Marquette entrepreneur David Ollila made his name, and his money, by figuring how to strap a mini video camera to a helmet and letting every adrenaline junkie on the planet share her or his favorite rush. Now Ollila is on to the next thing: the Marquette Backcountry Ski. This short, fat ski with grippers on the bottom climbs like a snowshoe and skis (free heel) with a whatever-works spirit.
“This is not pretty Stein Erickson–style skiing,” Ollila says. “Skiing is 5,000 years old, and it has become so refined, but this looks more like 5,000 years ago. People are telling me that I haven’t designed a new ski, I’ve designed a new category of skiing.” Ollila designed the ski in his Northern Michigan basement with the hills of Northern Michigan in mind—frequent ups and downs, in the backcountry, off groomed trails.
Ollila also had Michigan’s economy in mind. He wanted a Michigan-made product that would keep Michigan people employed—a manufacturing plant in Coldwater makes the ski. For a video of the skis in action, google “skiing the greens.” $175, MARQUETTE-BACKCOUNTRY.COM