust to fully lock in on, so as a precursor yes I had different bindings on the skis. Its also worth noting before we go to far into the skis that the crew from RMU has also been testing the skis with other athletes, our Rep force, Mike has skied in a couple different areas and we sent two pairs to Europe for feedback in those conditions. We also have a set in Breck with demos on them so we could get feedback from anyone who comes through the shop. If your in the area check them out and let me know what you think.
"RMU has also been testing the skis with other athletes, our Rep force, Mike has skied in a couple different areas and we sent two pairs to Europe for feedback in those conditions. We also have a set in Breck..."
CL: Interesting and I think something most people don't really consider, but sounds like you thought through the variables of this ski.
YLE: Sorry not to divert from your first question, between the two skis I was considering the dampening the flex pattern, the pros and cons of the turn radius, how playful the ski is, and the different conditions the construction excelled in as well as the conditions the ski struggled in or could be improved in.
CL: What do you mean by the conditions the ski struggled in or could be better at?
YLE: Well we,.... I designed this ski to handle certain attributes of skiing better then others. Understandably I want these things to be able to handle powder, handle high speed but also be able to charge the mountain everyday, so it needs to turn and it cant be a 2 x 6. So I understand that there is some give and take with this ski the use is good in powder, playful, but needs to handle high speed, jumps, and skiable through the trees or chop on the mountain.
"Understandably I want these things to be able to handle powder, handle high speed but also be able to charge the mountain everyday, so it needs to turn and it cant be a 2 x 6."
19 oz review
CL: Makes sense -kinda like a sports car isn't going to be good for towing horses, so I follow ya here. So lets look at the stiffer ski or the 19 oz glass pattern you tried...can you tell me about the attributes you said were looking at. Dampening how did it do?
YLE: The ski was damp and I was quite happy with how it was handling at high speeds, really no tip chatter for me. For a first round I think we did really good here, I talked about it some in the construction overview but we also ran a third strip of rubber underfoot which really helped.
CL: Nice how about the Flex pattern on the 19?
YLE: The flex was definitely subdued and this isn't necessarily a bad thing, I hit a jump on this ski the other day and ended up with one foot behind my back but I was able to ski out because the ski was so stiff it kinda just pushed through some of the chatter, I thought for sure if I was on a softer ski I would have crashed. Overall I feel like the 19 oz was going a bit to much towards big mountain charger and in the soft snow this compromised the overall performance I wanted for this ski. It was great to feel and know how it reacts but ultimately I like the other lighter configuration in lighter snow.
"It was great to feel and know how it reacts but ultimately I like the other lighter configuration in lighter snow."
CL: Its truly just crazy to me that a ski is so noticeable with the flex patterns and something that most would never even ask about. Ok so whats next you said conditions it excelled in.
YLE: Ya and each piece makes a big difference to the skier ultimately but Im happy that RMU has opened this process to all to read because now we can say look this is what the ski was made to do. One more thought on the Flex pattern is the binding mount. When we designed the ski we designed it to have the core center and the radiuses as we did three radius all centered at 3cm behind the true center of the ski. So this is where I mounted my bindings because of these points. With that you could drastically change what I was going for by moving back the mounting point on the ski. I imagine not everyone is going to ski this how I intended so we are discussing a mounting point at 5cm back and 7cm back to adjust a few of the things for the skier. At 188 this ski has quite a bit of nose length for me,.... so when you're spinning you don't want too much nose but too short and it will dive. By moving back the mounting point this ski will ski a little faster and also give more tip float,.....by moving back you will also get a softer tail so ultimately if you want to ski it how I designed it go 3cm back. If your skiing differently than me well I leave it up to you.
"When we designed the ski we designed it to have the core center and the radiuses as we did three radius all centered at 3cm behind the true center of the ski."
CL: Good point on mounting position, working at the shop I see quite a bit around this, also why I think RMU has used just one point on all the skis thus far. What binding did you have on this.
YLE: it was the deadbolt its a Tyrolia/4front product but it too is a stiffer binding.
