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October 29, 2016 – On Thursday, October 27, SheJumps partnered with Oregon-based partners to host one heck of a party! Located at ON3P Skis in NE Portland, the SheJumps Factory Party went off without a hitch as over 60 ladies came out to celebrate the upcoming snowy season and learn more about what goes into making a pair of skis. The festivities opened at 4:30, when Happy Mountain Kombucha, KRAVE Jerky, and Base Camp Brewing arrived with goodies and beverages for participants.

In an industry where females are ill-represented and often a second-thought, events like this are paramount to future segment growth and community inclusion. ON3P Skis is uniquely dedicated to breaking the mold and putting a real priority on developing their women’s offerings, and a great first step is providing exposure to the ski-building process and tapping into the ideas and thoughts of their local ladies. While this was the first event of this nature hosted at their factory, rest assured that ON3P will be continuing their efforts to gain even more insight into what lady shredders are looking for as they work hard to develop and manufacture the best female-specific sticks around.  

The first of two factory tours set out at 5PM, with over 30 local SheJumpers of all ages in tow for an in-depth look behind the ski-building scenes. Because of this event, ON3P shifted their daily 8-5 production hours back to ensure that event attendees got to see real work being done during both the early and late tours.

More and more ladies continued to arrive throughout the evening, joining in on the tour or getting the chance to enjoy a drink and munch on snacks with new friends. The pizza arrived just in time to end the first tour, and participants and ON3P employees alike were able to grab some grub while breaking off into smaller groups for some informal Q&A.

As the food disappeared, attention shifted over to the table of cool prizes and swag that was up for grabs. Local partners evo Portland, ReRack, TREW Gear, and Smith Optics all donated gear for the big raffle, and the facility was a buzz of anxious and excited ticket-holders just waiting for the raffle to begin. A last minute prize addition raised the stakes, as ON3P presented a brand new pair of their women’s Jessie ski and laid them on the table for all to see. Needless to say, there were many lucky ladies that night!

Whether a raffle winner or not, everyone came out winning and grinning after such a fantastic party; a night full of fun, friends, food – and learning!! The stoke levels were off the chart and those who remained after the raffle were welcome to join the second tour and check out the Jessie line with ON3P athlete Rachel Delacour, who came down from Washington for the evening. As the conversations shifted, ON3P got their chance to turn the tables and ask attendees how they could better support and cater to female shredders. The only question left – when will the next factory party be?!

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A huge thank you to ON3P Skis for their hard work to prepare for and hold this event! Nights like this could never happen without the unwavering support and generosity from the amazing outdoor community, so thank you to everyone who came out, as well as all of the aforementioned partners for their event and raffle donations!!! All proceeds from the night will be going towards female-specific avalanche education in the Portland area. Stay tuned for more information on www.shejumps.org or Facebook.

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Event Background:

It all started this past summer, when I began my 90-hour internship at the local ski manufacturing factory, ON3P Skis. Growing up in the mountains, it was always a dream to build skis – and here was my chance! Running errands, sweeping the floors, learning various process steps, and helping out wherever I could, the summer flew by.

As I continued to learn more about both the ski building process and the factory layout, I started to bring friends and family by the shop to show off my temporary digs. I was always met by the same reactions of awe and fascination – no one, myself included, expects so much intricacy and complexity to go into such a seemingly-simple pair of boards, but it’s a quick reality-check when you walk past the offices and onto shop floor. By the time my mother came for a visit, I knew that SheJumps needed to partner with ON3P to showcase and share the incredible work being done just outside of downtown Portland.

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The Factory:

The sounds of the wood planer, CNC machine, numerous base grinding belts, vacuums on high, rotor-brushes, and a distant air compressor meet you at the garage door. Your first glimpse at what goes on here is the massive stacks of materials and supplies towering over you to the right, almost guiding you into the Wood Room – where the process really begins and 100% bamboo cores are cut. Moving on from the Wood Room and into Base Camp and the Metal Room, you only begin to realize just how much work goes into each ski.

Trimming, annealing, and sandblasting edges. Routing, bending, and trimming bases. And then you see the layup benches, where everything comes together as the ski begins to take shape in front of your eyes. Layers of carbon fiber, fiberglass, bamboo core, base, topsheet, and a butt load of epoxy later, and you have what sort of looks like a ski – albeit flat, rectangular, and messy. That’s when you see the handbuilt ski presses lining the walls and start to put the pieces together – to get its shape and profile, each ski spends approximately 30 minutes in the press before heading into the Dirty Room for post cure and shaping.

If you didn’t see the products’ resemblance to a ski before now, you’ll be pleased to watch as each ski is run through both the jig and band saw to cut excess material before heading to Deflash. This is where the skis’ identity really comes to life as it’s run through deflash, shaping, beveling, pulling, sanding, and buffing – all the while being meticulously inspected and thoroughly checked for any signs of mistakes or defects.

Before these skis can head to the Hand Finishing corral, the bases need some serious attention in Finishing. A series of base grinding machines welcome you into Finishing where each base undergoes an extensive makeover, complete with epoxy removal, flattening, polishing, structuring, and edge tuning.

At this point they look like something you might buy at your local ski shop – but Hand Finishing is the last stop in this seemingly never-ending process called ski building, and you won’t believe the transformation that takes place. Edges are detuned and passed over with the gummi, bases are waxed and hotboxed, and then each ski is mount marked, quality checked, hand finished, serialized, measured, weighed, and shrink-wrapped for storage. What you have in front of you now is a pair of some of the highest-quality skis on the market, proudly handmade in NE Portland.

I realize my description may not paint the brightest picture, so maybe you should just stop on by for your own look….factory tours are available at request, and I promise you won’t be disappointed (just ask any of the women who attended our recent SheJumps ON3P Factory Party and they’d say the same!). Check out www.on3pskis.com for more product information, news, and to purchase some boards! #whobuildsyourskis #goskiingwithyourfriends

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