After the sick events – Red Bull Fragments held in Borovets and World Rookie Tour in Pamporovo, it`s time to present you something fresh and what`s more important, something made in Bulgaria. We are talking about high quality handmade skis and snowboards under the name of CloudNine.
The wood material used for their cores is one of the best on the market – the hearts of the skis and the boards are made of aspen and ash trees, delivered by local carpenters. Structured top sheet gives not only great look to the products, but also makes them stronger and more durable. The edges, made of Rockwell hardened steel, the high speed base and everything else required for high quality skis and snowboards, comes directly from leading companies in the industry.
Behind the projects are three funky-fresh guys Miro, Vladi and Yuliyan – all of them inspirited by the mountain, motivated to create the best possible product. And because we love people like them we decided to visit their little workshop near Pravets. Here is what they shared with us:
WR: ‘Sup boyz? Tell us more about who you are and why are you just the two of you at the moment?
Miro: Hi, I`m Miro, next to me is Vladi, Yuli is not present. He is working at the moment in Borovets as a ski/snowboard instructor. What can I say about myself… beside CloudNine I am a freelance industrial designer and part of the team that have created the Bulgarian gyroplane (aircraft similar to a helicopter), Lightning by Niki Aviation. It was our shared love for the mountain and riding that brought us together to create our own brand and more than half a year now we are working on the project.
Vladi: I am an engineer as well, but mountaineer in the heart. I have been working as a ski and snowboard instructor in Borovets for 6 years now. I ride both ski and snowboard since I was a kid and that`s the idea of CloudNine – to unite skiers and boarders, because we should have fun together, not divide into groups.
WR: How did you meet each other?
Vladi: Me and Miro know each other since we were little kids, together we learned how to ride and we met Yuli when we studied in Varna. We hooked him up with snowboarding and then we all had the same illness.
WR: How the idea about CloudNine was born?
Miro: The idea was born long time ago but we actually took actions the last two years and in 2014 we started the project.
Vladi: Yes, we had the idea since we were in the university, because we had some technical knowledge by then. We spend quite some time researching and looking for additional information, we wanted to see if we are capable of making such а product. It`s also the love of the sport and the wish to do something significant for the local scene.
WR: Tell us more about the skis and the snowboards – shape, length, flex, something about the technology.
Miro: At the moment we are making prototypes of the snowboard model ”Tanto” and the ski model “Kitsune”. “Tanto” is a jib/freestyle orientated board, we can say its little bit wider than most of the boards on the market. The test board will be 150 cm. Flex comes in two types: jib, for those who love boxes, rails and everything that can be slided. Whenever you are riding park or shredding some street spots. The other freestyle flex option is a little bit harder and thus guarantees you nice smooth ride before and after the landing when you are hitting the big kickers.
The shape of the ski model “Kitsune” is in the spirit of the “Big mountain” and “powder” class skis, but we have tried to create more all mountain shape and flex. So it doesn’t matter if you like riding on the slopes or you prefer to go freeriding.
Vladi: The technology is the same as with the most handmade ski/snowboard companies. That includes press, molds, composite fabrics and all the materials needed to make snowboard and skis with sandwich construction and sidewalls. We designed and build the press, before we tested it we did computer simulations to make sure it can handle the pressure. We also have different mold for each shape, made with CNC machine. I will keep in secret the other interesting stuff about the technology.
WR: What inspires you to keep on doing this?
Miro: When you see you have succeeded in completing a part of the work, you get more motivated to complete the next phase. For the other stuff like graphics and designs we got inspiration from nature, we try to stay close to the mountains.
Vladi: If I have to explain it in one word – the mountain inspires us more than anything. There are a lot of challenges on each phase of the process but this won`t stop us from keep on doing it.
WR: What is the next step?
Miro: We hope to receive good results from the test boards and skis and the next step is to fund the project. One option is the crowdfunding, but we also wish to apply for Euro programs funded from the European Union. This is our plan to continue doing that without having big breaks.
Vladi: Like Miro said in March we plan to test the skis and the snowboards and make sure everything is OK. Our aim in the beginning is to develop the workshop, to get the equipment we need to make the process easier.
WR: What success means for you?
Miro: It`s divided on stages – for now it means to get good results from the test products.
Vladi: When riders test and are satisfied with what we have done this will be success. And after that if we can show to the people in the world that Bulgaria can make quality stuff. And we don’t talk only about business, we want to prove ourselves that we can do it.
WR: Speaking of riders, would you sponsor somebody?
Miro: For sure, with pleasure!
Vladi: Of course, as long as everything else is doing well (both laughing). The prototypes can be tested by everyone who wants. We also expect feedback from some of the top riders from the local scene.
WR: Who are they?
Vladi: We will keep them in secret for the official event.
Miro: It`s very important to hear their opinion, whether it’s good or bad. If it’s negative we are going to work on it and make things better.
WR: If you could pick from the world’s most famous riders who would you like to see shredding with CloudNine?
Miro: I am very impressed by Eric Hjorleifson, great skier, but that’s only in my dreams.
Vladi: I would like to see Torstein Horgmo riding that board.
WR: Describe CloudNine in one word?
Miro: CloudNine is your piece of happiness.
Vladi: Euphoria, this is how it’s translated. We want the products to talk for themselves, which means when you ride them to feel happy.
WR: Some final words to everyone who rides and to all Whiteroom readers?
Miro: We pray for snowy winters in the future, stay united. Let`s not divide into skiers and snowboarders, just share the emotion, this is one of our missions.
Vladi: For those who ride – cross your fingers for more snow, I wish them more smiles and to the readers – keep shredding!
For contacts and more information visit the official Facebook page of Cloudnine.
Interview: Atanas Atanasov
Translation: Yulian Arsov