CL: Ok so you also brought up the play fullness as one of the things you were looking at can you elaborate on this some for me.
YLE: For sure ya so the more glass you have the more you kinda subdue the properties of the core. I guess maybe you can relate some skis are really lively and play full and some are very quite and dark. To get a ski to be play full you want the core to be felt through all the layers so less is more here. A lot of park skis have generally just one layer of glass, as the 19oz had two above the core that play fullness was decreased. Again not a bad thing and maybe exactly what someone may want but for my ski the 19oz was not quite play full enough.
CL: So,... well... Ill ask you more on the 22oz ski when we go over it but overall the stiffer 19oz glass on top decreased the playfulness you wanted on this build. What about the rocker profile how does that play into the play fullness? That was kinda fun to say.
YLE: Laughs..... yes ya know the playfulness of the rocker is played into quite a bit by the rocker profile. I feel like the rocker profile on the ski was pretty much spot on and Im pretty happy with it. One thing is that the tooling for the prototypes that RMU has at the shop is not the same professional tooling that we use in our bigger factories. So as we get ready to release the next version we paid up for some better tooling to smooth out some of the imperfections that come with prototyping a ski. Either way rocker profile is good.
CL: At Sia or OR in Denver there was a bit quite of questions about tip shape and the ski being asymmetrical... Can you elaborate on why the tip shape?
"One thing RMU and I focused on is that for the longest time skis were designed as an individual which makes sense but for this ski and what it is meant to do we were inspired by the entire canvas of the board."
YLE: Just to be very clear the ski is not asymmetrical, The sidecut is the same on both skis inside or outside. One thing RMU and I focused on is that for the longest time skis were designed as an individual which makes sense but for this ski and what it is meant to do we were inspired by the entire canvas of the board. I guess if you thought of it like a no board or a surfboard and cut it in two you start to get a much different shape then as just one ski. As an entire canvas the ski performs differently and I think there is a lot to be done in this realm. I kept the sidecut symmetrical as It is meant to be skied inbounds, but kinda cool to think a bit differently than most here and stoked to see where we can take this in the future. Another thing is that it is quite recognizable. With some 300 ski brands out there all making 20 models how do you tell my ski from another, how do you know that this ski is the new Wiley Pro? As much as people act like its not a factor the entire industry all the jobs at RMU and my job here depend on models being noticed and purchased. Chris, Mike, and I discussed it at length and something we have all gone back and fourth on but I like that you can notice this ski pretty quickly and I think there is a lot to be explored designing from the entire canvas. We have been watching the ski perform over the past month from the Go Pro footage and its pretty interesting to see the turn initiation with this shape.
CL: I here ya,... I have say kinda a weird thought that ski companies depend on the sales! I had not heard the concept of the entire canvas thats a pretty cool thought. Will be cool to see how people respond to that, Anyways talk to me about the weight of the skis Im just thinking the 19 oz had to weigh more?
YLE: Ya nailed it given I was running a heavier binding on this set up but overall the weight is noticeable and the skier notices this especially over a full day.
CL : So where did the 19oz out perform the 22 oz ski?
YLE: The 19oz skis didnt quite have the right amount of playfullness for my weight so it was performing well on big fast terrain. The flex itself is pretty dialed for people who are heavier but this is quite a bit outside the average consumer.
CL: Another consideration is the weight of the user and your right someone heavier is going to have a different experience. Kinda interesting. So lets go into the other ski you tested. This is all the same shape turn radius and type of materials except for the glass pattern. You had mentioned earlier that this ski used a 22oz triax glass above and below the core, I think this is the ski I actually built,..... it had a 22oz binding pad under foot that we ran for 22 inches centered off of the -3cm on core center. Anyways Im interested to here how these variables changed to the skier, like what could possibly change. To start talk to me about the flex pattern.
YLE: Ya its interesting because this ski had some issues initially, I know we were running a super tight schedule to get these finished up for the film trip I had with level 1 but the ski was actually to fuzzy to ski right away because the ski was rushed through the finishing belt to make delivery. None the less I had to find someone in Revelstoke to help me get it straightened out and skiing fast. I ended up putting a Kingpin on it so again its also going to be lighter right off the bat and ski a little different. What I noticed is kinda what we discussed with the Core having more personality more playfull as there isn't as much fiberglass to take that all out. More importantly this also gave it the performance I was looking for in soft snow. Again if you watch some of the go pro footage you can actually see a difference between the skis and how they pop out of deep snow.
CL: So does this mean the 22oz glass configuration is what you are going to run on the first patch.
"...100% powered by renewables and the family business..."
YLE: Ya something close to it, We have been working with the factory in ARE to get a smoother transition on the binding pad but the premise is the same and the core should feel the same through the glass. Also want to shameless plug ARE because it is 100% powered by renewables and the family business building here is arguably producing skis that are better then some of our products coming out the Blizzard factory
CL: Lets see..... what about dampening and rocker profile did these change or did you notice anything different?
YLE: You know was truly happy here this was a variable we didn't change ski to ski and Im glad because we were pretty spot on from the first couple skis as far as dampening. I am also happy that the profile or rocker of the ski didn't change because I was really able to feel the difference this way. Overall the 22oz ski is delivering the feel I wanted for the the terrain and style of skiing I like. With that said there is always ways to improve and this is one of the things I appreciate about partnering with RMU is that no one here is ever truly satisfied or just trying to get by with a ski because its expensive to change it. Everyone is like how do we make it better, now thats good but how do we make that better.
"...one of the things I appreciate about partnering with RMU is that no one here is ever truly satisfied or just trying to get by with a ski because its expensive to change it. Everyone is like how do we make it better, now thats good but how do we make that better."
CL: Crazy how many variables there are and truly impressive to hear your interpretation of these into skiing. So I want to make sure Im summarizing this correct from your words to the readers and folks who follow our blogs and read about this product. It seems the lighter glassed ski has won out because of weight, playfulness, and performance in deep snow. There were some things that weren't changed between the skis that we covered in the discussion on the first prototype such as the turn radius, mounting point, overall shape of the skis and length. There is quite a bit that it seems you have thought of from different snow conditions to weight of the skier and the material choices you put into the ski. But what else are we missing? Any other design components to think about.
YLE: Thats a solid recap,... ya know there is lots of things that we haven't covered Im thinking about the initial tail shape it was rounded but skins were sliding off so we fixed that, Top sheet durability the prototypes were pressed open mold in sandwich construction but as we dial in a production model we will be running a 3/4 cap ski, this will keep down on chipping etc. We also changed the graphic and the top sheet material to match the line. Theres also been some great feedback from RMU dealers especially the guys in Montana who were a bit worried about edge blow outs with the tip shape because its not as easy to switch feet. Obviously we can address every issue but overall Im pretty happy on how the process has gone and stoked to see the ski come to life.
CL: Again more I never would have thought about. What else.
"...5 or 6 people from RMU all working around the clock Literally pressing these at 4:00 am to hit deadlines."
YLE: Ya know its also important to communicate how much really goes into creating a product like this, There is what you think its takes and then what it really takes, months of emails and late night phone calls, 5 or 6 people from RMU all working around the clock Literally pressing these at 4:00 am to hit deadlines, the catalogs, the spec sheets and all the other partners who stepped in to support us. The guys in ARE who had to rush order the tooling, the support we have received from all our followers on the project, the support dealers have shown. Pups glide shop tuning them hours before a flight, REVELSTOKE helping out the night before filming, my Ski TECH,.... EVO stepped up and is helping us release the entire first run this winter, What else I mean the graphic process and all Juli RMU's designer did to make sure this graphic was perfect I think we went through some 20 versions and all of this was done from December tell now.
CL: Definitely quit a bit on the back side, Well we appreciate you sharing all of this and we are stoked to see the latest version and the first YLE pro model with RMU.